Frank G. Wisner

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Frank G. Wisner
Frank G. Wisner as Ambassador.png
Acting United States Secretary of State
In office
January 20, 1993
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byArnold Kanter
Succeeded byWarren Christopher
United States Ambassador to India
In office
June 9, 1994 – July 12, 1997
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byThomas R. Pickering
Succeeded byRichard F. Celeste
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
In office
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byPaul Wolfowitz
Succeeded byWalter B. Slocombe
Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs
In office
PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush
Preceded byReginald Bartholomew
Succeeded byLynn Etheridge Davis
United States Ambassador to the Philippines
In office
August 16, 1991 – June 10, 1992
PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush
Preceded byNicholas Platt
Succeeded byRichard H. Solomon
United States Ambassador to Egypt
In office
August 18, 1986 – June 6, 1991
PresidentRonald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Preceded byNicholas A. Veliotes
Succeeded byRobert Pelletreau
United States Ambassador to Zambia
In office
August 2, 1979 – April 19, 1982
PresidentJimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
Preceded byStephen Low
Succeeded byNicholas Platt
Personal details
Frank George Wisner II

(1938-07-02) July 2, 1938 (age 84)
New York City, New York, U.S.
  • Genevieve Jeanne Marie du Fresne de Virel[1]
    (m. 1969; died 1974)
  • Countess Christine de Ganay[2]
    (m. 1976; div. 2013)
  • Judy C. Cormier
    (m. 2015)
Alma materBachelor of Arts, Princeton University (1961)[2]

Frank George Wisner II (born July 2, 1938) is an American businessman and former diplomat who had served as acting United States Secretary of State for a few hours following the resignation of the previous acting United States Secretary of State Arnold Kanter at noon on January 20, 1993 until the confirmation by the United States Senate and swearing in of Warren Christopher as United States Secretary of State later that day.[3] He is the son of CIA official Frank Wisner (1909–1965). On January 31, 2011, he was sent to Egypt by President Barack Obama to negotiate a resolution to the popular protests against the regime that had swept the country.[4] A White House spokesman said that Wisner had vast experience in the region as well as close relationships with many Egyptians in and out of government. The New York Times reported that he was a personal friend of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.[5]

He works as an international-affairs advisor at the firm of Squire Patton Boggs in Washington, DC.[6]

Life and career[edit]

Wisner was born in New York on July 2, 1938.[2][7] He joined the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer in December 1961.

He was assigned as a vice consul at the American Consulate General in Tangier, Morocco. He served as third secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Algiers, Algeria. In 1964 he became a rural development officer at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam, for the Agency for International Development. He served in South Vietnam until 1969, when he returned to the State Department as officer in charge of Tunisian affairs. From 1971 to 1973, he was first secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, and following that, from 1973 to 1974, he was first secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Dacca, Bangladesh. From 1974 to 1975, he was Director of the Office of Plans and Management in the Bureau of Public Affairs and in late 1975 became Deputy Director of the President's Indo-China Task Force in the Department.[8]

In 1976, at the beginning of the Carter administration, he served under Cyrus Vance as Deputy Executive Secretary of the Department of State. Among his overseas assignments, Wisner served as the United States Ambassador to Zambia (1979–82); Egypt (1986–91), the Philippines (1991–92), and India, 1994–97.

During his tenure in Lusaka, he played the role of point man for the Constructive Engagement policy of assistant secretary of state for African affairs Chester Crocker. Wisner worked well with Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda and helped to rebuild bilateral relations between Zambia and the USA after a 1980 spy scandal at the U.S. embassy in Lusaka. Crocker's efforts contributed to the organization and successful discussions at the February 1984 Lusaka Conference regarding conflicts in Angola and Namibia.[9]

After retiring from government service in 1997, Wisner joined the board at a subsidiary of Enron, the former energy company and served on the board of American International Group (AIG).

