George P. Shultz, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Labor, and State

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George Pratt Shultz

Birthplace: New York, New York, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Birl Earl Shultz and Margaret Shultz
Husband of Charlotte Mailliard
Widower of Helena Maria "Obie" Shultz
Father of <private> Shultz; <private> Jorgensen; <private> Shultz; <private> White and <private> Shultz

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About George P. Shultz, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Labor, and State

George Pratt Shultz (born December 13, 1920) is an American economist, statesman, and businessman. He served as the United States Secretary of Labor from 1969 to 1970, as the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from 1972 to 1974, and as the U.S. Secretary of State from 1982 to 1989. Before entering politics, he was professor of economics at MIT and the University of Chicago, serving as Dean of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business from 1962 to 1969. Between 1974 and 1982, Shultz was an executive at Bechtel, eventually becoming the firm's president. He is currently a distinguished fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

Early life, education

George Shultz was born in New York City, the only child of Margaret Lennox (née Pratt) and Birl Earl Shultz. Contrary to common assumption, Shultz is not a member of the Pratt family associated with John D. Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Trust. He grew up in Englewood, New Jersey.

In 1938, Shultz graduated from the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut. He earned a bachelor's degree, cum laude, at Princeton University, in economics with a minor in public and international affairs. His senior thesis examined the Tennessee Valley Authority's effect on local agriculture, for which he conducted on-site research. Shultz graduated with honors in 1942.

Shultz was on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps 1942–1945. He was an artillery officer, attaining the rank of Captain. He was detached to the U.S. Army 81st Infantry Division during the Battle of Angaur (Battle of Peleliu).

In 1949, Shultz earned a Ph.D. in industrial economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

University professor

He taught in both the MIT Department of Economics and the MIT Sloan School of Management from 1948 to 1957, with a leave of absence in 1955 to serve on President Dwight Eisenhower's Council of Economic Advisers as a senior staff economist. In 1957, Shultz joined the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business as professor of industrial relations. Later, he was named dean in 1962. While at UChicago, he was influenced by Nobel prize winners Milton Friedman and George Stigler, who reinforced Shultz's view of the importance of a free-market economy. He increased enrollment of African American students in the M.B.A. program.

Nixon Administration

Secretary of Labor

Shultz was President Richard Nixon's secretary of labor from 1969 to 1970. He soon faced the crisis of the Longshoremen's Union strike. The Lyndon B. Johnson Administration's had delayed it with a Taft Hartley injunction that now expired, and the press pressed him to describe his approach. In fact, he applied the theory he had developed in academia: he let the parties work it out, which they did quickly. He imposed the Philadelphia Plan requiring Pennsylvania construction unions, which refused to accept black members, to admit a certain number of blacks by an enforced deadline. This marked the first use of racial quotas in the federal government.

Shultz was Nixon's unofficial ambassador to the AFL-CIO.

Office of Management and Budget

He then became the first director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Secretary of the Treasury

He was United States Secretary of the Treasury from May 1972 to May 1974. During his tenure, Shultz was concerned with two major issues: the continuing domestic administration of Nixon's "New Economic Policy," begun under Secretary John B. Connally (that Shultz privately opposed its three elements), and a renewed dollar crisis that broke out in February 1973.

Domestically Shultz enacted the next phase of the NEP, lifting price controls begun in 1971. This phase was a failure, resulting in high inflation, and price freezes were reestablished five months later.

Meanwhile Shultz's attention was increasingly diverted from the domestic economy to the international arena. He participated in an international monetary conference in Paris in 1973, which grew out of the 1971 decision to abolish the gold standard, a decision that Shultz and Paul Volcker had supported (see Nixon Shock). The conference formally abolished the Bretton Woods system, thereby causing all currencies to float. During this period Shultz co-founded the "Library Group," which became the G7. Shultz resigned shortly before Nixon to return to private life.

Business executive

In 1974, he left government service to become executive vice of Bechtel Group, a large engineering and services company. He was later its president and a director.

Secretary of State for Reagan

On July 16, 1982, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as the sixtieth U.S. Secretary of State, replacing Alexander Haig, who had resigned. Shultz would serve for six and a half years - the longest tenure since Dean Rusk.

Shultz relied primarily on the Foreign Service to formulate and implement Reagan’s foreign policy. By the summer of 1985, Shultz had personally selected most of the senior officials in the Department, emphasizing professional over political credentials in the process. The Foreign Service responded in kind by giving Shultz its “complete support,” making him the most popular Secretary since Dean Acheson and, along with Acheson and George Marshall, one of the most admired Secretaries in the 20th century. Shultz' success came from not only the respect he earned from the bureaucracy but the strong relationship he forged with Reagan, who trusted him completely.

Relations with China

Shultz inherited negotiations with China over Taiwan from his predecessor. Under the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States was obligated to assist in Taiwan's defense, which included the sale of arms. The Administration debate on Taiwan, especially over the sale of military aircraft, resulted in a crisis in relations with China, which was alleviated only in August 1982, when, after months of arduous negotiations, the United States and China issued a joint communiqué on Taiwan in which the United States agreed to limit arms sales and China agreed to seek a “peaceful solution.”

Relations with Europe and the Soviet Union

By the summer of 1982, relations were strained not only between Washington and Moscow but also between Washington and key capitals in Western Europe. In response to the imposition of martial law in Poland the previous December, the Reagan administration had imposed sanctions on a pipeline between West Germany and the Soviet Union. European leaders vigorously protested sanctions that damaged their interests but not U.S. interests in grain sales to the Soviet Union. Shultz resolved this “poisonous problem” in December 1982, when the United States agreed to abandon sanctions against the pipeline, and the Europeans agreed to adopt stricter controls on strategic trade with the Soviets.

