By Michael Krepon and Barry Blechman
Charles Bailey died on January 3rd after a full life well
led. The Stimson Center has lost a
friend and a trusted advisor, who served on our Board of Directors from 1991 to
A child of privilege, who attended Phillips Exeter
Academy and Harvard, Chuck was completely free of snobbery and pretense. His roots were in New England, but he
flourished in Washington and the Midwest.
He was a natural as a journalist, making his presence felt in
Washington, initially as a beat reporter during the McCarthy era. He later was
appointed Washington bureau chief of the
Minneapolis Tribune. Chuck got to
play in bigger and bigger sand boxes at the paper, becoming its editor before
and after its merger with the Minneapolis
Chuck was always fascinated and appalled by the bomb,
high politics, and over-sized personalities.
He gained renown for using current events to write fiction with
co-author Fletcher Knebel, most famously Seven
Days in May. This book, the story of
a nearly successful military coup in Washington, which became a movie starring
Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Ava Gardner, remains a classic of its
genre. But fiction was always a
sidelight – albeit an important one – for Chuck. His passion, outside of home and family, was
public policy, and the journalist in him never took a holiday. After leaving the Star Tribune, he came back to Washington to become an editor at
NPR. In addition to serving on Stimson’s
Board, he also was a Board Member of the Carnegie Endowment.
Chuck had a common, unfettered wisdom that got to the
heart of the matter. He was tough as
nails, battling a wasting disease for years without letting it slow him
down. He spoke sparingly, which made his
advice all the more valuable. He was
wise and caring. We shall miss him at the Stimson Center.
Click here to read the Washington Post obituary on Charles Bailey, II.