Richard Burt

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For the British Paralympian, see Richard Burt (skier).

Richard R. Burt (born February 3, 1947) is an American businessman and diplomat who served as United States Ambassador to Germany and was a chief negotiator of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Prior to his diplomatic career, Burt worked as director of a non-governmental organization and was a correspondent for the New York Times.

Early life and education[edit]

Richard Burt (left) with Franz Josef Strauß

Burt was born on February 3, 1947 in Sewell, Chile.[1] He attended Cornell University, where he was a member of Alpha Delta Phi.[2] He earned his bachelor's degree, and earned a master's degree in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in 1971. Following graduate school, he was selected for a research fellowship at the United States Naval War College. Following this fellowship, Burt moved to London to work as a research associate and later Assistant Director of the International Institute of Strategic Studies. In 1977, he was hired by the New York Times to work as a correspondent on national security issues.[3]


Burt began working for the United States Department of State in the early 1980s. In 1981, he was appointed Director of Politico-Military Affairs, and in 1983 Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs. In 1985, he became the United States Ambassador to Germany.[3] His tenure as Ambassador to Germany coincided with the beginning of the process that would lead to the reunification of Germany.[4] In 1989, President George H.W. Bush appointed Burt as chief negotiator for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) between the United States and the Soviet Union, with the rank of Ambassador.[1][3] The treaty, signed in 1991, limited the number of nuclear weapons that the two countries could have.

After negotiation of the START I treaty, Burt left government service and entered the private sector. He has since worked as a partner in consulting firms McKinsey and Company, Diligence, and McLarty Associates. In addition, he has served on boards for Deutsche Bank's Scudder and Germany mutual fund families, America Abroad Media,[5] International Games Technology, UBS mutual funds, Textron Corporation, and Alfa-Bank. Burt is also a Senior Advisor to the Center for Strategic and International Studies[3] and U.S. Chair of Global Zero.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Nomination of Richard R. Burt for the Rank of Ambassador While Serving as United States Negotiator for Strategic Nuclear Arms". The American Presidency Project. February 2, 1989. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  2. ^ The Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity: Among Our Brotherhood, retrieved 15 February 2015 )
  3. ^ a b c d "Richard R. Burt". Council of American Ambassadors. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  4. ^ "Richard R. Burt". Center for Strategic and International Studies. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
Government offices
Preceded by
Reginald Bartholomew
Director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs
January 23, 1981 – February 17, 1982
Succeeded by
Jonathan Howe
Preceded by
Lawrence Eagleburger
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs
February 18, 1983 – July 18, 1985
Succeeded by
Rozanne L. Ridgway