In Memoriam: Robert S. Strauss, 1918-2014

April 4, 2014

Robert S. Strauss, an influential and widely-respected figure in foreign policy, died on Wednesday March 19, 2014. He was 95.

Mr. Strauss had a long career in Democratic politics, rising from working on Lyndon Johnson’s 1937 Congressional Campaign to John Connally 1962’s run for Texas Governor to chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1973-6. Mr. Strauss was chairman of President Jimmy Carter’s election campaigns in 1976 and 1980.

In 1977 Mr. Strauss became President Carter’s special trade representative, where he conducted the Tokyo round of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade negotiations. He then became President Carter’s personal representative for Middle East peace negotiations, a position that earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian award, in 1981.

Mr. Strauss’ dynamism and good humor endeared him to Republicans, as well. In 1990 President George H.W. Bush appointed him to be the ambassador to the USSR. From Moscow, Mr. Strauss saw the end of the Soviet Union, and became America’s first ambassador to the Russian Federation. He was also the first chairman of the US-Russian Business Council, and served on Eurasia Foundation’s Advisory Council.

Mr. Strauss is survived by his children, Robert, Richard, and Susan Strauss; along with his brother, Theodore.