Since 1945, there have been 21 US secretaries of state. Who are the country’s longest-serving in modern times?
7. Dean Acheson
Acheson served as America’s secretary of state for 1,460 days under the presidency of Harry S. Truman. He left the job in 1953, after four years of service when the Democrats’ two long decades in power came to an end.
6. Colin Powell
Powell served in America’s top foreign relations job for seven days more than Acheson. He was secretary of state under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005, and was replaced by Condoleeza Rice at the start of Bush’s second term.
5. Hillary Clinton
4. William P. Rogers
Rogers served in the job from January 1969 – September 1973 under President Richard Nixon. After over four years in office – just months into Nixon’s second presidential term – he resigned from the job.
One month later, Nixon’s VP Spiro Agnew stepped down, paving the way for Gerald Ford to take his position and eventually become president.
3. John Foster Dulles
Dulles is America’s third longest-serving secretary of state, having been in the role for an impressive 2,282 days. He became secretary of state following Dwight Eisenhower’s striking presidential victory in 1952, but stepped down in April 1959 due to ill-health. He died one month later.
2. George P. Schulz
Schultz served under the presidency of Ronald Reagan from 1982 to 1989. Reagan’s first secretary of state – Alexander Haig – resigned in 1982, and was replaced by Schulz who lasted significantly longer than his predecessor – 2,380 days to be precise.
1. Dean Rusk
Rusk is the only modern US secretary of state to remain in office for a full two presidential terms. He first became secretary of state in 1961 following the inauguration of John F. Kennedy as president. After Kennedy’s assassination, Rusk stayed on under Lyndon B. Johnson until the end of his first full term. His total time in office was eight whole years – an impressive 2,921 days to be exact.
This makes him the second longest-serving secretary of state of all time. He is only beaten by Cordell Hull, who was in the job during FDR’s time in power.
What about Rex Tillerson?
The oil-giant turned secretary of state has been in the job since just after Donald Trump’s inauguration. The fact that only one secretary of state since the Second World War has served in the role for two presidential terms, is not good news for Tillerson if Trump wins a second term.
Put it this way: Tillerson is the country’s 69th secretary of state while Donald Trump is America’s 45th president. Secretaries of state are replaced much more frequently than presidents.
The full list of US secretaries of states can be accessed here. All numbers are based off this list.