Anne Armstrong

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Anne Armstrong
Anne Armstrong 1982.jpg
Chair of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board
In office
October 20, 1981 – July 17, 1990
PresidentRonald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Preceded byLeo Cherne (1977)
Succeeded byJohn Tower
U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom
In office
March 17, 1976 – March 3, 1977
PresidentGerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
Preceded byElliot Richardson
Succeeded byKingman Brewster
Counselor to the President
In office
January 19, 1973 – December 18, 1974
Serving with Dean Burch, Kenneth Rush
PresidentRichard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Preceded byRobert Finch
Succeeded byRobert T. Hartmann
John O. Marsh
Personal details
Born(1927-12-27)December 27, 1927
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
DiedJuly 30, 2008(2008-07-30) (aged 80)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Tobin Armstrong
EducationVassar College (BA)

Anne Legendre Armstrong (December 27, 1927 – July 30, 2008) was a United States diplomat and politician. She was the first woman to serve as Counselor to the President and as United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom; serving in those capacities under the Ford, Nixon, and Carter administrations. She was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1987.


She was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and was graduated from Vassar College in 1949. In 1950, she married Tobin Armstrong and moved to Kenedy County, Texas. From 1966 to 1968, she was the vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party. From 1971 to 1973 she was Co-chairman of the Republican National Committee, and she was the keynote speaker at the 1972 Republican National Convention. (She was the first woman from either major party to keynote at a national convention). Nixon named her as Counselor to the President on 19 December 1972, which she held from January 19, 1973 to November 1974 under President Ford.[1] During her tenure as Counselor, Armstrong founded the first Office of Women's Programs in the White House,[2] predecessor to the current White House Council on Women and Girls. Fluent in Spanish, she was Nixon's liaison to Hispanic Americans and was a member of a Cabinet committee on opportunities for Spanish-speaking people.[2] In 1973, a young Karl Rove, then on his way to becoming the chairman of the College Republicans, suggested in a memorandum to Armstrong that the Republican Party show nonpolitical films (such as John Wayne movies and Reefer Madness) at College Republican clubs as part of a strategy to raise support for the party among students and for fundraising.

From 1976 to 1977, Armstrong was the first woman United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom. At the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, there was a draft effort to put Armstrong on the ticket as the vice presidential nominee with incumbent President Gerald Ford; Senator Robert Dole of Kansas was instead chosen by Ford. In 1978, Armstrong supported George W. Bush in his successful primary challenge to Jim Reese in their congressional runoff primary in Texas's 19th congressional district.[3] Bush, however, lost the general election that fall to then-Democrat Kent Hance.

In 1987, Armstrong was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan. She received an honorary Doctor of Laws from St. Mary's University in 1978.

In addition to her public life, Armstrong served on the boards of many U.S. corporations, including American Express, Boise Cascade, Halliburton, and General Motors. She also served on the board of non profit organizations such as Center for Strategic and International Studies and was a member of the Founding Council of the Rothermere American Institute, and the University of Oxford.

Armstrong died of cancer at a hospice in Houston in 2008. She is buried at Oakwood Cemetery, Austin, Texas.[4] She was survived by her 5 children, John Barclay Armstrong II, Sarita Hixon, Tobin Armstrong Jr., Katharine Love and James L. Armstrong.


  1. ^ "Desert Sun 19 December 1972 — California Digital Newspaper Collection". Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b Holley, Joe (2008-07-31). "Leading Texas Republican Anne Armstrong". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-10-22.
  3. ^ "Mayor Jim Reese of Odessa and the Republican Party in the Permian Basin", The West Texas Historical Association Year Book, Vol. LXXXVII (October 2011), p. 138
  4. ^ "Anne Legendre Armstrong (1927 - 2008) - Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved 3 May 2017.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Daniel Evans
Keynote Speaker of the Republican National Convention
Succeeded by
Howard Baker
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Finch
Counselor to the President
Served alongside: Dean Burch, Kenneth Rush
Succeeded by
Robert Hartmann
Succeeded by
John O. Marsh
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Elliot Richardson
United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Kingman Brewster
Government offices
Title last held by
Leo Cherne
Chair of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board
Succeeded by
John Tower