Cyrus Vance

Cyrus Vance was born on March 27, 1917, in Clarksburg, West Virginia, and received an undergraduate and a law degree from Yale in 1939 and 1942. After service in the navy during World War II, Vance began practicing law in New York City, and became general counsel for the Department of Defense in 1961. In 1962, President John Kennedy named Vance secretary of the army. Vance was a close friend of Lyndon B. Johnson, and he became deputy secretary of defense in 1964. He visited Vietnam in 1966 and publicly defended administration policy; and from 1968 to 1969, Vance served on the negotiating team at the Paris peace talks on Vietnam. When Richard Nixon became president in 1969, Vance's role in foreign policy diminished, except for intermittent consultation assignments with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; but in 1977, the new president, Jimmy Carter, named Vance secretary of state. Then Vance advocated diplomatic recognition and restoration of relations with the government of Vietnam. He resigned as secretary of state after the failed American attempt to rescue the Iranian hostages in 1980. Cyrus Vance later became a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.