- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2009

Claude Brinegar

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) _ Claude Brinegar, who led an overhaul of the railroad industry and saw the nation through the oil crisis of 1973 as the third U.S. transportation secretary, has died. He was 82.

Brinegar died Friday of natural causes at Classic Hyatt Care Center in Palo Alto, according to his daughter Claudia Berglund.

President Richard Nixon nominated Brinegar to head the Department of Transportation in late 1972. At the time, Brinegar was a senior vice president at Union Oil Co., where he had worked since 1953.

During his tenure as secretary, Brinegar led efforts to overhaul the collapsed Northeastern railroad industry, ultimately resulting in the creation of Conrail Inc. He served as a founding director of Conrail from 1974 to 1975 and joined the board again from 1990 to 1998. He served on the board of CSX Corp., which acquired part of Conrail, until 2002.

Brinegar headed the department during the oil crisis of 1973, when Middle East oil producers blocked shipments to the U.S. in response to the country’s support for Israel during the Yom Kippur War. Nixon signed the highly unpopular 55 mph national speed limit into law in response to the crisis. The limit was repealed in 1995.

The crisis also pushed Brinegar to become an advocate for energy conservation. He helped shepherd federal highway funds into mass transit and alternative transportation projects.

After his stint as secretary, Brinegar returned to Union Oil, later renamed Unocal Corp. He retired from the company as executive vice president and chief financial officer in 1992. He was vice chairman of the company’s board until 1995.


Nicholas Henderson

LONDON (AP) _ Sir Nicholas Henderson, a former British ambassador to the U.S. who helped build support for Britain’s war effort in the Falkland Islands, has died. He was 89.

Henderson died in his sleep Monday morning in London, his family said.

He also served as ambassador to Poland, Spain, Germany and France, and as private secretary to Britain’s foreign minister.

Henderson played an instrumental role in building support in the U.S. for Britain’s decision to invade the Falkland Islands _ known in Spanish as Las Malvinas _ after they were seized by Argentina in 1982, said Alexandra Drogheda, his daughter.

His close friendships with President Ronald Reagan, first lady Nancy Reagan and other senior U.S. officials including Secretary of State Alexander Haig helped win support for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s position, she said.

Henderson wrote several books, and excerpts from his private diary have been posted on the Margaret Thatcher Foundation Web site, offering rare insights into the pleasures and pressures of diplomatic life.

In retirement, Henderson divided his time between his London home and a country house in Wiltshire, where he spent long hours toiling in the garden.

He also played a role in development of the tunnel linking France and England, as chairman of the Channel Tunnel Group.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide