U.S. President George H. Bush gestures while meeting with reporters in the Rose Garden of the White House, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 1992 in Washington accompanied by Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger. Before leaving for Somalia, the President announced that he and Russian President Boris Yeltsin will hold a Black Sea summit this weekend to sign a treaty requiring the destruction of long-range nuclear weapons. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Friends and former colleagues say Lawrence S. Eagleburger, the only career foreign service officer to rise to the position of secretary of state, has died.
Word of Eagleburger's death Saturday came from representatives of former President George H.W. Bush and former Secretary of State James Baker.
No other details were immediately available.
Eagleburger, who was 80, was a straightforward diplomat whose exuberant style masked a hard-driving commitment to solving foreign policy problems.
He held the top post at the State Department for five months when Baker resigned in the summer of 1992 to help Bush in an unsuccessful bid for re-election.
Former President George H.W. Bush said of Eagleburger:
"Larry Eagleburger was one of the most capable and respected diplomats our foreign service ever produced, and I will be ever grateful for his wise, no-nonsense counsel during those four years of historic change in our world. During one of the tensest moments of the Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein began attacking Israel with scud missiles trying cynically and cruelly to bait them into the conflict, we sent Larry to Israel to preserve our coalition. It was an inordinately complex and sensitive task, and his performance was nothing short of heroic."