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Ari Fleischer

The Honorable
Shunji Yanai

The Honorable
Howard H. Baker, Jr.

Charles Ferris

The Honorable
Tom Daschle

The Honorable
George McGovern

The Honorable
Hugh D. Scott

Stephanie Shea-O’Connor

L. Gordon Flake

Don Oberdorfer

David Broder

C.J. (Chien-Jen) Chen

Aki Kida

George Fu

The Honorable
Kay Bailey Hutchinson

The Honorable Gordon Bennett

The Honorable
Max Baucus

K. Ross Toole

Gregory O. Morgan

Harriet Miller

Francis Bardanouve

Dorothy Eck




"The President [George W. Bush] noted with sadness the death of former Senate Majority Leader and Ambassador to Japan Mike Mansfield. Mike Mansfield’s life of service to the country began when he served in China as a young Marine and spanned almost a century of American engagement in the Pacific. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy of service to the United States will continue."

Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary

"Ambassador Mansfield devoted many years to strengthening the relationship between Asian countries and the United States. He rendered invaluable service as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. For more than a decade, Ambassador Mansfield and his beloved wife Maureen were dedicated to strengthening Japan-U.S. relations through trust and friendship. They considered this relationship to be ‘the most important bilateral relationship in the world, bar none.’ Thanks to their efforts and dedication, Japan and the United States enjoy excellent bilateral relations."

The Honorable Shunji Yanai, former Ambassador of Japan

"With his beloved wife Maureen by his side, Ambassador Mansfield met the world’s leaders and was engaged in almost all the great events of the post-war world. Yet he never lost the common touch. I’m sure many Japanese who called on him at the embassy were surprised when he would personally make coffee or tea for them. Not given to small talk, but blessed with a memory for old acquaintances that would make any politician envious, he always had a kind, appreciative word for everybody. He was a listener, not a talker, and I can remember him with his ever-present pipe intent on his guest’s every word. At a time when his peers were thinking retirement, he took on the responsibility of representing the U.S. in Japan. Indeed, age never slowed him down: he prided himself on visiting all the prefectures of Japan, many more than once."

The Honorable Howard H. Baker, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to Japan, October 5, 2001

"He was at the helm of the Senate at the height of fundamental achievement—the Nuclear Test Ban Treat, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the passage of Medicare, federal aid to education, the 18-year-old vote—all deeply controversial….Each time, Mike Mansfield’s leadership was the hinge of history. He was the man without whom the achievements might well have been different….He was the strong gentle wind that set the climate of the Senate. He was the essential chemistry of the Body….

As our Ambassador to Japan during both the Carter and Reagan Administrations…he remained himself and defined diplomacy. Early in his years as Ambassador, the American nuclear submarine George Washington violated the law of the seas. It surfaced and sank a Japanese vessel in Japanese waters, tragically causing a loss of life, a most embarrassing and politically explosive incident. In a world where debate over words like regret, sorrow, excuse or apology can take weeks and months to be decided, at his own instigation and insistence, Ambassador Mansfield delivered a note of apology to the Japanese Foreign Minister. He asked, however, most uncharacteristically, that the TV cameras be permitted to remain in the room while he submitted the written apology. Again in character, actions over words, he bowed deeply below the waistline in presenting the official government position. As he knew, this symbol in the Japanese culture has great significance. The sincerity and depth of the apology was visually conveyed. The five seconds was played and replayed in Japan’s TV stations many times over…The political issue ceased to exist. Again, few words – great action – achieved the goal."

From the eulogy delivered by Charles Ferris, Senior Partner, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo, Mansfield friend and former Senate counsel, October 10, 2001

"Mike Mansfield’s majestic portrait now presides over a room that bears his name just off the Senate floor. To senators, staff and visitors, it is a reminder of a Senate giant who was a quiet rock of integrity and perseverance."

The Honorable Tom Daschle, Senate Majority Leader (D-South Dakota)

"Mike had a remarkable sense of modesty, and I think in a way he had total self-confidence. He would tell the truth all the time. It think that was Mike’s strength. He never said anything he didn’t believe."

