L. Paul Bremer Biography

United States diplomat

Born Lewis Paul Bremer III, September 30, 1941, in Hartford, CT; married Frances Winfield, 1966; children: two. Education: Graduated from Yale University, 1963; studied political science in Paris, France; earned graduate business degree from Harvard University, 1966.


Field address —Ambassador Paul Bremer CPA–EXSEC, APO AE 09335. Office —The Pentagon, 1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301.


Executive Assistant to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; 1974–76; deputy chief of mission, American Embassy, Oslo, Norway; Ambassador to the Netherlands, 1983–86; served as Executive Secretary of the State Department, 1980s; appointed Ambassador at Large for Counter Terrorism, 1989; managing director of Kissinger Associates, 1989–2000; appointed Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorism, 1999; ran Marsh Crisis Consulting, 2001; appointed to the President's Homeland Security Council, 2002; named Presidential Envoy to Iraq, Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, 2003.


Superior Honor award, U.S. State Department, 1974; two Presidential Meritorious Service Awards; Distinguished Honor Award from the Secretary of State.

Paul L. Bremer


Retired diplomat L. Paul Bremer was named Presidential Envoy to Iraq by President George W. Bush on May 6, 2003. In that position, Bremer serves as the Administrator of the Coalition Provisitional Authority, the interim governing body in Iraq following the ousted regime of Saddam Hussein. A counter–terrorism expert and member of Washington's neoconservative political establishment, Bremer was judged to possess the consensus–building skills and tough managerial style necessary for the job. In the weeks following a successful United States military ouster of Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party, Iraq's cities remained plagued by violence, and large sections were still without water and electricity. However, the American troops scored a significant victory with the capture of Hussein on December 13, 2003, and Bremer looked forward to making substantial progress in the rebuilding of Iraq.

A native of Hartford, Connecticut, Bremer was born in 1941 and graduated from Yale University 22 years later. He spent a year studying political science in Paris, France, and earned a graduate business degree from Harvard University in 1966. Joining the U.S. Foreign Service, he spent the next several years in various postings around the world. In 1974, he became executive assistant to U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, and two years later served as deputy chief of mission at the American Embassy in Oslo, Norway. He returned to Washington and held various State Department posts during the Reagan era, and also served as ambassador to The Netherlands for three years. In 1989, he was made ambassador–at–large for United States counter–terrorism efforts.

Bremer retired from government in 1989 and took a job with a firm run by Kissinger. Toward the end of 2001, he signed on to run Marsh Crisis Consulting, a firm that provides risk–management advice to corporations with investments or personnel in foreign lands. His extensive counter–terrorism background made him a well–known figure in Washington and State Department circles. Some six years before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, Bremer had warned of the growing threat from radical Islamic groups overseas; he also claimed that America itself was liable to be attacked in a future holy war. President Bush named him to the Homeland Security Advisory Council in June of 2002.

Before the United States launched military operations against Iraq in March of 2003 in coalition with British troops, it had already established an Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance to provide the administrative framework for a post–Hussein Iraq. A retired U.S Army general, Jay Garner, was appointed to head it, and Garner and his team arrived just days after Baghdad was seized. Yet there were conflicts over what type of leadership the new Iraq would have—Pentagon brass were thought to take a more drastic approach than State Department experts with knowledge of Middle Eastern history and politics. One debate concerned the number of Iraqi exiles allowed to form a transitional government. Another issue was the continuing United States military presence itself—international aid organizations often were prevented by their own bylaws from working with occupying military authorities in a war–torn country.

News organizations reported that many Iraqis were still without water and electricity weeks later, and on May 6, 2003, the Bush White House seemed to strike a compromise by appointing Bremer—a State Department veteran—to become the new civilian administrator in Iraq. The announcement was made in an Oval Office ceremony, and Bremer appeared with Bush and U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Senior administration officials said that Bush appointed Bremer "because he is widely viewed as having both the diplomatic polish and the neoconservative credentials to win support from both the State Department and the Pentagon," wrote New York Times journalist James Dao.

Bremer reported for duty on May 12, 2003, and upon arriving in Baghdad briefly spoke to the press. He emphasized that the goal was to restore stability to the long–suffering country. "We are not here as a colonial power. We are here to turn over to the Iraqi people as quickly as possible," a report published in the New York Times quoted him as saying.

In his first week on the job, Bremer sent out patrols to curb the violence in Baghdad. He also announced that his team was working to defuse the tensions caused by the ouster of Hussein's defunct Baath Party from power. "We have hunted down and will continue to deal with those members of the old regime who are sabotaging the country and the coalition's efforts," New York Times reporter Terence Neilan quoted him as saying.

The violence in Iraq continued well after President Bush declared major combat over in May of 2003. Bremer had to answer many questions about ongoing security concerns in Iraq, while attempting to build a new governing council of Iraqis. During a televised interview with Fox News reporter Brit Hume, Bremer fielded questions about continued attacks on American troops: "We're not losing," he insisted. "Ninety–five percent of these attacks on the coalition forces are taking place in a very small part of the country.… They pose no strategic threat to our operations here."

The capture of Saddam Hussein on December 13, 2003, boosted Bremer's claims that the situation in Iraq was under control. Bremer announced the capture to American troops in Iraq during a news conference the following day. "Ladies and gentlemen," he began, "we got him."



America's Intelligence Wire, October 26, 2003; November 16, 2003.

Financial Times, May 7, 2003.

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News, November 13, 2003.

Los Angeles Times, May 2, 2003; May 7, 2003.

Newsweek, October 6, 2003.

New York Times, May 2, 2003; May 8, 2003; May 12, 2003; May 15, 2003.

Washington Post, December 14, 2003.


"Ambassador L. Paul Bremer," Coalition Provisional Authority, http://www.cpa–iraq.org/bremerbio.html (December 1, 2003).

Carol Brennan

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