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May 5, 2008

Wikipedia: Richard Holbrooke

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Richard Holbrooke
Richard Holbrooke

United States Ambassador to the United Nations
In office
August 25, 1999 – January 20, 2001
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Bill Richardson
Succeeded by John D. Negroponte

Born April 24, 1941 (1941-04-24) (age 67)
New York City, New York
Political party Democratic

Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke (born April 24, 1941) is an American diplomat, magazine editor, author, Peace Corps official, and investment banker. He is also the only person to have held the Assistant Secretary of State position for two different regions of the world (Asia and Europe).

From 1993-1994, he was U.S. Ambassador to Germany. Although long well-known in diplomatic and journalistic circles, Holbrooke achieved great public prominence only when he brokered a peace agreement among the warring factions in Bosnia that led to the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords, in 1995. He lost to Madeleine Albright in 1997 when Bill Clinton chose a replacement for Warren Christopher as Secretary of State. Albright was a good friend of then-First Lady Hillary Clinton. From 1999-2001, Holbrooke served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

He was an advisor to the Presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) in 2004. In 2006, Holbrooke joined the Presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and has become a top foreign policy adviser; Holbrooke’s name is often referred when speaking of Secretary of State in a Democratic administration and is likely to be a contender for the position.

Perhaps more hawkish than most Democrats, Holbrooke has a very aggressive style that some find off-putting. Others find him an effective, hard-nosed negotiator.


Position on Iraq

Holbrooke’s more hawkish inclinations showed on his farewell press conference as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on January 11, 2001. There he said, “Iraq will be one of the major issues facing the incoming Bush administration at the United Nations.” Further, “Saddam Hussein’s activities continue to be unacceptable and, in my view, dangerous to the region and, indeed, to the world, not only because he possesses the potential for weapons of mass destruction but because of the very nature of his regime. His willingness to be cruel internally is not unique in the world, but the combination of that and his willingness to export his problems makes him a clear and present danger at all times.”[1]

On February 24, 2007 Holbrooke delivered the Democratic Party’s weekly radio address and called for “a new strategy in Iraq”, involving “a careful, phased redeployment of U.S. troops” and a “new diplomatic offensive in the Gulf region to help stabilize Iraq.” [2]

Current activities

Holbrooke is a member of the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He is also a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Citizens Committee for New York City, and the Economic Club of New York. He is on the board of the National Endowment for Democracy. He is also the Founding Chairman of the American Academy in Berlin, and honorary trustee of the Dayton International Peace Museum. He is a professor-at-large at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, his alma mater.

He is vice chairman of Perseus LLC, a leading private equity firm. In addition, he is a board member of American International Group and is the chairman of the executive committee of the Asia Society. He is also President and CEO of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, an alliance of more than 200 international companies leading the business fight against the three deadly global epidemics. He also serves on the board of Malaria No More, a New York-based nonprofit that was launched at the 2006 White House Summit with the goal of ending all deaths caused by malaria. Additionally, Holbrooke is an Advisory Board member for the Partnership for a Secure America, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to recreating the bipartisan center in American national security and foreign policy. In 1972, he was invited to Asia Society’s Williamsburg Conference in Jakarta by the Asia Society founder, John D. Rockefeller 3rd.[3]

He has also served as vice chairman of Credit Suisse First Boston, managing director of Lehman Brothers, managing editor of Foreign Policy, and director of the Peace Corps in Morocco.

He has written numerous articles and two books: To End A War, and the co-author of Counsel to the President, and one volume of The Pentagon Papers. He has received more than a dozen honorary degrees, including a LL.D. from Bates College in 1999. As of 2005, he writes a monthly column for The Washington Post.

On March 20, 2007 he appeared on The Colbert Report to mediate in what Stephen Colbert (or rather, his television alter-ego) saw as Willie Nelson infringing on his ice cream flavor time. Mr. Holbrooke was the ‘ambassador on call’ and after a short mediation process the two parties agreed to taste each other’s Ben and Jerry’s ice cream to make amends. He subsequently sang “On the Road Again” in a trio with Colbert and Nelson.

Ambassador Holbrooke has two sons. He is currently married to Kati Marton, an author and journalist. This is the third marriage for Holbrooke and the third for Marton. (According to Kati Marton is married to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and lives in New York City with her daughter Elizabeth and her son Christopher.)

Lawrence controversy

September 15, 1998 Holbrooke disclosed that he failed to report on his financial disclosure statement a gift worth more than $12,000 in lodgings from former American Ambassador to Switzerland, M Larry Lawrence.[4] Holbrooke helped Larry Lawrence get rights to be interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Lawrence died on January 10, 1996, he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Bill Clinton presided over Lawrence’s burial at Arlington and delivered the eulogy. In 1997 his body was disinterred and brought to California after congressional investigators searched military records and found no evidence that Lawrence was ever in the Merchant Marine.[5]


  • 1962 – Graduates from Brown University where he was editor-in-chief of the Brown Daily Herald; enters U.S. Foreign Service
  • 1963-1966 – Vietnam: diplomatic service as a provincial representative for the Agency for International Development (AID), then staff assistant to Ambassadors’\ Maxwell Taylor and Henry Cabot Lodge.
  • 1966-1968 – White House: Vietnam staff of President Lyndon Johnson
  • 1967-1969 – Special assistant to Under Secretaries of State Nicholas Katzenbach and Elliot Richardson; writes one volume of the Pentagon Papers for Pentagon at same time
  • 1968-1969 – Member of the American Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks on Vietnam
  • 1969-1970 – Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University
  • 1970-1972 – Peace Corps: Director in Morocco
  • 1972 – Takes leave of absence (without pay) from Foreign Service in order to be Managing Editor of Foreign Policy Magazine (1972-1977)
  • 1974-1975 – Consultant to the President’s Commission on the Organization of the Government for the Conduct of Foreign Policy
  • 1974-1975 – Contributing editor of Newsweek magazine
  • 1976 – Co-ordinates National Security Affairs for the Carter presidential campaign.
  • 1977-1981 – Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (as the U.S. switches full diplomatic relations to the People’s Republic of China from the Republic of China-Taiwan)
  • 1981 – A consultant at Lehman Brothers, eventually becoming full-time Managing Director (1985)
  • 1992 – Member of the Carnegie Commission on America and a Changing World
  • 1992 – Chairman and principal author of the bipartisan Commission on Government and Renewal, sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation and the Peterson Institute (formerly the Institute for International Economics)
  • 1993-1994 – U.S. Ambassador to Germany
  • 1994-1996 – Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs
  • 1995 – Leads the American team negotiating the Bosnian Peace Accords at Dayton
  • 1996 – Awarded the Manfred Wörner Medal
  • 1996 – Founding Chairman, American Academy in Berlin; resumed Chairmanship after leaving UN in 2001
  • 1997 – President Bill Clinton’s special envoy to Cyprus and Kosovo on a pro-bono basis while a Vice-Chairman of Credit Suisse First BostonCSFB
  • 1999-2001 – U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
  • 2001 – Counselor at the Council on Foreign Relations; chairman of its Terrorism Task Force.
  • 2001-2004 – Appointed director of Rockville, MD, company Human Genome Sciences, Inc (Nasdaq: HGSI)
  • 2001 – President & CEO, Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
  • 2002 – Awarded Grand Cross of the Order of Merit (Germany)
  • 2002 – Chairman of the Asia Society.


  • “Counsel to the President” (with Clark Clifford) ISBN 0-394-56995-4
  • “To End a War” ISBN 0-375-75360-5

See also

  • Asia Society
  • Council on Foreign Relations
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