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The Honorable Paul H. Nitze Receives Thayer Award

Categories: Thayer Award, Events & Awards

As a distinguished educator, public servant and diplomat, The Honorable Paul H. Nitze has rendered a lifetime of outstanding service to the United States and its citizens. In government service, in multiple fields of endeavor outside of government and in selfless service to his fellow countrymen, Paul Nitze has exemplified the ideals of West Point, as expressed in its motto, “Duty, Honor, Country”.

As a public servant, Paul Nitze has served our nation in positions of the highest responsibility. In the years immediately following World War II, he was appointed to successive leadership positions in the Department of State. As Deputy Director in the Office of International Trade Policy and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Paul Nitze was a major contributor to the development of the Marshall Plan and our nation’s programs to bring order to the postwar economies of other nations. Later, as Director of the State Department Policy Planning Staff, he supervised the preparation of National Security Council Memorandum 68, the seminal guidance document of United States Cold War policy.

In 1961 Paul Nitze joined the Department of Defense and in 1963 became the 57th Secretary of the Navy. In 1967 he was appointed Deputy Secretary of Defense. During the trying years of the Vietnam War he performed conspicuously as a leader in the national defense establishment.

As a diplomat, he provided key leadership as a member of the United States delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks with the Soviet Union. He later played a central role in the negotiations leading to the Intermediate Nuclear Force Treaty. In 385, President Reagan appointed Paul Nitze Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State for Arms Control Matters. In 1986, the President appointed him Ambassador-at-Large, the position in which he served until his retirement in 1989.

As an educator, Paul Nitze has beer. at the forefront in the study of international relations. He served as Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. His service in this capacity was of such duration and character that in 1989, the trustees of Johns Hopkins University renamed the school as the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and designated him as its diplomat-in-residence.

Paul Nitze has served and advised six presidents. Throughout his career as a public servant and diplomat he has forged an unsurpassed national reputation for integrity, candor and love of country Whether in or out of government, he consistently supported a United States foreign policy based upon a realistic assessment of the military capabilities and the political will of our most probable adversary, the Soviet Union. He unswervingly supported our nation’s leaders when he believed that support to be in the national interest. When in opposition, he demonstrated the moral courage to face controversial issues squarely, openly and with the highest standards.

Through his long and selfless service to his country, Paul Nitze has made a significant and lasting contribution to the security and well-being of the United States. His matchless record of achievement exemplifies uncommon dedication, honesty and devotion to country and is in keeping with the finest tradition of American public service His willing and continuous response to his country’s calls of duty clearly reflects the values expressed in the motto of West Point. Accordingly, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy hereby presents the 1991 Sylvanus Thayer award to The Honorable Paul H. Nitze.

Thayer Award

Since 1958, the West Point Association of Graduates has presented the SYLVANUS THAYER AWARD to an outstanding citizen of the United States whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify personal devotion to the ideals expressed in the West Point motto, “DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY.”
The Sylvanus Thayer Award is funded by a generous endowment from E. Doug Kenna ’45 and his wife, Jean.

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