Secretaries of State Since WWII

This section gives information on each Secretary of State since World War II.  In addition to brief text and references, video clips on several are also included.



Cyrus Roberts Vance -- 1977-1980


Cyrus Vance, who had been Deputy Secretary of Defense under President Lyndon Johnson, served under President Jimmy Carter until he resigned in protest of the secret military mission seeking to rescue American hostages held in Tehran, Iran. Vance told the president of his intention to resign in advance of the mission and announced it after the mission had failed. He was a strong advocate of policies promoting human rights, resolution of conflicts (such as the Camp David Accords between Israel and the Palestinians) and arms control agreements. He was instrumental in the successful negotiation of the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty II (SALT II) arms control agreement with the Soviet Union, and in Carter’s decision to return the Canal Zone to Panama.



  • Vance, Cyrus R. Hard Choices: Critical Years in American's Foreign Policy. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983.
  • McLellan, David S. Cyrus Vance. Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Allanheld, 1985.