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Sets Mileage High as Secretary of State

October 9, 1996 GMT

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) _ Warren Christopher took over as secretary of state in January 1993 saying that at his age _ 67 at the time _ he didn’t expect to be traveling all that much.

On Wednesday, in the skies over Africa, and approaching a 71st birthday Oct. 27, Christopher set a new mark for miles traveled over four years by a secretary of state.

En route from Mali to Ethiopia, he surpassed the 700,131 miles traveled by James A. Baker III. Christopher’s arrival in Ethiopia boosted his total to 704,487.

George Shultz traveled 900,000 miles as secretary of state, but that was over six years.

The crew on Christopher’s Air Force jet presented him with a cake to mark the occasion.

Its inscription: ``Congratulations, Mr. Secretary, for setting the all-time record.″

Christopher said that as a 10-year-old boy collecting stamps in North Dakota he was intrigued by an Ethiopian stamp featuring the capital with the fascinating name of Addis Ababa. He noted that 60 years later, he was flying into that city under conditions he never could have imagined as a boy.

Christopher is planning to travel thousands of miles before the end of the year, including a trip to China, a Pacific summit in the Philippines, a Middle East economic conference in Egypt, a conference on Bosnia in France and NATO’s winter meeting in Belgium.