The Nation: The Perfect Consensus Man'

In choosing a successor to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Presidentelect Jimmy Carter could hardly have selected anyone with a more contrasting style. Cyrus Roberts Vance is a low-key, prudent team player who made his reputation as a skilled troubleshooter for Lyndon Johnson. He is so uncomfortable with personal publicity that photographs often show him wearing a slightly rueful half-smile.

A lifelong Democrat, Vance is a product of the Eastern Establishment that regards foreign policy as its special purlieu. Son of an insurance executive (who was also a Democrat and who died when young...

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