Agribusiness magnate Dwayne O. Andreas, known for his major financial support of both Republican and Democratic politicians through the decades, has made a $1-million gift to the Center for Peace and Freedom at the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace, a significant boost for the fledgling think tank.
"During a remarkable two decades as an elder statesman--through his writings, his fact-finding trips, and his public statements--President Nixon demonstrated a profound commitment to finding pragmatic solutions to international problems," Andreas, chairman of the board and chief executive of Archer Daniels Midland Co., said in a statement issued from his Decatur, Ill., headquarters.
Andreas, 76, added that he and his wife, Inez, are "pleased to have this opportunity to help perpetuate his matchless legacy."
In announcing the gift, George L. Argyros, chairman of the Nixon library's $25-million "Legacy of Peace" fund-raising campaign, said: "As we redouble our commitment to sustaining the legacy and, now, the memory of President Nixon, we accept Dwayne Andreas' generous gift with enormous gratitude.
"His leadership support has dramatically energized our campaign to establish the Center for Peace and Freedom, which in turn will have a dramatic impact on future generations by helping guide our leaders through the complexities of foreign and domestic policy," he said. "We are proud that our campaign has been joined by one of America's premier citizen-statesmen--one who, like President Nixon did, thinks in global strategic terms."
Born in 1918 in Worthington, Minn., Andreas joined Archer Daniels Midland in 1966, taking the helm in 1970. Among many other associations, he has served on federal advisory bodies under both Republican and Democratic Presidents.
He is perhaps best known outside agribusiness circles as having contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaign coffers of politicians from both parties, a role that has sometimes landed him in controversy.
In 1974, he was indicted, but then acquitted, on charges of funneling illegal corporate contributions to his good friend, former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate, Hubert H. Humphrey.
A $25,000 campaign contribution in 1972 to Nixon fund-raiser Kenneth H. Dahlberg turned him into what he once described to the Washington Post as an "innocent bystander" in the Watergate scandal. That money ended up in the bank account of Watergate burglar Bernard L. Barker, giving investigators the first link between the Watergate break-in and the Nixon campaign committee.
His $1-million gift will provide support for the Center for Peace and Freedom, which officials say will add a voice to the debate over contemporary political issues and preserve Nixon's place in history as a key player in shaping world events.
The center will be headquartered at the Nixon library and also have an office in Washington. It began operations in March when former President Nixon spoke in the nation's capital before 45 key foreign policy officials, analysts and commentators at the inaugural meeting of the center's Study Group on National Security, chaired by former Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger.
That speech was the 37th President's last before his death in April.
A second study group session, also chaired by Schlesinger, will be held later this month in Washington.
The "Legacy of Peace" campaign was launched without fanfare in mid-1993. It was announced in January by Argyros--chairman and chief executive officer of Arnel & Affiliates in Costa Mesa--in Yorba Linda during ceremonies honoring former President Nixon on the 25th anniversary of his first inauguration.
Andreas' gift brings the total raised to $14.5 million, or nearly 60% of the campaign's goal, according to the center. (The campaign is spearheaded by a $5-million Challenge Grant from philanthropist Walter H. Annenberg's Annenberg Foundation.)
"Dwayne Andreas is a longtime friend of the Nixon family and was both a political supporter of President Nixon and a supporter of his work as an elder statesman," John H. Taylor, library director, said in a statement. "Among many other things, he accompanied President Nixon to Russia in 1992 for a dramatic meeting with Boris Yeltsin only a few months after the fall of communism.
"His support of the center will ensure that the same principles of extending peace and freedom Mr. Nixon applied as a former President will continue to be applied in the century to come to the problems and opportunities we will face as a nation."