On the Passing of Sandy Berger

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 2, 2015

Teresa and I want to express our profound sadness at the passing of Samuel “Sandy” Berger, former National Security Adviser to President Clinton and – during the Carter Administration -- deputy director of Policy Planning at the State Department. For more than four decades, in both the public and private sectors, Sandy occupied a central position in the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. He was universally respected for his knowledge, his sophisticated understanding of the best interests of our country, his tireless commitment to public service, and his determination that America act not only with shrewdness in the world, but also with decency and humanity.

Some thirty years ago, when I first arrived in Washington and didn’t know very many people, Sandy befriended me and we remained close ever since. It helped that we shared a deep love of foreign policy. He was a serious man, but also easygoing, with a dry wit, a ready laugh, a bone-crushing handshake, and the ability to offer thoughtful guidance on almost any subject under the Sun. Over the years, we compared notes often about such topics as international trade policy, nuclear nonproliferation, the fight against terrorism, and the pursuit of Middle East Peace. I will miss his friendship and counsel.

I offer my deepest condolences and prayers to Susan, to their children Debbie, Alex, and Sarah, and five beloved grandchildren. To all who had the privilege of working with him, Sandy was a treasured colleague; to our country, he was the very model of a dedicated public servant. Sandy Berger left a tremendous mark on our generation and his contributions to our nation and to its security will long endure. May he rest in peace.