Warren Christopher was the most interesting person I’ve ever met. I say that after more than 70 years of life, several decades in the media and after meeting many, many prominent and impressive people. Warren Christopher was the most interesting and most impressive!

Certainly nothing about his physical appearance led you to that conclusion. He may have stood five-eight. He may have weighed about 150 pounds if he was carrying his large briefcase. Quiet demeanor. More often than not, the last to speak in a meeting of luminaries. Just another guy who spent nearly all of his life in major public service. Until he died last week at the age of 85.

I won’t regurgitate his impressive resume. All that was covered in stories of his death: Clinton’s Secretary of State, peace envoy, chief negotiator in several major international deals, etc. And often he was an “unofficial” troubleshooter for both Democrat and Republican presidents who trusted him and his long list of personal international contacts. While a lot of his official works will never appear on his lengthy list of achievements – many for national security reasons – he lived an amazing and effective life.

The late Sen. Frank Church brought Christopher to Boise in the ‘80’s for a symposium on international affairs. It was Church who arranged for me to meet with Christopher for a 30-minute interview. Those 30 minutes turned into three hours! Somewhere, in my stack of career leftovers, I still have the tape.

As he and I started the interview, we were “diplomat” and “reporter.” About 30 minutes in – where we were supposed to end – we were talking like friends and I was listening to some of the most fascinating tales of international events you could imagine.

I’ll never forget his response to one question in particular. After telling me the backgrounds of one major meeting or event after another, I asked “When you and, say the President of Egypt, get through all the diplomatic niceties and the formal talks, do you ever get the chance to sit down with the guy alone, with a cigar and a good wine and say ‘Anwar (Sadat), you’re wrong?’”

“Oh, yes,” Christopher said. “With him, I said it more than once. Also with others; those who were open to personal conversations. And they to me. I’ve found not all world leaders are as confident and decisive as we see them on camera. Sometimes they need reassurance and sometimes they need candid advice they may not be getting from those around them.” He stopped for a moment and added, “Presidents, too.”

Christopher gave me – a small town, nobody reporter – his full attention during that interview. He answered questions directly, gave me detail and insight and seemed to shut out all outside possibilities that we would be interrupted. He showed no urgency to get back to his world of important friends and contacts. He was focused on the moment.

In this age of political nastiness and constant carping by people from whom we expect better behavior, this small, almost nebbish appearing man stood very tall. His demeanor was that of a statesman. No, make that Statesman with a capital “S.” There had to be many reasons why so many world figures trusted this guy; called on him when they had a mess to clean up or needed someone to solve a difficult problem.

No mystery to me. Warren Christopher was the most interesting and impressive man I’ve ever met. Maybe for them, too.

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