Paul Warnke



From Webster, Massachusetts, Paul Warnke was born on January 31, 1920, and graduated from Yale in 1941 and the Columbia University Law School in 1948. He practiced law in Washington, D.C., until 1966, when he was named general counsel for the Department of Defense. Between 1967 and 1969, Warnke served as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. During those years, he came to be a forceful opponent, within the Defense Department, of the Vietnam War. Warnke was convinced that it was the wrong war in the wrong place, and that the United States would be unable to succeed. He had great influence over Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford, and General William Westmoreland would later blame Warnke for converting Clifford from a hawk to a dove about Vietnam. Later, Warnke became one of Clifford's law partners. When Richard Nixon won the election of 1968, Warnke found himself cast out with the rest of the Democrats; so he returned to private practice and continued to work on antiwar programs for the Democratic National Committee. Warnke returned to government service in 1977 during the Carter administration as director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and chief negotiator of the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT II). Warnke's appointment was rather controversial because of his open opposition to the Vietnam War and because he opposed deployment of the B-1 bomber and the Trident nuclear submarine. Although Warnke had no illusions about Soviet benevolence, he did believe that both countries had the capacity to destroy one another many times over and that weapons reduction was necessary to world peace. Warnke continued to work on the SALT II treaty until his resignation in October 1978. .


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