I was deeply saddened by the passing of my friend and predecessor Warren Christopher. The longer I spend in this job, the deeper my appreciation grows for the giants who came before. Warren was a diplomat’s diplomat – talented, dedicated and exceptionally wise. As well as anyone in his generation, he understood the subtle interplay of national interests, fundamental values and personal dynamics that drive diplomacy. Along with the late Richard Holbrooke, Warren led the effort to bring peace to the Balkans in the 1990s. Over his long career in public service, he also helped establish diplomatic relations with China, oversaw the expansion of NATO, worked tirelessly for peace in the Middle East, and championed human rights around the world. America is safer and the world is more peaceful because of his service.
In addition to being a great statesman, Warren was also a dear friend. I relied on his advice and experience over many years. Today my thoughts and prayers are with Warren’s beloved wife Marie, their four children, and the entire Christopher family.