Monday, August 4, 2008

Anne Armstrong

Anne Armstrong, the first female US Ambassador to the UK, died last week.

Obit - Times Online:
"Anne Armstrong was an outstanding, strong-willed Texas Republican who became America’s first woman ambassador to the UK. An influential adviser to three Presidents, she ran a 50,000- acre Texas ranch. She was also, according to her friend, the former President George Bush, “a fantastic shot”.

She was esteemed by many public figures as a pioneer among American women in politics and public service. It was President Gerald Ford who whisked her from working cattle on her ranch close to the Mexican border straight to the life of high-level diplomacy at the Court of St James’s. Thanks to her combination of glamour with a confident, breezy and energetic style, she was an instant success in Britain.

She succeeded Elliot Richardson but stayed only a year; her tenure was cut short by President Ford’s election defeat by Jimmy Carter, who replaced her with Kingman Brewster.

Armstrong in the 1970s was one of the most prominent and influential women in the Republican Party and was the first woman to address the Republican National Convention as a keynote speaker. From 1971 to 1973 she served as the co-chairman of the Republican National Committee, the first woman to hold such a position in either national political party. She was also on the shortlist to become President Ford’s vice presidential running mate.

After Nixon’s resignation in 1973, Armstrong continued as counsellor to President Ford before becoming Ambassador to the UK. She was later co-chairman of the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1980. After his election President Reagan named her chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, advising on matters of intelligence and foreign policy at the height of the Cold War. She maintained that post with President Bush until her term expired in 1990. In 1987 she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award."

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