As a distinguished educator, public servant and diplomat, The Honorable Michael J. Mansfield has rendered a lifetime of outstanding service to the United States and to its citizens. Through his extraordinary contributions to our nation’s decision-making process and by his astute diplomatic representation of the United States abroad, he has exemplified the ideals of West Point expressed in its motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.”
As a public servant, Mike Mansfield has served our nation in the highest positions of responsibility. As a member of the United States House of Representatives for ten years, he established a singular reputation as a leading congressional expert in foreign affairs. Elected to four successive terms as United States Senator, he rose to the leadership of that body, serving sixteen years as Senate Majority Leader, a post he held longer than any other person in the history of the Republic. His years as Senate Majority Leader were years of challenge and constitutional crisis. Throughout his career in public office, Mike Mansfield forged an unsurpassed national reputation for integrity, candor and love of country. He consistently supported a United States foreign policy based upon promoting and protecting the vital interests of the nation. He supported our nation’s leaders when he believed that support served the national interest or advanced the welfare of the ordinary citizen. When in opposition, he demonstrated the moral courage to face controversial issues squarely, openly and with the highest ethical standards, thus earning the enduring respect and admiration of his fellow citizens.
As a diplomat, he represented the United States as a delegate to the Inter-American Conference, to the Southeast Asian Conference and to the United Nations General Assembly. Following his retirement from the Senate, he was appointed United States Ambassador to Japan, serving in that post for over eleven years.
Widely respected by the Japanese for his wisdom, knowledge, sensitivity and skill as a negotiator. he ably represented our nation’s interests during a decade of rapid technological change and intense national economic rivalry.
Through his long and selfless service to his country, Mike Mansfield has made a significant and lasting contribution to the welfare of the United States and its people. His effective leadership, legislative skill and wise counsel throughout his career as an educator, public servant and diplomat exemplify uncommon dedication, honesty and strong patriotism, and are in keeping with the finest traditions of American public service. His willing and continuous response to his country’s call to duty clearly symbolizes the values expressed in the motto of West Point. Accordingly, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy hereby presents the 1990 Sylvanus Thayer Award to the Honorable Michael J. Mansfield.