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Cyrus Vance

Cyrus Vance

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Cyrus Roberts Vance was an American lawyer and United States Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 under President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 from 1977 to 1980. Prior to that position he was the Secretary of the Army and the Deputy Secretary of Defense.

As Secretary of State, Vance approached foreign policy with an emphasis on negotiation over conflict and a special interest in arms reduction. In April 1980, Vance resigned in protest of Operation Eagle Claw
Operation Eagle Claw
Operation Eagle Claw was an American military operation ordered by President Jimmy Carter to attempt to put an end to the Iran hostage crisis by rescuing 52 Americans held captive at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran on 24 April 1980...

, the secret mission to rescue American hostages in Iran
Iran hostage crisis
The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States where 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981, after a group of Islamist students and militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran in support of the Iranian...

. He was succeeded by Edmund Muskie
Edmund Muskie
Edmund Sixtus "Ed" Muskie was an American politician from Rumford, Maine. He served as Governor of Maine from 1955 to 1959, as a member of the United States Senate from 1959 to 1980, and as Secretary of State under Jimmy Carter from 1980 to 1981...

.

Vance was the cousin (and adoptive son) of 1924 Democratic presidential candidate
United States presidential election, 1924
The United States presidential election of 1924 was won by incumbent President Calvin Coolidge, the Republican candidate.Coolidge was vice-president under Warren G. Harding and became president in 1923 when Harding died in office. Coolidge was given credit for a booming economy at home and no...

 and lawyer John W. Davis
John W. Davis
John William Davis was an American politician, diplomat and lawyer. He served as a United States Representative from West Virginia , then as Solicitor General of the United States and US Ambassador to the UK under President Woodrow Wilson...

. He was the father of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.
Cyrus Vance, Jr.
Cyrus Roberts Vance, Jr. is an American trial lawyer. He is the incumbent New York County District Attorney , and was previously a principal at the law firm of Morvillo, Abramowitz, Grand, Isaon, Anello & Bohrer, P.C...


Early life and education


Vance was born in Clarksburg, West Virginia
Clarksburg, West Virginia
Clarksburg is a city in and the county seat of Harrison County, West Virginia, United States, in the north-central region of the state. It is the principal city of the Clarksburg, WV Micropolitan Statistical Area...

. He graduated from Kent School
Kent School
Kent School is a private, co-educational college preparatory school in Kent, Connecticut, USA. The Reverend Frederick Herbert Sill, Order of the Holy Cross, established the school in 1906 and it retains its affiliation with the Episcopal Church of the United States.Students at Kent come from more...

 in 1935 and earned a bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 in 1939 from Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

, where he was a member of the secret society Scroll and Key
Scroll and Key
The Scroll and Key Society is a secret society, founded in 1842 at Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut. It is the wealthiest and second oldest Yale secret society...

. He also earned three varsity letter
Varsity letter
A varsity letter is an award earned in the United States for excellence in school activities. A varsity letter signifies that its winner was a qualified varsity team member, awarded after a certain standard was met.- Description :...

s in ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

 at Yale. He graduated from Yale Law School
Yale Law School
Yale Law School, or YLS, is the law school of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Established in 1824, it offers the J.D., LL.M., J.S.D. and M.S.L. degrees in law. It also hosts visiting scholars, visiting researchers and a number of legal research centers...

 in 1942.

Military and legal career



Vance served in the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 as a gunnery officer on the destroyer
Destroyer
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

 USS Hale (DD-642)
USS Hale (DD-642)
USS Hale , a Fletcher-class destroyer, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Maine Senator Eugene Hale ....

 until 1946, and then joined the law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is a law firm headquartered in New York City which employs over 800 attorneys in ten offices worldwide. The firm is highly regarded for its litigation and corporate practices, with special attention focused on its mergers and acquisitions specialty...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, before entering government services.

Political career



Vance was the Secretary of the Army
United States Secretary of the Army
The Secretary of the Army is a civilian official within the Department of Defense of the United States of America with statutory responsibility for all matters relating to the United States Army: manpower, personnel, reserve affairs, installations, environmental issues, weapons systems and...

 during the John F. Kennedy administration
Timeline of the Presidency of John F. Kennedy
The following is a timeline of the Presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, also known as the Kennedy Administration, which took place from his inauguration on January 20, 1961, to his assassination on November 22, 1963 - a span of 1,036 days...