In late 2002, Wisner co-chaired an independent working group that developed a model for the US's post-conflict role in Iraq, should an invasion occur. Their published recommendations included: the establishment of law and order through the retraining of the Iraqi army, focusing on the distribution of humanitarian assistance and reestablishment of vital services, and the importance of avoiding the appointment of exiled Iraqi opposition leaders to dominant positions in the new government.[10]

Wisner is an advisory board member for the Partnership for a Secure America, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to recreating the bipartisan center in American national security and foreign policy. In 2012 he succeeded Paul A. Volcker as chairman of the board of trustees of International House, a cultural-exchange residence and program center in New York City. He also serves on the advisory board of the National Security Network, and on the board of Refugees International.[11] He went on to become a member of the board for EOG Resources. In June 2013, Wisner joined the advisory board of Ergo, a global intelligence and advisory firm.[12] Wisner is chair of the board of directors of The Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.[13][14]

Frank Wisner was married to Christine de Ganay, the stepmother of Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France from 2007 until 2012.

He is a member of the Metropolitan Club of Washington DC.

2011 Egypt protests[edit]

In early 2011, the Obama administration asked Wisner to carry views to Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, including advice that Mubarak should resign to defuse the crisis.[vague][15] Wisner was unsuccessful in convincing Mubarak to do so. Four days later, after a day in which Mubarak allies took violent reprisal against democracy activists, Wisner spoke to a security conference in Europe and called it "crucial" that Mubarak stay on in the interest of "stability." The State Department immediately disavowed his comments and said Wisner had not been serving as an envoy but as a conduit for certain administration views.[16]


  1. ^ "The extended family of Nicolas Sarkozy (de Nagy-Bocsa)". Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "Frank G. Wisner". (Biography) Wharton Global Business Forum. Archived from the original on May 21, 2012.
  3. ^ Friedman, Thomas L. (January 20, 1993). "Clinton Rounds Out State Dept. Team". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "Egypt protests – Monday 31 January". The Guardian. January 31, 2011.
  5. ^ "Obama Urges Mubarak Not to Run Again". New York Times. February 1, 2011.
  6. ^ "Frank G. Wisner". Squire Patton Boggs. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  7. ^ "La Giustizia amministrativa: Raccolta completa contenente le decisioni tutte della IV sezione del Consiglio di Stato, le decisioni più importanti della Corte dei conti in materia di conti comunali, provinciali ed erariali, e di pensioni, le più importanti sentenze della Corte di cassazione di Roma in materia elettorale e di competenza e monografie relative a questioni amministrative". 1980.
  8. ^ "Nomination of Frank G. Wisner To Be United States Ambassador to Egypt". Reagan White House. May 23, 1986. Retrieved March 11, 2021.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  9. ^ Andy DeRoche, Kenneth Kaunda, the United States and Southern Africa (London: Bloomsbury, 2016), 150-151, 168-170, and 192-196.
  10. ^ "Guiding Principles for U.S. Post-Conflict Policy in Iraq". James A. Baker Institute For Public Policy at Rice University. Archived from the original on September 1, 2011. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  11. ^ "Press Release". Refugees International. May 9, 2008. Archived from the original on June 6, 2009. Retrieved February 17, 2009.
  12. ^ "Ambassador Frank G. Wisner Joins Ergo's Advisory Board" (Press release). Ergo via PR Newswire. June 11, 2013. Archived from the original on October 13, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  13. ^ Weisner, Frank (May 5, 2016). "America Still Needs Saudi Arabia". The National Interest. Retrieved July 4, 2016.
  14. ^ "Ambassador Frank G. Wisner". Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  15. ^ Stolberg, Sjeryl Gay (February 2, 2011). "Frank Wisner, the Diplomat Sent to Prod Mubarak". The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  16. ^ "West Backs Gradual Egyptian Transition". The New York Times. February 5, 2011.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by United States Ambassador to Zambia
1979 – 1982
Succeeded by
Preceded by United States Ambassador to Egypt
1986 – 1991
Succeeded by
Preceded by United States Ambassador to the Philippines
1991 – 1992
Succeeded by
Preceded by United States Ambassador to India
1994 – 1997
Succeeded by