The Honorable George McGovern, former U.S. Senator (D-South Dakota)

"He’s the most decent man I’ve ever met in public life."

The Honorable Hugh D. Scott, Jr., former U.S. Senator (R-Penn.) who was Republican Minority Leader when Senator Mansfield retired as Majority Leader





"It is fitting that Mike’s professional career began in teaching, as he went on to teach his whole life, even if he didn’t know it. He taught us:

  • That you can go to college when you’re almost 30
  • That you can go into politics; it is a noble profession
  • That you can lead with grace and dignity and fairness – without self-promotion
  • That you can – indeed, perhaps for some, that you must – express regret for wrongful deeds
  • That you can say less rather than more
  • And that you can love the same woman your whole life."

…Even have accomplishing so much, after going so far, Mike was mindful that what passes for important is often unimportant, that fame holds no significance, that money need not be a motivator, and that simplicity can be a means to success. When we leave…to go to Mike’s gravesite today, take a moment to look at his wife Maureen’s headstone. It says only this: ‘Maureen, wife of Private Michael Joseph Mansfield USMC.’ "

From the eulogy delivered by Stephanie Shea-O’Connor, great niece of Mike Mansfield, October 10, 2001

"It is with sadness and a sense of loss that we note the passing of Senator Mike Mansfield, an American of the highest principles. As the longest serving Senate Majority leader and the longest serving U.S. Ambassador to Japan in U.S. history, Mike Mansfield will be remembered as one of the great legislators and diplomats of this past century. His deep commitment to justice and mutual understanding did not stop at our nation’s borders. From his first trip to Asia in 1921 to his passing, he remained dedicated to the promotion of understanding and cooperation between the U.S. and Asia. As part of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, we at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation mourn his passing, yet are honored to carry on his lifelong efforts."

L. Gordon Flake, Executive Director of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation

"Mike Mansfield was a great figure in American politics and diplomacy in the 20th century, all the greater for the fact that he rejected all pretensions and claims to greatness. He was the longest serving Majority Leader of the Senate in American history (1961-77) and one of the most respected, and the longest serving U.S. Ambassador to Japan (1977-89) under both Presidents Carter and Reagan, who agreed on little else. He was a participant in many of the historic moments of U.S. relations with Asia, the area of his intense and abiding interest. These ranged from his days as a U.S. Marine in an expeditionary force in China in 1922, to a mission to China for President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, to his personal advice to Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon in the 1960s and 1970s opposing deepening U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam war. Mansfield was among the few congressional leaders present on three occasions when Johnson met his inner war cabinet at crucial moments of escalation. Each time he was the only person in the room who forcefully and vocally opposed the steps the President planned to take. As ambassador to Japan, he famously declared that the U.S.-Japan tie is ‘the most important bilateral relationship in the world, bar none,’ and helped to make it so. When asked by journalists and by me, as a biographer, how he would like to be remembered, he characteristically responded, ‘When I'm gone, I’d like to be forgotten.’ He will not be."

Don Oberdorfer, former Washington Post diplomatic correspondent and now journalist-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University’s Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, who has been working on a biography of Mike Mansfield

"For the past decade, my favorite lunch of the year was the gathering that Charlie Ferris, Mansfield’s great friend and former Senate counsel, organized around the time of Mansfield’s birthday. Eight or 10 people would be there, mostly reporters who had covered the senator…. Mansfield would walk over from his office, trim in a tweed sportcoat, scorning an overcoat, whatever the weather. Customarily, he would solicit news and stories from everyone else before saying much himself. But once he was launched, whether on recollections of his days in the Butte mines or his negotiations over the civil rights bills or the dynamics of change in China, the precision of his memory, the wealth of his knowledge, the wisdom of his years were breathtaking. He would see the looks of awe in our faces and remark, 'Well, bored you again, didn’t I?'"

David Broder, The Washington Post, October 9, 2001

"Ambassador Mansfield was a courageous and principled leader. We are all in his debt for the contribution he made to the promotion of friendship and mutual understanding between Asia and the United States. His zeal and dedication will long be remembered in the service of his country and for the cause of world peace."

