U.S. Department of State


Warren Christopher was sworn in as the 63rd Secretary of State on January 20, 1993. Prior to his appointment, Secretary Christopher served as Chairman of the law firm, O'Melveny & Myers.

Born in Scranton, North Dakota, on October 27,1925, Mr. Christopher received an undergraduate degree magna cum laude from the University of Southern California in February 1945. From July 1943 to September 1946, he served in the Naval Reserve, with active duty as an ensign in the Pacific Theater. He attended Stanford Law School from 1946-49, where he was President of the Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif.

From October 1949 to September 1950, Mr. Christopher served as law clerk to Justice William O. Douglas of the US Supreme Court. He practiced law with the firm of O'Melveny & Myers from October 1950 to June 1967, becoming a partner in 1958. Mr. Christopher served as Deputy Attorney General of the United States from June 1967 until January 20,1969, after which he rejoined O'Melveny & Myers.

Mr. Christopher was sworn in on February 26,1977, as the Deputy Secretary of State and served in that position until January 20,1981. As Deputy Secretary, he is credited with skillfully negotiating the release of 52 American hostages in Iran. He also spearheaded the normalization of relations with China, helped to win ratification of the Panama Canal treaties, and headed the first interagency group on human rights. President Carter awarded him the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, on January 16, 1981.

Mr. Christopher's professional activities have included service as President of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, 1974-75; Chairman of the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary of the American Bar Association, 1975-76; member of the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California 1975-76; and Special Counsel to California Governor Edmund G. Brown in 1959.

Mr. Christopher's civic activities have included the following: member of the Board of Trustees of Stanford University; President of the Board of Trustees of Stanford University; Chairman, Carnegie Corporation of the New York Board of Trustees; Director and Vice Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations; Director, Los Angeles World Affairs Council; Vice Chairman of the Governor's Commission on the Los Angeles riots in 1965- 66; Special Consultant to Under Secretary George W. Ball on Foreign Economic Problems; President, Coordinating Council for Higher Education in the State of California; and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In 1991, Mr. Christopher served as Chairman of the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department. The Commission proposed significant reforms of the Los Angeles Police Department in the aftermath of the Rodney King incident which were approved overwhelmingly by a public referendum. In 1992, Mr. Christopher headed the vice presidential search for Governor Clinton and served as the Director of the Presidential Transition.

In addition to several honorary degrees, Mr. Christopher has received the following awards: the Jefferson Award from the American Institute for Public Service for the Greatest Public Service Performed by an Elected or Appointed Official; the UCLA Medal; the Harold Weill Medal from New York University; the Thomas Jefferson Award in Law from the University of Virginia Law School; and the Louis Stein Award from Fordham Law School.

Mr. Christopher is married to the former Marie Wyllis. He has four children Lynn, Scott, Thomas, and Kristen.

Return to biographies index.