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David M. Abshire

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David M. Abshire

David Manker Abshire (born April 11, 1926) has served as a Special Counselor to President Reagan and was the U.S. Ambassador to NATO from 1983-1987. Currently David M. Abshire presides over the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. In July 2002, he was elected President of the Richard Lounsbery Foundation of New York. He is also a member of the exclusive Alfalfa Club.

Dr. Abshire is a Republican and the author of seven books, the most recent being A Call to Greatness: Challenging Our Next President, which was published in 2008. Dr. Abshire is married and has five children.

He is a member of the advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.[1]


David M. Abshire was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1926. He graduated from The Bright School in 1938, Baylor School in Chattanooga in 1944 and from West Point in 1951. He fought in the Korean War and was decorated as a company commander. Abshire received his doctorate in History from Georgetown University in 1959, where for many years he was an adjunct professor at its Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He is a member of the Project on National Security Reform.

Political life

In 1962, Dr. Abshire and Admiral Arleigh Burke founded the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Dr. Abshire served as Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations from 1970–1973 and later as Chairman of the U.S. Board of International Broadcasting (1975–1977). He was a member of the Murphy Commission (1974–1975), the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (1981–1982), and the President's Task Force on U.S. Government International Broadcasting (1991). During the transition of government in 1980, Dr. Abshire was asked by President-elect Reagan to head the National Security Group, which included the State and Defense Departments, the U.S. Information Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency. He also served for nine years on the board of Procter & Gamble.

Ambassador to NATO

In 1983-1987 Abshire was Ambassador to NATO where, in reaction to the threat posed by Soviet SS-20 missiles, he was appointed to oversee the deployment of Pershing and Cruise missiles. For his service, he was given the Distinguished Public Service Medal.

Special Counselor to President Reagan

Abshire was recalled as the Iran-Contra Affair unfolded to serve as Special Counselor to President Reagan with Cabinet rank. His charge was to assure a full investigation of the sale of arms to Iran so as to restore the confidence of the nation in the Reagan presidency.



  • The South Rejects a Prophet, 1967
  • International Broadcasting: A New Dimension of Western Diplomacy, 1976
  • Foreign Policy Makers: President vs. Congress, 1979
  • Preventing World War III: A Realistic Grand Strategy, 1988
  • Putting America's House in Order: The Nation as a Family, with Brock Brower, 1996.
  • Saving the Reagan Presidency: Trust Is the Coin of the Realm, 2005.
  • A Call to Greatness: Challenging Our Next President, 2008.

See also


  • Dr. Abshire's Bio at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress
  • USC Center on Public Diplomacy Profile of David M. Abshire
  • The Civility Defense Force, Washington Post article from April 7, 2006
  • CSIS’ Abshire bio
  • Richard Lounsbery Foundation’s Abshire bio
Government offices
Preceded by
William B. Macomber, Jr.
Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs
April 20, 1970 – January 8, 1973
Succeeded by
Marshall Wright
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
W. Tapley Bennett, Jr.
United States Permanent Representative to NATO
1983 - 1987
Succeeded by
Alton G. Keel, Jr.

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