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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of the Historian > Principal Officers of the Department and U.S. Chiefs of Mission > Principal Officers

Under Secretaries of State for Political Affairs

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: Robert D. Murphy
State of Residency: Wisconsin
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Aug 12, 1959
Entry on Duty: Aug 14, 1959
Termination of Appointment: Dec 3, 1959

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: Livingston T. Merchant
State of Residency: District of Columbia
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Dec 1, 1959
Entry on Duty: Dec 4, 1959
Termination of Appointment: Jan 31, 1961
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 27, 1960.

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: George C. McGhee
State of Residency: Texas
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Nov 29, 1961
Entry on Duty: Dec 4, 1961
Termination of Appointment: Mar 27, 1963
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 30, 1962.

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: W. Averell Harriman
State of Residency: New York
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Apr 4, 1963
Entry on Duty: Apr 4, 1963
Termination of Appointment: Mar 17, 1965

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: Eugene Victor Rostow
State of Residency: Connecticut
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Oct 13, 1966
Entry on Duty: Oct 14, 1966
Termination of Appointment: Jan 20, 1969

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: U. Alexis Johnson
State of Residency: California
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Feb 7, 1969
Entry on Duty: Feb 7, 1969
Termination of Appointment: Feb 1, 1973

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: William J. Porter
State of Residency: Massachusetts
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Feb 2, 1973
Entry on Duty: Feb 2, 1973
Termination of Appointment: Feb 18, 1974

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: Joseph John Sisco
State of Residency: Maryland
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Feb 11, 1974
Entry on Duty: Feb 19, 1974
Termination of Appointment: Jun 30, 1976

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: Philip C. Habib
State of Residency: California
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Jun 16, 1976
Entry on Duty: Jul 1, 1976
Termination of Appointment: Apr 1, 1978

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: David D. Newsom
State of Residency: California
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Apr 13, 1978
Entry on Duty: Apr 19, 1978
Termination of Appointment: Feb 27, 1981

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: Walter J. Stoessel, Jr.
State of Residency: California
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Feb 27, 1981
Entry on Duty: Feb 28, 1981
Termination of Appointment: Jan 26, 1982

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: Lawrence S. Eagleburger
State of Residency: Florida
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Feb 11, 1982
Entry on Duty: Feb 12, 1982
Termination of Appointment: May 1, 1984

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: Michael Hayden Armacost
State of Residency: Maryland
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: May 17, 1984
Entry on Duty: May 18, 1984
Termination of Appointment: Mar 2, 1989

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: Robert Michael Kimmitt
State of Residency: Virginia
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Mar 2, 1989
Entry on Duty: Mar 2, 1989
Termination of Appointment: Aug 23, 1991

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: Arnold Lee Kanter
State of Residency: Virginia
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Oct 4, 1991
Entry on Duty: Oct. 4, 1991
Termination of Appointment: Jan. 20, 1993

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: Peter Tarnoff
State of Residency: New York
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Mar 11, 1993
Entry on Duty: Mar 11, 1993
Termination of Appointment: Apr 18, 1997

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: Thomas R. Pickering
State of Residency: New Jersey
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: May 27, 1997
Entry on Duty: May 27, 1997
Termination of Appointment: Dec 31, 2000

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: Marc Isaiah Grossman
State of Residency: Virginia
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Mar 23, 2001
Entry on Duty: Mar 26, 2001
Termination of Appointment: Feb. 25, 2005 

Title: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Name: R. Nicholas Burns
State of Residency: Maryland
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Mar 18, 2005
Entry on Duty: Mar 18, 2005
Termination of Appointment:


Creation of Position: The Department of State by administrative action established the position of Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, after Congress authorized three Deputy Under Secretary positions in the State Department Reorganization Act of Aug 5, 1955 (P.L. 84-250; 69 Stat. 536). Prior to the creation of the position of Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in Aug 1959, the Deputy Under Secretary for Political Affairs assisted the Secretary and Under Secretary in the formulation and conduct of U.S. foreign policy. After Aug 1959, the Deputy Under Secretary for Political Affairs served as a focal point for interdepartmental relations, especially those dealing with politico-military issues. During 1969, the Department discontinued the position and created a new Bureau for Politico-Military Affairs.


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