Winston Lord

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Winston Lord
Winston Lord.jpg
United States Ambassador to China
In office
November 6, 1985 – April 23, 1989
Preceded byArthur W. Hummel Jr.
Succeeded byJames R. Lilley
Personal details
Born (1937-08-14) August 14, 1937 (age 81)
New York City, New York
Spouse(s)Bette Bao Lord
Elizabeth Pillsbury Lord (aka Lisa Lord)
Winston Bao Lord
MotherMary Pillsbury Lord
FatherOswald Bates Lord
Alma materYale University
Tufts University

Winston Lord (born August 14, 1937) is a United States diplomat and leader of non-governmental foreign policy organizations. He served as Special Assistant to the National Security Advisor (1970-1973), Director of the State Department Policy Planning Staff (1973-1977), President of the Council on Foreign Relations (1977-1985), Ambassador to China (1985–1989) and Assistant Secretary of State (1993–1997).[citation needed]


On Aug 14, 1937, Lord was born in New York City, New York.[1] He is the third of three sons born to Oswald Bates Lord (1903–1986) and Mary Pillsbury Lord (of the flour family, Pillsbury) (1904–1978). His older brother, Richard, died in 1935, aged three months. The oldest brother is Charles Pillsbury Lord. His father was a leader in the textile industry. His mother served for eight years under President Eisenhower as United States Delegate to the United Nations and U.S. Representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and she was the recipient of many awards including International Rescue Committee's Freedom Award. Mary Pillsbury Lord was a survivor of the sinking of the Clyde-Mallory Line's passenger liner SS Mohawk off the New Jersey Coast in January 1935.[citation needed]

After preparing at The Buckley School (New York City) and The Hotchkiss School, Lord graduated magna cum laude from Yale College in 1959 and obtained an M.A. at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University in 1960 (first in class). Among his honors were the Pentagon's Outstanding Performance Award and the State Department's Distinguished Service Award, as well as the National Committee on US-China Relations award and the Hotchkiss and Fletcher alumni awards. He has honorary doctorate degrees from several institutions, including Williams College, Tufts University, Bryant College, and Pepperdine University. He is a member of the Yale secret society Skull and Bones.[2][3]

Lord was a key figure in the restoration of relations between the United States and China in the early 1970s and US-China relations ever since. From 1969–73, as a member of the United States National Security Council’s planning staff, he was the special assistant to National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, accompanying him on his secret trip to Beijing in 1971. The following year, he was part of the U.S. delegation during President Richard Nixon's historic visit to China, was on President Ford's visit in 1975 and many other Kissinger trips. Lord was in every Nixon, Ford and Kissinger meeting with Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping during the 1970s.

Lord was also the top assistant on Vietnam negotiations, in every Kissinger meeting with North Vietnam, 1970-1973. Lord was a principal drafter of both the 1972 Shanghai Communiqué which opened relations with China and the 1973 Paris Peace Accords which ended the Vietnam War.[4]

Lord became the State Department's Director of Policy Planning and top policy adviser on China (1973–77), United States Ambassador to China (1985–1989) under President Reagan, and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (1993–1997) under President Clinton. Early in his career he served in the Foreign Service and the Defense Department.[citation needed] He was a senior counselor for the President's National Bi-partisan Commission on Central America (1983-1984).

Between governmental posts[when?][clarification needed] Ambassador Lord has headed and helped direct many private organizations related to international affairs. He served as President of the Council on Foreign Relations (1977-1985). He was co-Chairman of the International Rescue Committee Board and Overseers, Chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy and Chairman of the Carnegie Endowment National Commission on America and the New World (1992). He is currently a director of the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.[5][citation needed], a global advisor to the Women's Tennis Association, Chair Emeritus of the International Rescue Committee, trustee of the Trilateral Commission, Vice Chair of the NCAFP Northeast Asia Security Forum, and member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a former member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group.[6]

Lord has also previously served on the Boards or as a member of the America-China Forum, The Fletcher School, National Committee on US-China Relations, US-Japan Foundation, American Academy of Diplomacy, Asia Society and Aspen Institute Distinguished Fellows.

Lord has written articles in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, and Foreign Affairs. In 2019, he will publish Kissinger on Kissinger: Reflections on Diplomacy, Grand Strategy, and Leadership, a book of interviews that Lord conducted with the former National Security Advisor.[7]

Lord has been married since 1963 to author and human rights activist Bette Bao Lord and has two children, Elizabeth Pillsbury and Winston Bao.


  1. ^, retrieved Nov 4, 2016
  2. ^ Alexandra Robbins, Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power, Little, Brown and Company, 2002, page 174-5, 189
  3. ^ David W. Dunlap, "Yale Society Resists Peeks Into Its Crypt", New York Times, November 4, 1988
  4. ^ Kissinger, Henry (1979). White House Years.
  5. ^ "The Board of Directors". U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. Retrieved 24 June 2012.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Former Steering Committee Members". Bilderberg Group. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
  7. ^ Lord, Winston. "Kissinger on Kissinger". Macmillan Publishers. Retrieved 3 April 2019.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Arthur W. Hummel, Jr.
US Ambassador to China
Succeeded by
James R. Lilley
Government offices
Preceded by
William Clark, Jr.
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
April 23, 1993 – February 18, 1997
Succeeded by
Stanley O. Roth