Strobe Talbott, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State

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Nelson Strobridge "Strobe" Talbott, III

Immediate Family:

Son of Nelson Strobridge "Bud" Talbott, II and Helen Josephine Talbott
Widower of Brooke Lloyd Shearer
Father of Private and Private

Occupation: Journalist, diplomat
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Strobe Talbott, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State

Nelson Strobridge "Strobe" Talbott III (born April 25, 1946) is an American foreign policy analyst associated with Yale University and the Brookings Institution, a former journalist associated with Time magazine and diplomat who served as the Deputy Secretary of State from 1994 to 2001.

Early life

Born in Dayton, Ohio to Jo and Nelson Strobridge "Bud" Talbott II, Talbott attended the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut and graduated from Yale University in 1968 where he was chairman of the Yale Daily News, a position whose previous incumbents include Henry Luce, William F. Buckley, and Joe Lieberman. He was also a member of the Scholar of the House program in 1967-8, and participated in the Skull and Bones Society.[citation needed] He became friends with former President Bill Clinton when both were Rhodes Scholars at the University of Oxford; during his studies there he translated Nikita Khrushchev's memoirs into English.


In 1972 Strobe Talbott, along with his friends Robert Reich (a fellow Rhodes Scholar) and 2nd Lt. David E. Kendall, rallied to his friends Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton to help them in their Texas campaign to elect George McGovern president of the United States. Through the 1980s he was Time magazine's principal correspondent on Soviet-American relations, and wrote several books on disarmament, and his work for the magazine was cited in the three Overseas Press Club Awards won by Time in the 1980s.

Following Bill Clinton's election to national office, Talbott was invited into government where he served at first managing the consequences of the Soviet breakup as Ambassador-at-Large and Special Adviser to the Secretary of State on the New Independent States. After leaving government, he was for a period Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. He is currently the president of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

At Brookings he is responsible for formulating and setting policies, recommending projects, approving publications and selecting staff. He brings to Brookings the experience of his careers spanning journalism, government service and academe, and his expertise in U.S. foreign policy with specialties on Europe, Russia, South Asia and nuclear arms control.

Criticism and controversies

The former Russian Foreign Intelligence Service operative Sergei Tretyakov claimed that SVR considered Talbott a source of intelligence information and classified him as "a special unofficial contact", although "he was not a Russian spy." These unproven allegations center on Talbott's relationship with Russian ambassador Georgiy Mamedov, who called the allegations "blatant lies." Talbott himself has similarly rejected the accusations, calling them "erroneous and/or misleading in several fundamental aspects...[T]here was never a presumption that what we (he and Mamedov) said to each other in our one-to-one sessions would remain private." Further, Talbott has noted that his meetings with Mamedov advanced US objectives, such as getting Russia to accept NATO enlargement and help end the Kosovo conflict.


Talbott's wife of 38 years, former Clinton administration official Brooke Shearer, died on May 19, 2009.

Partial bibliography

The Great Experiment: The Story of Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation (2008)
Engaging India: Diplomacy, Democracy, and the Bomb (2004)
The Russia Hand: A Memoir of Presidential Diplomacy (2002)
Master of the game : Paul Nitze and the Nuclear Peace (1989)
Deadly Gambits: The Reagan Administration & the Stalemate in Nuclear Arms Control (1984)
Endgame: The Inside Story of SALT II (1979)


“The Russians have provided an opening for renewed diplomacy. Since last summer, President Dmitry Medvedev has been calling for a 'new Euro-Atlantic security architecture'. So far, except for rehashing old complaints and the unacceptable claim that other former Soviet republics fall within Russia’s 'sphere of privileged interests', Mr Medvedev and Mr Lavrov have been vague about what they have in mind.

"That creates a vacuum that the United States and its European partners can fill with their own proposals. The theme of those should be accelerating the emergence of an international system (of which NATO is a part) that is prepared to include Russia rather than exclude or contain it, and to encourage positive forces in Russia that want to see their nation integrated in a globalized world organized around the search for common solutions to common problems.” –Strobe Talbott

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