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The Shultz Archive

Philip Taubman consulted a wide range of archival documents and historical sources to write In The Nation's Service: The Life and Times of George P. Shultz. Taubman benefited from exclusive access to Secretary Shultz's papers at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, along with photos, videos and written materials from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and beyond. Here are some of the resources that Taubman used to build his book.

Excerpts from the
Diary of Raymond G. H. Seitz

January 7, 1983

There have been no new challenges. We cannot give Andropov or our allies the impression that we are "wobbly." By and large, we have stymied the Socialists and the policy which has brought that about should not be abandoned. GPS confessed, "The problem is I don't know exactly what RR thinks. I haven't talked to him in a structured way." The Secretary's tone showed an urgency to begin to engage the President and a reluctance to postpone this until mid­ February.

Seitz worked as the executive assistant to George Shultz during the first years of his time as Secretary of State. His diary records Shultz's hopes, frustrations and conversations in vivid detail. Philip Taubman's exclusive access to the diary was an invaluable resource. The highlighted portions are included in the book.


George Shultz was no stranger to the White House when he became Secretary of State in 1982. Still, his perceived lack of experience dealing with foreign policy issues stirred doubts among members of previous administrations, including former President Richard Nixon, that he would succeed. Shultz nonetheless promised in his swearing-in ceremony speech that he would "muster every ounce of energy and intelligence and dedication I could and pour all of it into performance in this job." (Courtesy Ronald Reagan Presidential Library)

As talks during the 1988 Moscow Summit wound down, General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev invited President Ronald Reagan to join him on a walk in the Red Square. George Shultz did not join the world leaders but played a critical role in orchestrating the outing. (Courtesy Ronald Reagan Presidential Library)

Excerpts from the
Diary of Ronald Reagan

Courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute

George Shultz was president of the W.A. Bechtel Company when Ronald Reagan tapped him for the Secretary of State, replacing Alexander Haig after months of tension in the White House. Reagan wrote in his diary that Shultz, "like the patriot he is," agreed to the job.

June 25, 1982


Today was the day—I told Al H. I had decided to accept his resignation. He didn’t seem surprised but he said his differences were on policy and then said we didn’t agree on China or Russia etc. I made a simple announcement to the press and said I was nominating George Shultz for the job. I’d called him & like the patriot he is he said “yes.” This has been a heavy load. Up to Camp David where we were in time to see Al read his letter of resignation on T.V. I’m told it was his 4th re-write. Apparently his 1st was pretty strong—then he thought better of it. I must say it was O.K. He gave only one reason & did say there was a disagreement on foreign policy. Actually the only disagreement was over whether I made policy or the Sec. of State did.

In 1986, the surprise arrest of American journalist Nicholas Daniloff in Moscow generated an instant crisis in U.S.-Soviet relations.  In a flurry of memoranda and conversations with President Ronald Reagan, Shultz outlined a careful choreography to get Daniloff out of jail.

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1981-1988, Volume V: 1101-1103

As Washington and Moscow were negotiating about the release of American journalist Nicholas Daniloff, Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev proposed an impromptu summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. Secretary of State George Shultz briefed President Ronald Reagan about the summit.

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1981-1988, Volume V: 1240-1241

White House Memoranda

Soviet and American senior intelligence officials had never dined face-to-face until a gathering at the Maison Blanche restaurant in Washington, 1987, amid planning for a summit in the capital later that year. That night, the spymasters warily joked with each other, exchanged barbs and discussed substantive issues.

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1981-1988, Volume VI: 595-601

President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev met at the Kremlin in 1988, an event that Secretary of State George Shultz found to be a watershed moment in U.S.-Soviet relations. The warm conversations between the two leaders renewed hope for a thawing of the cold war.

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1981-1988, Volume VI: 1044-1052

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