Lawrence Eagleburger, the only career FSO to serve as Secretary of State, died this past Saturday. I served in the Department during the time Mr. Eagleburger was Deputy Secretary, at the time the highest post in the Department a career diplomat could aspire to. I remember him for his unwavering support for those below him in the food chain, his direct approach to getting things done, and his warmth. It was Eagleburger, for instance, who tried to break the bureaucratic logjam that often delayed getting actions done by people sitting on papers rather than either agreeing or disagreeing; his policy was, if you didn’t take ‘some’ action within ten days, your approval would be assumed and the action would move forward. Needless to say, some of the diehard bureaucrats in the Department tried to find ways around that injunction.
The last time I saw him was when he came to Fort McNair in 1996 or 1997 to talk to my National War College class. As always, he was engaging and a treat to listen to.
The government and the country has lost a great man, and my heart goes out to his family.