Former U.S. Ambassador to Soviet Union
Robert S. Strauss' business, community and public service activities cover a broad spectrum. Raised in the small West Texas town of Stamford, he served as a special agent of the FBI after earning his law degree from the University of Texas. In 1945 he entered private law practice and with Richard Gump founded the firm that became Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, which today has offices in 15 cities around the globe.
Mr. Strauss served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1973 to 1976. He also served as chairman of President Carter's election campaigns in 1976 and 1980. In 1977 Mr. Strauss entered the Cabinet of President Carter, serving as special trade representative. Over the next two and one-half years, he successfully concluded the Tokyo Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and directed its passage through Congress, which culminated in the Trade Act of 1979.
Following completion of the trade agreements, President Carter asked Mr. Strauss to serve as his personal representative to the Middle East Peace Negotiations. In 1981 Mr. Strauss was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award. In August 1991 he was sworn in as the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Mr. Strauss became the U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation. He resigned from the Foreign Service on November 19, 1992, and again returned to private practice at Akin Gump.
Mr. Strauss has authored many papers for professional journals, newspapers and magazines. He has served on the boards of directors of numerous U.S. corporations and public institutions. Mr. Strauss has occupied the Lloyd Bentsen Chair at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, where he lectured to students of law, business and public affairs.
Mr. Strauss served as chairman of the U.S.-Russia Business Council, is a member of the Council on Foreign Affairs and is a trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.