The Lenore and Francis Humphrys International Speakers Program - 1/23/2007
James A. Baker, III
James A. Baker, III has served in senior government positions under three United States presidents. He served as the nation's 61st Secretary of State from January 1989 through August 1992 under President George Bush. During his tenure at the State Department, Mr. Baker traveled to 90 foreign countries as the United States confronted the unprecedented challenges and opportunities of the post–Cold War era. Mr. Baker’s reflections on those years of revolution, war, and peace—The Politics of Diplomacy—was published in 1995.
Mr. Baker served as the 67th Secretary of the Treasury from 1985 to 1988 under President Ronald Reagan. As treasury secretary, he was also chairman of the President's Economic Policy Council. From 1981 to 1985, he served as White House chief of staff to President Reagan. Mr. Baker's record of public service began in 1975 as under secretary of commerce to President Gerald Ford. It concluded with his service as White House chief of staff and senior counselor to President Bush from August 1992 to January 1993.
Long active in American presidential politics, Mr. Baker led presidential campaigns for Presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush over the course of five consecutive presidential elections from 1976 to 1992.
A native Houstonian, Mr. .Baker graduated from Princeton University in 1952. After two years of active duty as a Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, he entered the University of Texas School of Law at Austin. He received his JD with honors in 1957 and practiced law with the Houston firm of Andrews and Kurth from 1957 to 1975.
Mr. Baker’s memoir—Work Hard, Study . . . and Keep Out of Politics! Adventures and Lessons from an Unexpected Public Life—was published in October 2006.
Mr. Baker is presently a senior partner in the law firm of Baker Botts. He is Honorary Chairman of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and serves on the board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Mr. Baker and former U.S. Congressman Lee H. Hamilton served as co-chairs of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan blue-ribbon panel that examined a forward-looking approach to Iraq and issued its report in December 2006.