Elliot Abrams has served as assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs since July 1985, when he assumed his third post as an assistant secretary in the United States Department of State since 1981. It also marked the third time that his confirmation by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the United States Senate was unanimous.
During his initial state department appointment as assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs, Abrams supervised United States participation in the United Nations. Later in 1981, he was sworn in as assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs, a position he held until President Ronald Reagan nominated him to lead the state department’s inter-American affairs area last spring.
Abrams, 39, a native of New York City, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College in 1969 and earned a master of science in economics in international relations from the London School of Economics in 1970. He attained his juris doctorate from Harvard Law School in 1973.
An attorney who has practiced in both New York and Washington, D.C., Abrams spent four years during the 1970s working in various capacities for the U.S. Senate, including positions as assistant counsel to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in 1975; special counsel to Sen. Henry M. Jackson in 1975-76; special counsel to Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan in 1977; and Moynihan’s Chief of Staff from January 1979 through May 1979.
Abrams is the author of numerous essays and book reviews that have appeared in Commentary, The Public Interest, The American Spectator, Policy Review and other journals.
He resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Rachel, and their three children.