Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Namesake

Namesake 

Secretary Paul H. Nitze

NamesakeBorn in Amherst, Massachusetts, on January 16, 1907, Paul Nitze graduated Cum Laude from Harvard University in 1928. He was a well known investment banker on Wall Street until 1941, when he first entered government service with postings to the Board of Economic Warfare (1942) and the Foreign Economic Administration (1943). By 1944, Nitze was serving as director, and then vice chairman, of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, for which he received the Medal of Merit.

Nitze quickly promoted through the Department of State, beginning as deputy director of the Office of International Trade Policy. In 1949, he was named deputy to the assistant secretary of State for Economic Affairs; later that year, he became deputy director of the State Department's policy planning staff, and was soon promoted to director.

As director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, Nitze was the principal author of a highly influential National Security Council document (NSC-68), which provided the strategic outline for U.S. expenditures to counter the perceived threat of Soviet armament.

Throughout the 1950s, Nitze served as president of the Foreign Service Educational Foundation while concurrently serving as associate of the Washington Center of Foreign Policy Research at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.

NamesakeIn 1961, President Kennedy appointed Nitze assistant secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, and in 1963 he became the 57th secretary of the Navy, serving until 1967.

During his time as Secretary of the Navy, Nitze brought attention to quality of service issues. His achievements included establishing the first Personnel Policy Board, a retention task force, and targeted personnel bonuses. He became a strong advocate for officers' advanced education and worked to enhance integration of senior Navy staff by moving the Chief of Naval Operations' office next to his own. He worked to ease unnecessary burdens on sailors by relaxing in-port duty section requirements and hiring civilian custodial workers.

Nitze became a strong advocate for officers' advanced education opportunities and worked to enhance greater integration of senior Navy staff by moving the Chief of Naval Operations' office next to his own. He also worked to ease unnecessary burdens on sailors by relaxing in-port duty section requirements and hiring civilian custodial workers.

Following his term as Secretary of the Navy in 1967, Nitze spent the rest of the 1960s and much of the 1970s serving as Deputy Secretary of Defense, a member of the U.S. delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT), and assistant Secretary of Defense for International Affairs (1973-1976). In 1979, fearing Soviet rearmament, Nitze opposed the ratification of SALT II (1979).

In the early 1980s, Nitze was President Reagan's chief negotiator of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. In 1984, he was named special advisor to the president and secretary of State on Arms Control.

For more than forty years, Nitze was one of the chief architects of U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union. President Reagan awarded Nitze the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985 for his contributions to the freedom and security of the United States.