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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 October, 2004, 04:58 GMT 05:58 UK
Cold War policy mastermind dies
Paul Nitze in April 2004
Nitze had a US warship named in his honour
Paul Nitze, an architect of US foreign policy during the Cold War and later chief arms negotiator with the Soviets, has died at the age of 97.

Many will recall him as a key thinker at the US state department - a man once described by current State Secretary Colin Powell as a "Moses" figure.

He served under Democratic and Republican administrations alike, from Roosevelt to the late Ronald Reagan.

In 1982, he suggested abandoning nuclear arms if Moscow would agree.

A hard-headed analyst and a ferocious negotiator and solution-maker
Strobe Talbott
US diplomat and biographer
That famous "walk in the woods" of Vienna with Soviet negotiator Yuli Kvitsintsky came to nothing as the two governments failed to take up the idea.

However, it seemed a far cry from his position in 1950 when he wrote a national security paper reporting that the Soviets were "animated by a new, fanatic faith, antithetical to our own, which seeks to impose its absolute authority over the rest of the world".

Analyst and negotiator

Born in 1907 in Amherst, Massachusetts, the son of a language professor, Paul Nitze made a successful career on Wall Street before joining Roosevelt's staff in 1936.

Tasked with organising the military draft during the war, by the time of the Berlin crisis of 1948 he was on the state department's policy planning staff.

He joined and left administrations nine times, by his own calculation, serving Democrats such as Kennedy and Johnson in the 1960s.

Reagan invited him to join his Republican administration in the 1980s, aware of his criticism of Carter's policies towards Moscow.

"Destruction of the arms did not prove feasible then, but there is no good reason why it should not be carried out now," Nitze wrote in 1999, recalling his talks with Mr Kvitsintsky.

Former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott wrote a book on Nitze entitled The Master of the Game.

Nitze was a "really major figure both of the Cold War era and of the transition to the post-Cold War era", Mr Talbott was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

"He was a hard-headed analyst and a ferocious negotiator and solution-maker [as well as] a ferocious opponent of policies he disagreed with."

In April 2004, the US Navy named a destroyer after him.


SEE ALSO:
Timeline: United States of America
23 Jul 04  |  Country profiles
How will history remember Reagan?
12 Jun 04  |  Americas


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