- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 13, 2002

Former Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, who resigned over the failed 1980 attempt to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran, died yesterday at age 84.
Although he struggled with Alzheimer's disease, the exact cause of his death was not known.
Mr. Vance died at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. "I can confirm he died today at 4.15 p.m. at the Sinai hospital," a spokeswoman for the hospital said. She could not give any information on the cause of death or on how long he had been a patient.
Mr. Vance was best known for heading the State Department under President Jimmy Carter's administration. The post marked the high point of Mr. Vance's sometimes troubled career, which encompassed more than three decades.
Known as a liberal multilateralist in foreign affairs, Mr. Vance frequently advised presidents, Congress and the United Nations as he sought to promote peacekeeping efforts in hot spots around the world.
Mr. Vance's liberal political leanings created divisions within the Carter foreign policy team, where he clashed with National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, a hawkish anti-Communist.
Yet Mr. Vance enjoyed several triumphs during his tenure as secretary of state especially in the early years. He was instrumental in furthering the normalization of relations with China, securing approval for new Panama Canal treaties and helping to fashion the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
However, Mr. Vance's tenure also saw the expansion of Soviet power in numerous regions around the world. Yet the issue that gripped the Carter administration and plagued Mr. Vance was the downfall of the pro-U.S. monarchy in Iran and the seizure of U.S. hostages in Tehran.
When Mr. Carter approved a military plan for the rescue of the hostages in April 1980, Mr. Vance resigned because of his opposition to the operation, although he stayed silent until the effort was finished. It eventually failed, and was one of the reasons why Mr. Carter lost his re-election bid to Ronald Reagan.
Yet one of Mr. Vance's most difficult and contentious diplomatic initiatives took place long after he left the State Department, when U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar asked him in 1991 to negotiate an end to the bloodshed in the former Yugoslavia. Although he secured a temporary cease-fire in Croatia, his peace efforts eluded him in Bosnia. His approach to Bosnia was criticized by many who felt that it did nothing to stop Serbian aggression. Mr. Vance was convinced that the use of force would not stop the fighting, arguing that negotiations were the only way to prevent Serbian advances.
He quit after wrestling with the Bosnian conflict for almost a year, deciding to enter the private sector.
Mr. Vance retired several years later, when Alzheimer's disease began to take its toll, his son, Cyrus. R. Vance Jr., said yesterday.
Mr. Vance was born in Clarksburg, W.Va., on March 27, 1917. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1942, and joined the U.S. Navy. A year after leaving the Navy in 1946, he married Grace Elsie Sloane.
Mr. Vance's government career began in 1957 when he served as special counsel to a Senate subcommittee. When John Kennedy became president in 1961 he appointed Mr. Vance general counsel to the Defense Department where he later became secretary of the Army and deputy secretary of defense, resigning in 1967.
President Lyndon Johnson sent him to investigate the Canal Zone riots in Panama in 1964, as well as to the Dominican Republic during the 1965 civil war.
He won the Medal of Freedom in 1969.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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