The Rumsfeld Papers


About the Private Sector documents

I accepted a position as CEO of G.D. Searle & Co., an Illinois-based pharmaceutical firm in 1977.  It was an opportunity for Joyce and me to move back home after so many years in Washington and abroad.  It was also my introduction to the business world.  While I had known about it in the abstract, I now learned first-hand how results are what matter in business, not intentions or size of your budget as is so often the case in government.  I was also pleased to be part of a company that did something to improve people’s lives.  I have far fewer documents of historical value from this period, but I thought the Searle annual reports and letters to shareholders, as well as a few select memos, would show the steps we took to get the overstretched conglomerate streamlined and back on the track to profitability.

I was not entirely out of the government during this period, however.  During the Reagan administration I served as both the President’s Special Envoy for the Law of the Seas Treaty and as Special Envoy to the Middle East.  The later assignment was intense; I was named to the position in the weeks after the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, and my experiences included being shelled by the Syrians and meeting Saddam Hussein.

I also mounted a brief presidential campaign in 1988, helped with the Dole campaign in 1996, and chaired the Ballistic Missile Threat Commission and Space Commission in the 1990s.  I was on a number of corporate boards as well.  Some memos and reports related to these activities are included in the Library.

As the year 2000 approached, Joyce and I expected to move into semi-retirement in New Mexico—what Joyce predicted would be “our rural period.”  I assumed I was through accumulating large amounts of paper and began considering what I would do with my now more-or-less complete archive.