. He was Secretary when Army units were sent to northern Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

 in 1962 to protect James Meredith
Ole Miss riot of 1962
The Ole Miss riot 1962 was a riot fought between Southern segregationist civilians and federal and state forces as a result of the forced enrollment of black student James Meredith at the University of Mississippi at Oxford, Mississippi.On October 1, 1962, James H...

 and ensure that the court-ordered
Court order
A court order is an official proclamation by a judge that defines the legal relationships between the parties to a hearing, a trial, an appeal or other court proceedings. Such ruling requires or authorizes the carrying out of certain steps by one or more parties to a case...

 integration
Racial integration
Racial integration, or simply integration includes desegregation . In addition to desegregation, integration includes goals such as leveling barriers to association, creating equal opportunity regardless of race, and the development of a culture that draws on diverse traditions, rather than merely...

 of the University of Mississippi
University of Mississippi
The University of Mississippi, also known as Ole Miss, is a public, coeducational research university located in Oxford, Mississippi. Founded in 1844, the school is composed of the main campus in Oxford, four branch campuses located in Booneville, Grenada, Tupelo, and Southaven as well as the...

 took place.

As Deputy Secretary of Defense
United States Deputy Secretary of Defense
The Deputy Secretary of Defense is the second-highest ranking official in the Department of Defense of the United States of America. The Deputy Secretary of Defense is appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate...

 under President Lyndon Johnson, he first supported the Vietnam War
Joint warfare in South Vietnam 1963–1969
In the Vietnam War, after the assassinations of Ngo Dinh Diem and John F. Kennedy in late 1963 and the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964 and the continuing political instability in the South, the United States made a policy commitment to begin joint warfare in South Vietnam, a period of gradual...

 but by the late 1960s changed his views and resigned from office advising the president to pull out of South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

. In 1968 he served as a delegate to peace talks in Paris
Paris Peace Accords
The Paris Peace Accords of 1973 intended to establish peace in Vietnam and an end to the Vietnam War, ended direct U.S. military involvement, and temporarily stopped the fighting between North and South Vietnam...

. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

 in 1969. He was a professor at Georgetown University afterwards.


As Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 in the Jimmy Carter administration
Presidency of Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter served as the thirty-ninth President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. His administration sought to make the government "competent and compassionate" but, in the midst of an economic crisis produced by rising energy prices and stagflation, met with difficulty in achieving its...

, Vance pushed for negotiations and economic ties with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, and clashed frequently with the more hawkish National Security Advisor
National Security Advisor (United States)
The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, commonly referred to as the National Security Advisor , serves as the chief advisor to the President of the United States on national security issues...

 Zbigniew Brzezinski
Zbigniew Brzezinski
Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski is a Polish American political scientist, geostrategist, and statesman who served as United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981....

. Vance tried to advance arms limitations by working on the SALT II
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty refers to two rounds of bilateral talks and corresponding international treaties involving the United States and the Soviet Union—the Cold War superpowers—on the issue of armament control. There were two rounds of talks and agreements: SALT I and SALT...

 agreement with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, which he saw as the central diplomatic issue of the time. He was heavily instrumental in Carter's decision to return the Canal Zone
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

 to Panama, and in the Camp David Accords
Camp David Accords
The Camp David Accords were signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on September 17, 1978, following thirteen days of secret negotiations at Camp David. The two framework agreements were signed at the White House, and were witnessed by United States...

 agreement between Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

.

After the Camp David Accords, Vance's influence in the administration began to wane as Brzezinski's rose. His role in talks with People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 was marginalized, and his advice for a response to the Shah of Iran
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, Shah of Persia , ruled Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979...

's collapsing regime
Iranian Revolution
The Iranian Revolution refers to events involving the overthrow of Iran's monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and its replacement with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the...

 was ignored. Shortly thereafter, when 53 American hostages were held in Iran
Iran hostage crisis
The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States where 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981, after a group of Islamist students and militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran in support of the Iranian...

, he worked actively in negotiations but to no avail. Finally, when Carter ordered a secret military rescue - Operation Eagle Claw
Operation Eagle Claw
Operation Eagle Claw was an American military operation ordered by President Jimmy Carter to attempt to put an end to the Iran hostage crisis by rescuing 52 Americans held captive at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran on 24 April 1980...

 - Vance resigned in opposition. Vance felt the rescue attempt was too risky, and did not even wait to see its failure before announcing his resignation. The second rescue was planned but never carried out.

In 1997, he was made the original honorary chair of the American Iranian Council
American Iranian Council
The American-Iranian Council was formed in 1997 as a bi-partisan think tank focused upon promoting better relations between the United States and Iran. Former United States Secretary of State Cyrus Vance was the original honorary Chair of the organization...

