June 6, 2011 — Lawrence Eagleburger, 80, former U.S. Secretary of State and a longtime friend of the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs, died June 4. Eagleburger was a regular speaker in the center's forum series. (Watch his 1996 discussion on U.S. foreign policy, his 2004 discussion on Iraq and his 2009 discussion on Afghanistan on the center's website).
Eagleburger, a onetime ambassador who held high-level positions under five presidents and who was the first career foreign service officer to become secretary of state, died of pneumonia at the U.Va. Medical Center. He had lived outside Charlottesville since 1990.
He was a participant in the international strategies of every president from Richard M. Nixon through George H.W. Bush. A plain-spoken, likable diplomat, Mr. Eagleburger rose to prominence as a protege of Henry Kissinger’s.
He was the No. 2 State Department official under Secretary of State James A. Baker III for most of Bush’s presidency and became acting secretary of state during the final five months of Bush’s term. He was officially named secretary of state in December 1992, after Bush had lost the presidential election to Bill Clinton.
During the Persian Gulf War of the early 1990s, Mr. Eagleburger undertook several delicate missions to Israel and the Middle East as Iraq was firing Scud missiles into Israeli territory
After leaving the State Department, Mr. Eagleburger was an international adviser to the Washington law firm led by former Sen. Howard Baker (R-Tenn.) and was a member of the Iraq Study Group, which sought a diplomatic solution to the war in Iraq.
In 1991, President George H.W. Bush awarded Eagleburger the Presidential Citizens Medal. In 1992, he received the Department of State's Distinguished Service Award, the department's highest honor. In 1994, the statesman received an honorary knighthood from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.