MY FIVE YEARS AS LEGAL ADVISER TO THE U.S. DEPARTment of State fell within two Administrations: that of Ronald Reagan, under Secretary of State George P. Shultz (1985–1988) and that of George H. W. Bush, under Secretary of State James Baker (1989–1990). When my service began, the Cold War was still intense, and fundamentalist terror had begun in earnest. Iran had released U.S. hostages, but its allies in Lebanon had seized others, and its conflict with Iraq destabilized conditions in the Persian Gulf. Dealing with these and other challenges was made more complex, moreover, because, in his second term, President Reagan faced a Democratic Congress that resisted many of his policies.
The highlights of my activities can be divided into four general areas: first, the settlement or adjudication of ad hoc international problems and controversies; second, issues concerning the then-critical and conclusive confrontation with the Soviet Union; third, participating in the shifting and insufficient U.S. response to terrorism, in particular the fundamentalist terrorism with which the world is now painfully familiar; and fourth, growing out of these efforts, the development and articulation of the U.S. position on the use of force under the UN Charter.
Withdrawal from the ICJ's Compulsory Jurisdiction
My first, and one of my most controversial decisions, was to recommend that the President terminate the U.S. submission to the mandatory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).