C.J. (Chien-Jen) Chen, Representative, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States

"He is the greatest American ambassador to Japan, whom many Japanese will not forget. I met him three years ago at his office in Goldman Sachs….He served us big, sweet cookies and coffee which he made. He was so friendly and gentle with dignity. That was so impressive, and I will never forget that time. No one can be alive forever, but he will be alive forever in our Japanese mind."

Aki Kida, Toyota Motor Corporation

"Senator Mansfield made a great contribution to promote mutual understanding and cooperation between the U.S. and Asia. China is one of the nations of Asia that enjoyed the benefits contributed by Senator Mansfield. He will be remembered by both the U.S. and Asian countries."

George Fu, attorney, Watson & Band, Hong Kong

"He was the strong, silent type – the epitome of what you would think of as the Marlboro Man who didn’t feel as if he had to talk a lot. But certainly when he did speak, he had a lot to say, and it was clear and focused; there was no excess. But you knew it was the wisdom of all those years coming through….A symbol of decency and humility in the Senate and throughout his public service career."

The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchinson, U.S. Senator (R-Texas)

"During his long career as a representative of Montana he made few, if any, personal enemies in this state and enjoyed the support of an unexampled cult of enthusiastic admirers. Those supporters believed he always knew where he was going and had never forgotten from whence he came; they trusted his judgment and his character, and they were profoundly convinced he understood their needs and aspirations and could be relied upon to fulfill them to the extent he could. This well earned consensus, trust and confidence enabled Mike to exercise his gifts for statesmanship unimpeded by serious electoral concerns, which in turn made it possible for him to make the largest contribution ever made by a Montanan to the best interests of the state, the nation and the world."

The Honorable Gordon Bennett, retired judge, Montana

"Although he served six U.S. Presidents in his career as Majority Leader and Ambassador to Japan, Mike once said humbly, ‘I reached the height of my political aspirations when I was elected Senator from Montana.’ That’s just the kind of man he was, a quiet but firm leader."

The Honorable Max Baucus, U.S. Senator (D-Montana)

"Almost all politicians talk of integrity, openness and candor. But, of recent years, who has actually and continually demonstrated those characteristics more compellingly than Mike Mansfield? Yet have you ever heard him ask for your vote because he is honest, candid and open? The answer is, of course, you never have. The simple fact is that those who really possess the qualities have no compulsion to tell us so."

K. Ross Toole, from a speech given at the University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, October 31, 1976

"I worked for Mike from 1964 until 1971. Often I would be asked to give tours to folks from Montana. One tour was a group of young Knights of Columbus students who had been specially chosen to tour Washington, D.C….Mike came out into the reception room to meet the group with his white shirt sleeves rolled up and his pipe smoking in his hand….He introduced himself and asked each one of the ten or twelve students their name and where they were from. As they introduced themselves, he responded by naming a member of the family of each one that he knew in Montana. Of course they were all impressed that he knew their families. The last student was from a small town in eastern Montana. He introduced himself and told Mike where he was from. Mike stated matter-of-factly, ‘How do you do, Eddy. Before today I didn’t know anyone from that town. Glad to meet you.’ …Mike was always happy to meet someone new from Montana."

Gregory O. Morgan, attorney, Bozeman, Montana

"During his long, illustrious career serving our nation, Mike Mansfield was remarkable in his ability to respond effectively to the needs of Montana, the nation and U.S. interests in the Far East. While our careers took us in different directions – Mike to the nation’s Capitol and me to the west coast, I often think fondly of the days when he was a junior Senator and I was Superintendent of Public Instruction of the great state of Montana."

Harriet Miller, Mayor, Santa Barbara, California

"He was a calm leader; he gave confidence to the people that government was in good hands."

Former Montana state representative, Francis Bardanouve, Harlem, Montana

To most Montanans, Mike Mansfield represented what is most revered and respected in Montana politics....His role as political mentor was important.

Dorothy Eck, Bozeman, Montana