Remembering Secretary George P. Shultz
George P. Shultz, who served as U.S. Secretary of State from 1982 to 1989 under President Ronald Reagan, died at the age of 100 on February 6, 2021. Shultz was a man of many careers, and throughout it all, he was a man of service. Shultz held four cabinet positions and advised three presidents. He was the Dean of the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business. He was president of the engineering firm Bechtel. And he stormed the beaches of Angaur island in World War II as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Shultz leaves behind a legacy that contributed to the positive trajectory of the United States during the 20th century. As Secretary of State, he helped implement President Reagan’s winning Cold War strategy that advanced the downfall of the Soviet Union and the defeat of communism across Europe.
The following is a tribute from longtime VOC Trustee Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, recipient of the 2008 Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom, who knew and worked for Secretary Shultz during her time at the National Security Council from 1980 to 1987 and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs from 1987 to 1990:
“George P. Shultz was a brilliant statesman, a superb economist, and a successful businessman. Remarkably, he excelled in every venture which he pursued. He was a true renaissance man, being both a deep thinker and a results-oriented doer. George Shultz was also extraordinarily successful in combining an abiding commitment to pragmatic raison d’état and the moral dimension of American foreign policy.
“In October 1982, he launched President Ronald Reagan’s ‘Crusade for Freedom.’ Then Secretary of State, Shultz asserted before a State Department-sponsored conference that the U.S., ‘will not ignore the individuals and groups in communist countries who seek peaceful change.’ Shultz, like Reagan, saw ‘the communist system as the antithesis of freedom.’
“Most noteworthy, George P. Shultz was a kind-hearted person, who took great care of his colleagues and subordinates. I have seen these qualities first-hand having had the privilege of working with him both during my time at the National Security Council and the State Department.”