William Joseph Burns
William Joseph Burns (born April 4, 1956) is an American diplomat, who has since 2014 held the position of the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former United States deputy secretary of state (2011–2014). He retired from the US Foreign Service in 2014 after a 33-year diplomatic career.
Burns previously served as Ambassador of the United States to Jordan from 1998 to 2001, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs from 2001 to 2005, Ambassador of the United States to the Russian Federation from 2005 to 2008, and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2008 to 2011.
Early life and education
Burns was born at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He earned a B.A. in history from La Salle University and M.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees in international relations from St John's College, Oxford, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar.
U.S. Foreign Service
Burns entered the Foreign Service in 1982 and served as Deputy Secretary of State from 2011 to 2014. He had served as Under Secretary for Political Affairs from 2008 to 2011. He was US Ambassador to Russia from 2005 to 2008, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2001 to 2005, and US Ambassador to Jordan from 1998 to 2001. He had also been Executive Secretary of the State Department and Special Assistant to Secretaries Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright, Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Acting Director and Principal Deputy Director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the US National Security Council.
A cable that Burns signed as ambassador to Russia in August 2006, released by WikiLeaks, provided a detailed eyewitness account of the lavish wedding organised in Makhachkala by Russian State Duma member and Dagestan Oil Company chief Gadzhi Makhachev for his son. According to Burns′ account of the wedding that lasted for two days and whose attendees included Chechnya′s Ramzan Kadyrov, an FSB colonel was sitting next to them, trying to add "cognac" to their wine, with an FSB general sitting opposite.
In 2013, Burns and Jake Sullivan led the secret bilateral channel with Iran that led to the interim agreement between Iran and the P5+1 and ultimately the Iran nuclear deal. Burns was reported to be "in the driver's seat" of the American negotiating team for the interim agreement. Burns had met secretly with Iranian officials as early as 2008, when President George W. Bush dispatched him.
Nomination for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
On January 11, 2021, Joe Biden announced he planned to nominate Burns as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, saying that Burns shared his belief "that intelligence must be apolitical and that the dedicated intelligence professionals serving our nation deserve our gratitude and respect."
His memoir, The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal, was published by Random House in 2019. It was published in conjunction with an archive of nearly 100 declassified diplomatic cables. International Relations scholars who reviewed the book were mostly positive.
His Oxford dissertation was published in 1985 as Economic Aid and American Policy Toward Egypt, 1955–1981.
Burns is the recipient of three Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and a number of Department of State awards, including three Secretary's Distinguished Service Awards, the Secretary's Career Achievement Award, the Charles E. Cobb, Jr. Ambassadorial Award for Initiative and Success in Trade Development (2006), the Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award (2005), and the James Clement Dunn Award (1991). He also received the Department of Defense Award for Distinguished Public Service (2014), the U.S. Intelligence Community Medallion (2014), and the Central Intelligence Agency's Agency Seal Medal (2014).
In 1994, Burns was named to TIME Magazine's lists of "50 Most Promising American Leaders Under Age 40" and "100 Most Promising Global Leaders Under Age 40". He was named Foreign Policy's "Diplomat of the Year" in 2013. He is the recipient of Anti-Defamation League's Distinguished Statesman Award (2014), the Middle East Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award (2014), and the American Academy of Diplomacy's Annenberg Award for Diplomatic Excellence (2015).
Foreign government decorations
- Commandeur, Legion of Honour (France)
- Knight Commander, Order of Merit (Germany)
- Grand Cordon, Order of the Rising Sun (Japan)
- Marshall Medal (UK)
- Commentadore, Order of Merit (Italy)
- First Order, Al Kawkab Medal (Jordan)
- "Ambassador William J. Burns Named Next Carnegie President". National Endowment for Democracy (NEFD). October 28, 2014. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
- "William Burns to retire". POLITICO. Associated Press. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
- "Biden Names Career Diplomat William J. Burns As Nominee For CIA Director". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
- NATIONAL SECURITY NOMINEES AND APPOINTEES
- "Appointment of William J. Burns as a Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs". reaganlibrary.gov. September 26, 1988. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
- "Burns, William J." United States Department of State. June 4, 2008. Retrieved January 11, 2021. This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of State.
- "Wedding in the Caucasus: The US Ambassador Learns that Cognac Is Like Wine". Der Spiegel. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
- "US embassy cables: A wedding feast, the Caucasus way". The Guardian. December 1, 2010. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
- Gordon, Michael (April 11, 2014). "Diplomat Who Led Secret Talks with Iran Plans to Retire". New York Times. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
- Barnes, Julian E.; Verma, Pranshu (January 11, 2021). "William Burns Is Biden's Choice for C.I.A. Director". The New York Times. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
- http://www.washingtontimes.com, The Washington Times. "Career diplomat William Burns steered the Iran talks quietly though rounds of negotiations". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
- Kralev, Nicholas (April 4, 2013). "The White House's Secret Diplomatic Weapon". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
- "For CIA director, Biden taps veteran diplomat William Burns". POLITICO.
- Gramer, Jack Detsch, Amy Mackinnon, Robbie. "Biden Taps Career Diplomat William Burns as CIA Director".
- Colbourn, Susan; Goldgeier, James; Jentleson, Bruce W.; Lebovic, James; Charles, Elizabeth C.; Wilson, James Graham; Burns, William J. "Roundtable 11-8 on The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal". H-Diplo | ISSF. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
- Gavin, Francis J. (December 12, 2019). "Bill burns and the lost art of diplomacy". Journal of Strategic Studies. 0 (0): 1–9. doi:10.1080/01402390.2019.1692661. ISSN 0140-2390.
- "Blame It on the Blob? How to Evaluate American Grand Strategy". War on the Rocks. August 21, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
- "What Happened to the 'Future Leaders' of the 1990s?". Time. Archived from the original on March 31, 2020. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
- "Bill Burns Honored as Diplomat of the Year". foreignpolicy.com. Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
- "Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns Presented with ADL Award". www.adl.org. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
- "Walter and Leonore Annenberg Excellence in Diplomacy Award". The American Academy of Diplomacy. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
- "William J. Burns". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
- "RAI in America". www.rai.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
- "受章者（その３止）". mainichi.jp (in Japanese). April 29, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
- "The Marshall Medal - Marshall Scholarships". www.marshallscholarship.org. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to William Joseph Burns.|
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- "Biography of William J. Burns". United States Department of State. Retrieved December 8, 2010.
- United States Embassy in Moscow: Biography of the Ambassador