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Senator says Christopher proud of ND upbringing

FARGO (AP) -- Former Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher should be remembered as a true statesman who loved to talk about growing up in North Dakota, several of the state's longtime officials said Saturday.

Christopher, who was born and raised in the southwestern North Dakota town of Scranton, died Friday in his Los Angeles home of complications from bladder and kidney cancer. He was 85.

Christopher served as secretary of state in the Clinton administration from 1993-96, when he logged a record 780,000 miles abroad in his four-year tenure. He also served as deputy secretary of state in the Carter administration.

Former North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan, who also grew up in southwestern North Dakota, said Christopher regularly invited the state's congressional delegation to lunch, invariably to find out what was happening in his home state.

"He called it the North Dakota lunch at the state department," Dorgan said. "He was enormously proud of his North Dakota roots."

Christopher was one of the country's premier statesmen, Dorgan said.

"He had remarkable diplomatic skills," he said.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple lauded Christopher as a man dedicated to making the world a safer place and the United States a stronger nation.

"He was a skilled diplomat and a tireless advocate for peace and freedom, and will be remembered for the integral role he played in bringing peace to Bosnia and negotiating the release of American hostages in Iran," Dalrymple said in a statement.

"His accomplishments will remain a source of pride for North Dakota," the governor added.

Christopher was born in Scranton on Oct. 27, 1925. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California in 1945 and earned a law degree from Stanford University in 1949.

Christopher was presented in 1998 with the North Dakota's highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award.