A more controversial issue was the NATO Ministers’ 1979 “dual track” decision: if the Soviets refused to remove their SS-20 medium range ballistic missiles within four years, then the Allies would deploy a countervailing force of cruise and Pershing II missiles in Western Europe. When negotiations on these intermediate nuclear forces (INF) stalled, 1983 became a year of the protest. Shultz and other Western leaders worked hard to maintain allied unity amidst popular anti-nuclear demonstrations in Europe and United States. In spite of Western protests and Soviet propaganda, the allies began deployment of the missiles as scheduled in November 1983.

US-Soviet tensions were raised by the announcement in March 1983 of the Strategic Defense Initiative, and exacerbated by the Soviet shoot-down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 near Moneron Island on September 1. Tensions reached a height with the Able Archer 83 exercises in November 1983, during which the Soviets feared a pre-emptive American attack.

Following the missile deployment and the exercises, both Shultz and Reagan resolved to seek further dialogue with the Soviets.

When Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985, Shultz advocated that Reagan pursue a personal dialogue with him. This relationship produced its most practical result in December 1987, when the two leaders signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The treaty, which eliminated an entire class of missiles in Europe, was a milestone in the history of the Cold War. Although Gorbachev took the initiative, Reagan was well prepared by the State Department to adopt a policy of negotiations.

Middle East diplomacy

In response to the escalating violence of the Lebanese civil war, Reagan sent a Marine contingent to protect the Palestinian refugee camps and support the Lebanese Government. The October 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut killed 241 U.S. servicemen, after which the deployment came to an ignominious end. Shultz subsequently negotiated an agreement between Israel and Lebanon and convinced Israel to begin a partial withdrawal of its troops in January 1985 despite Lebanon’s contravention of the settlement.

During the First Intifada (see Arab-Israeli conflict), Shultz "proposed ... an international convention in April 1988 ... on an interim autonomy agreement for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to be implemented as of October for a three-year period". By December 1988, following six months of shuttle diplomacy, Shultz had established a diplomatic dialogue with the Palestine Liberation Organization, which was picked up by the next Administration.

Latin America

Shultz was well known for outspoken opposition to the "arms for hostages" scandal that would eventually become the Iran Contra situation. In a 1983 testimony before the U.S. Congress, he said that the Sandinista government in Nicaragua was "a cancer in our own land mass", that must be "cut out". He was also opposed to any negotiation with the government of Daniel Ortega: "Negotiations are a euphemism for capitulation if the shadow of power is not cast across the bargaining table."

Later life

George Shultz left office on January 20, 1989, but continues to be a strategist for the Republican Party.[citation needed] He was an advisor for George W. Bush's presidential campaign during the 2000 election, and senior member of the so-called "Vulcans", a group of policy mentors for Bush which also included Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Condoleezza Rice. One of his most senior advisors and confidants is former ambassador Charles Hill, who holds dual positions at the Hoover Institution and Yale University. Shultz has been called the father of the "Bush Doctrine", because of his advocacy of preventive war. He generally defends the Bush administration's foreign policy.

After leaving public office in 1989, Shultz became the first prominent Republican to call for the legalization of recreational drugs. He went on to add his signature to an advertisement, published in The New York Times on June 8, 1998, entitled "We believe the global war on drugs is now causing more harm than drug abuse itself." In 2011, he was part of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which called for a public health and harm reduction approach towards drug use, alongside with other luminaries such as Kofi Annan, Paul Volcker, and George Papandreou.

In April 1998, Shultz hosted a meeting at which George W. Bush discussed his views with policy experts including Michael Boskin, John Taylor and Condoleezza Rice, who were evaluating possible Republican candidates to run for President in 2000. At the end of the meeting, the group felt they could support a Bush candidacy, and Shultz encouraged him to enter the race.

He also has spoken against the Cuban embargo, calling the policy towards Cuba "insane". He has argued that free trade would help bring down Fidel Castro's regime and that the embargo only helps justify the continued repression in the island.

In August 2003, Shultz was named co-chair (along with Warren Buffett) of California's Economic Recovery Council, an advisory group to the campaign of California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger.

On January 5, 2006, he participated in a meeting at the White House of former Secretaries of Defense and State, to discuss United States foreign policy with Bush administration officials.

On January 15, 2008, Shultz co-authored an opinion paper published in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Toward a Nuclear-Free World". His co-authors were William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn.

Shultz is the chairman of JPMorgan Chase's International Advisory Council and an honorary director of the Institute for International Economics. He is a member of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) Board of Advisors, the New Atlantic Initiative, the prestigious Mandalay Camp at the Bohemian Grove, the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, and the Committee on the Present Danger. He is honorary chairman of The Israel Democracy Institute ( Shultz formerly served on the board of directors for the Bechtel Corporation, Charles Schwab Corporation, and was a member of the board of directors of Gilead Sciences from January 1996 to December 2005. He is currently a co-chairman of the North American Forum and also serves on the board for Accretive Health.


While serving with the Marines in Hawaii, he met military nurse lieutenant Helena Maria "Obie" O'Brien (1915–1995). They married on February 16, 1946, and had five children (Margaret Ann, Kathleen Pratt Shultz Jorgensen, Edward Milton, Barbara Lennox Shultz White, Alexander George.) In 1997, after the death of Helena, he married Charlotte Mailliard Swig, a prominent San Francisco socialite. Their marriage was called the "Bay Area Wedding of the Year", and they remain a power couple in San Francisco.

Honors and prizes

Selected works

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George P. Shultz, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Labor, and State's Timeline

December 13, 1920
New York, New York, New York, United States