Detlev Vagts.

AuthorTrooboff, Peter D.

Detlev Vagts, our colleague, mentor, and friend, passed away in August. Professor Vagts was Co-Editor in Chief of the American Journal of International Law from 1993 to 1998 with Judge Theodor Meron.

Shortly after President John F. Kennedy's burial, Leonard Bernstein spoke at a "Night of the Stars" Memorial at Madison Square Garden. He recalled that the late President had planned to include the following thought in his speech in Dallas that was never delivered:

"America's leadership must be guided by learning and reason

Det Vagts made learning and reason the twin pillars of his scholarship and his life. Those values came, in part, from his family and upbringing. He was the son of a German immigrant father who left Nazi Germany for America in the early 1930s despite the prominence and security that he enjoyed as an historian and a World War I veteran. Det's mother was a New York Times reporter and business historian; his maternal grandparents were the noted historians Charles and Miriam Beard.

A graduate of Harvard College and Law School, Det joined the Harvard Law School faculty in 1959 and was appointed Bemis Professor of International Law in 1984 following the tenure of former ASIL President Louis Sohn. Det researched and wrote dozens of law review articles, designed and wrote with his co-authors Transnational Legal Problems and Transnational Business Problems, contributed to the Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States as one of its co-reporters, served as Counselor on International Law at the State Department and, as mentioned, led this Society's flagship Journal.


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