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Robert Lansing was born in Watertown, New York in 1864. He became an attorney in 1889 and made his name as a US counsel in arbitration cases. An authority on international law, he became counsellor for the Department of State in 1914.
President Woodrow Wilson was impressed with Lansing's abilities and appointed him secretary of state, when William Jennings Bryan resigned in June, 1915. Lansing was responsible for negotiating the Lansing-Ishii agreement with Japan.
Lansing was a member of the USA's delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. However Lansing had strong disagreements with Woodrow Wilson about the Versailles Treaty and the League of Nations. Although he had serious reservations about the peace treaties he attempted to gain Senate approval of them.
Lansing became increasingly important during Wilson's illness (September-January). This concerned Wilson and in February 1920, Lansing was asked to resign. Lansing returned to law practice in Washington and wrote The Peace Negotiations (1921) and The Big Four and the Peace Conference (1921).
Robert Lansing died on 30th October, 1928.