.

Later career in law and as Special Envoy



From 1974 to 1976, Vance served as president of the New York City Bar Association. Vance returned to his law practice at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is a law firm headquartered in New York City which employs over 800 attorneys in ten offices worldwide. The firm is highly regarded for its litigation and corporate practices, with special attention focused on its mergers and acquisitions specialty...

 in 1980, but was repeatedly called back to public service throughout the 1980s and 1990s, participating in diplomatic missions to Bosnia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, and South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

.

In 1991 he was named Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Croatia and proposed a plan for solution of conflict in Croatia
Croatian War of Independence
The Croatian War of Independence was fought from 1991 to 1995 between forces loyal to the government of Croatia—which had declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia —and the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People's Army and local Serb forces, with the JNA ending its combat...

. Authorities of Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

 and Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 agreed to Vance's plan, but the leaders of SAO Krajina
SAO Krajina
Serbian Autonomous Oblast of Krajina or SAO Krajina was a self proclaimed Serbian autonomous region within modern-day Croatia . It existed between 1990 and 1991 and was subsequently included into Republic of Serbian Krajina...

 rejected it, even though it offered Serbs quite a large degree of autonomy by the rest of the world's standards, as it did not include full independence for Krajina. He continued his work as member of Zagreb 4 group
Z-4 plan
The Z-4 Plan or Draft agreement on the Krajina, Slavonia, Southern Baranja and Western Sirmium stands for the Zagreb 4 peace proposal to end the Croatian War of Independence. The proposal was made by the Zagreb 4 group and would have reintegrated the Republic of Serbian Krajina into Croatia...

. The plan they drafted, named Z-4
Z-4 plan
The Z-4 Plan or Draft agreement on the Krajina, Slavonia, Southern Baranja and Western Sirmium stands for the Zagreb 4 peace proposal to end the Croatian War of Independence. The proposal was made by the Zagreb 4 group and would have reintegrated the Republic of Serbian Krajina into Croatia...

, was effectively superseded when Croatian forces retook the Krajina region (Operation Storm
Operation Storm
Operation Storm is the code name given to a large-scale military operation carried out by Croatian Armed Forces, in conjunction with the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to gain back control of parts of Croatia which had been claimed by separatist ethnic Serbs, since early...

) in 1995.

In January 1993, as the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 Special Envoy to Bosnia, Vance and Lord David Owen
David Owen
David Anthony Llewellyn Owen, Baron Owen CH PC FRCP is a British politician.Owen served as British Foreign Secretary from 1977 to 1979, the youngest person in over forty years to hold the post; he co-authored the failed Vance-Owen and Owen-Stoltenberg peace plans offered during the Bosnian War...

, the EU
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 representative, began negotiating a peace plan for the ending the War in Bosnia. The plan was rejected, and Vance announced his resignation as Special Envoy to the UN Secretary-General. He was replaced by Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorvald Stoltenberg
Thorvald Stoltenberg
Thorvald Stoltenberg is a former Norwegian politician. His ancestors stem from Northern Germany and emigrated to Norway in the 17th century. He served as Minister of Defense and Minister of Foreign Affairs in two Labour governments.From 1989 to 1990 he was appointed Norwegian Ambassador to the UN...

.

Later life and death



In 1993, he was awarded the United States Military Academy's
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

 Sylvanus Thayer Award
Sylvanus Thayer Award
The Sylvanus Thayer Award is an award that is given each year by the United States Military Academy at West Point. Sylvanus Thayer was the fifth superintendent of that academy and in honor of his achievements, the award was created...

.

In 1995, Cyrus Vance again acted as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and signed the interim accord as witness in the negotiations between the Republic of Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

 and Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

.

Vance was a member of the Trilateral Commission
Trilateral Commission
The Trilateral Commission is a non-governmental, non-partisan discussion group founded by David Rockefeller in July 1973 to foster closer cooperation among the United States, Europe and Japan.-History:...

.

He died aged 84 after a long battle of pneumonia in New York after having Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death...

 for many years, and was interred at Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, is a military cemetery in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna Lee, a great...

.

His mother's house, known as the Stealey-Goff-Vance House
Stealey-Goff-Vance House
Stealey-Goff-Vance House, also known as the Amy Roberts Vance House, is a historic home located at Clarksburg, Harrison County, West Virginia. It was originally built about 1807, and is a gable roofed two-story brick dwelling. It sits on a high coursed rubble foundation. The house was remodeled...

, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 in 1979. It is home to the Harrison County Historical Society.

External links