From President Barack Obama, POLITICO: With the passing of former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, our nation has lost a distinguished diplomat and public servant. Through more than four decades of service, first in the Army and then as a dedicated foreign service officer and statesman, Lawrence Eagleburger devoted his life to the security of our nation and to strengthening our ties with allies and partners.
As Deputy Secretary and then Secretary of State under President George H. W. Bush, he helped our nation navigate the pivotal days during the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. Our nation is grateful for Secretary Eagleburger’s lifetime of service, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, especially his three sons.
From Robert Burns, the AP: Lawrence S. Eagleburger, the only career foreign service officer to rise to the position of secretary of state, died Saturday. He was 80.
Eagleburger died in Charlottesville, Va., after a short illness, according to a family friend, Christy Reap. No further details were immediately available. . . .
Two of his one-time bosses, former President George H.W. Bush and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, mourned the retired diplomat and praised his service. “As good as they come” was Baker’s description.
A straightforward diplomat whose exuberant style masked a hard-driving commitment to solving tangled foreign policy problems, Eagleburger held the top post at the State Department for five months when Baker resigned in the summer of 1992 to help Bush in an unsuccessful bid for re-election. . . .
Born Aug. 1, 1930, in Milwaukee, Eagleburger graduated from the University of Wisconsin. . . .
Over 27 years in the foreign service, he served in the Nixon administration as executive assistant to Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, as President Jimmy Carter’s ambassador to Yugoslavia, and as an assistant secretary of state and then undersecretary of state in the first Reagan administration. . . .
Bush called Eagleburger “one of the most capable and respected diplomats our foreign service ever produced, and I will be ever grateful for his wise, no-nonsense counsel during those four years of historic change in our world.”
In a statement, Bush said that “during one of the tensest moments of the Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein began attacking Israel with Scud missiles trying cynically and cruelly to bait them into the conflict, we sent Larry to Israel to preserve our coalition. It was an inordinately complex and sensitive task, and his performance was nothing short of heroic.”
Baker said Eagleburger “was a legend in the U.S. Foreign Service, a consummate professional who served his country expertly and with great dignity as a selfless diplomat.” He said his former colleague was “superb at divining trouble and heading it off. That’s why he became the first Foreign Service officer in history to rise to deputy secretary of state and later to secretary of state. Simply stated, Larry Eagleburger was as good as they come — loyal, hard-working and intelligent, a trifecta for an American diplomat.” (photo: FNC)