House Chief of Staff, Secretary of the Treasury,
Secretary of State
James Addison Baker III was
born in Houston, Texas, on April 28, 1930. He was
educated at The Hill School, and received his
Bachelor's from Princeton University in 1952. He
then served two years as a Lieutenant in the
Marine Corps, after which he attended the
University of Texas School of Law, from which he
received his Law Degree in 1957. From 1957 to
1975 he was employed by the Houston law firm of
Andrews & Kurth.
Originally a Democrat, Baker
became a Republican and managed George H.W.
Bush's unsuccessful Senate campaign in 1970. He
served as Undersecretary of Commerce under President
Gerald R. Ford in 1975,
and then ran Ford's unsuccessful election
campaign in 1976. In 1978 he was an unsuccessful
candidate for Attorney General of Texas.
After serving as George H.W.
Bush's campaign manager during the 1980
Republican primaries, Baker was named White House
Chief of Staff by President
Ronald Reagan in 1981;
he served in that capacity until 1985. While
serving in this position, Baker also served on
the Economic Policy Council, where he was
instrumental in achieving passage of the
administration's tax and budget reform
legislation package in 1981.
After managing President
Reagan's re-election campaign, Baker was
appointed Secretary of the Treasury, a post he held from 1985 to 1988.
During this tenure, Baker also served as Chairman
of the President's Economic Policy Council.
After managing George H.W.
Bush's successful presidential campaign, Baker
was appointed Secretary of State, a position he held from 1989 to 1992.
During this period he was credited as a leading
architect of the peaceful transition from
communism to democracy in Europe, beginning in
1989, and was one of the inspirators of German
From 1992 to 1993, Baker served
as Bush's White House Chief of Staff. He left
public service after Bush was defeated for
re-election by Bill Clinton.
In 1993, Baker became the
founding chair of the James A. Baker III
Institute of Public Policy at Rice University, in
In 1995, Baker published The
Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War and Peace,
1989-1992, his memoirs of service as
Secretary of State.
In 1997, Baker became the
Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for
Western Sahara, a position created in the hopes
of crafting a peaceful settlement between the
government of Morocco and the pro-independence
Polisario Front. Frustration over the lack of
progress led to his resigning from this position
Baker served as chief legal
advisor for George W. Bush during the 2000
election campaign, and oversaw the Florida
In 2003, President George W.
Bush called upon Baker to assist in the
operations of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. He
was also named a special envoy to the President
to persuade other countries to relieve Iraqi
As of 2004, Baker was a senior
partner at the law firm of Baker Botts and senior
counsel to the Carlyle Group, a merchant banking
firm in Washington, D.C. He is also Honorary
Chairman of the James A. Baker III Institute for
Public Policy at Rice University, and serves on
the boards of Rice University and Princeton
University, the Woodrow Wilson International
Center for Scholars in the Smithsonian, and the
Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
James A. Baker III has received
a number of honors and awards, including:
the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991
Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson Award
The American Institute for Public Service's
Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of
The Hans J. Morgenthau Award
The George F. Kennan Award
The Department of the Treasury's Alexander
The Department of State's Distinguished Service
and numerous honorary academic degree
Gerald R. Ford
Secretary of the Treasury
Secretary of State
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