Linowitz, Sol M(yron) 1913–2005

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LINOWITZ, Sol M(yron) 1913–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born December 7, 1913, in Trenton, NJ; died March 18, 2005, in Washington, DC. Businessperson, diplomat, lawyer, and author. Linowitz was a former executive for Xerox who also served in the Johnson and Carter administrations as a diplomat, most notably negotiating the turn-over of the Panama Canal to the Panamanians. Completing his undergraduate work at Hamilton College in 1935, he then studied law at Cornell University, where he earned his J.D. with highest honors in 1938. Admitted to the Bar of New York State that same year, he joined the Sutherland & Sutherland law firm in Rochester. When America entered World War II, he applied his legal skills to the Office of Price Administration as an assistant general counsel and later enlisted in the navy as a legal officer. With the war over, he returned to practicing law as a partner in the Sutherland, Linowitz & Williams firm, which later became Harris, Beach, Keating, Wilcox & Linowitz. During this time, his legal assistance for Haloid Company, the first producer of commercial copiers, turned into a full-time job after the company became Xerox Corporation. Named general counsel and chair of the board of directors in 1958, he worked there for the next eight years while Xerox became a leading business machines company. Linowitz entered the world of politics in 1966, when he accepted President Lyndon Johnson's invitation to be U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States and U.S. representative to the Inter-American Committee on the Alliance for Progress. He held this post for three years before returning to law as a senior partner with Coudert Brothers. While still working for Coudert, President Jimmy Carter approached Linowitz with another offer: serving as co-negotiator for the Panama Canal treaties from 1977 to 1978. The canal was originally built by the United States, with the first ships navigating it by 1914. However, the nation of Panama, which won independence in 1903, had long disliked the fact that so much of its territory was controlled by a foreign power. Though many politicians saw the canal as a matter of national security for the United States, President Carter felt that an equitable agreement could be reached, and Linowitz was key in having a treaty signed that eventually, in 1999, turned over all authority over the canal to Panama. Long afterwards, Linowitz would consider this his greatest achievement. He continued his involvement with Latin America as cochair of the Inter-American Dialogue from 1981 until 1992 and was also involved in talks between Israel and the Palestinians as special Middle East negotiator for Carter from 1979 until 1981. During the Carter administration, he also was chair of the Presidential Committee to End World Hunger. After retiring from law as senior counsel for Coudert Bros. in 1994, he published The Betrayed Profession: Lawyering at the End of the Twentieth Century (1994), which was highly critical of the way the legal profession had evolved into a business concerned only with making money. Honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998, Linowitz was also the author of several other books, including This Troubled Urban World (1974), World Hunger: A Challenge to American Policy (1980), and The Making of a Public Man: A Memoir (1985).



Linowitz, Sol M., The Making of a Public Man: A Memoir, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1985.


Chicago Tribune, March 19, section 2, p. 11.

Los Angeles Times, March 19, 2005, p. B16.

New York Times, March 19, 2005, p. B12.

Times (London, England), April 8, 2005, p. 70.

Washington Post, March 19, 2005, p. B6.

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Linowitz, Sol M(yron) 1913–2005

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