Donald M. Fraser

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Donald M. Fraser is a former US Congressman and Mayor of Minneapolis.

Donald M. Fraser was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1924. He fought in World War II and later studied law at the University of Minnesota Law School. Fraser joined the law firm of Larson, Loevinger, Lindquist, Freeman, and Fraser before he was elected to the Minnesota Senate in 1954. In 1962, he was elected to the House of Representatives from Minnesota's Fifth District. Fraser went on to serve as mayor of Minneapolis from 1980 to 1994, making him the longest-serving mayor in Minneapolis history.

Fraser was married to Arvonne Skelton Fraser, who dedicated her life to improving the lives of women around the world. Together, they had six children: Thomas, Mary, John, Lois, Anne, and Jean.

Amy Klobuchar connection


Amy Klobuchar June 3, 2019 ·

Former Congressman and Mayor Don Fraser died at age 95. In my first run for office, Don was a campaign co-chair and took to the podium to introduce me. He was a great public servant but also a mentor to the next generation. He got that his public service didn’t end with him.

June 2, 2019 Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) released the following statement honoring the life of her friend Don Fraser, former Congressman and Minneapolis mayor, who died earlier today.

“The State of Minnesota has lost a true champion for good. Don and Arvonne Fraser were neighbors and friends. Don Fraser was always ahead of his time. As a congressman he fought for the environment and human rights and exposed human rights abuses around the world. As the Mayor of Minneapolis he advocated for early childhood education. My first job in Democratic politics was as the volunteer executive director of the DFL Education Foundation, a group Don Fraser founded. His mission? Ideas matter in politics. He lived that.[1]

“He was my mentor in politics,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “He is someone that was a quiet leader, who would listen to people and then make decisions.”[2]

Cuba recognition drive

In 1972, a coalition of congressmen, radical activists and some communists spearheaded a drive to relax relations with Fidel Castro's Cuba.

Under, the auspices of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D.- Mass.) and Sen. Harold Hughes (D.-Iowa), a two day conference of liberal scholars assembled in April, in the New Senate Office Building to thrash out a fresh U.S. policy on Cùba.

Among congressional sponsors of the seminar were Sen. J. William Fulbright (D.-Ark.) and Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R.-N.Y.), both influential members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Sen. George McGovern (D.-S.D.), Rep. Bella Abzug (D~-N.Y.) and Rep. Ron Dellums (D.-Calif.).

Other sponsors included Senators Alan Cranston (D-CA), Mike Gravel (D - Alaska), Fred Harris (D - OK), Philip Hart (D - MI) and Frank Moss (D - UT)

Congressmen Joseph Addabo (D - NY), Herman Badillo ( D - NY), Alphonzo Bell (R -CA), Jonathan Bingham (D - NY), John Brademas (D -Indiana), Donald M. Fraser (D - Minn.), Seymour Halpern (R - NY), Lee Hamilton (D - Ind.), Michael J. Harrington (D - MA), Patsy Mink (D -HI), Parren Mitchell (D - MD), Charles Rangel (D - NY), Thomas Rees (D - CA), William Fitts Ryan (D - NY), Ogden Reid (D - NY), Benjamin Rosenthal ( D - NY), Morris Udall ( D - AZ).

Secretary of the New York State Communist Party USA, Michael Myerson was among the observers.

One panelist, John M. Cates, Jr., director of the , Center for Inter-American Relations, matter of factly remarked during the discussions: "So why are we here'? We're here so Sen. Kennedy can have a rationale to get our country to recognize Cuba."

The conference was financed by a New York-based organization called the Fund for the New Priorities in America, a coalition of groups clearly sympathetic to many pro-Communist causes.

The Fund was virtually the same group as the Committee for Peace and New Priorities, a pro-Hanoi group which bought an ad in November 1971 in the New York Times demanding Nixon set a Viet Nam withdrawal date. Both the Fund for the New Priorities and the Committee for Peace, were located at the same address in New York.[3]

Chile petition

In 1973;

Circulated a petition opposing the anti - socialist military government of Chile.[4]

We urge that the people of the world join in pressing upon the military junta of Chile the realization that they must abide by the norms of civilized practices and human decency.

Center for International Policy

In 1980, Donald M. Fraser. Mayor of Minneapolis, served on the Advisory Board of the Center for International Policy, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies.[5]


In 1981 Donald Fraser was a Vice President of Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization[6].

Soviet visit

On April 10, 1982, an IPS-sponsored group visiting Moscow for a week of meetings with high-level Soviet officials responsible for disseminating disinformation and propaganda for U.S. consumption, met with U.S. reporters to serve as the unofficial means for floating the possibility that Brezhnev might agree to a New York summit meeting in New York at SSD-II. The IPS group, led by its principal spokesman, Marcus Raskin, IPS cofounder and senior fellow, included Robert Borosage, IPS director, National Lawyers Guild activist and former director of the Center for National Security Studies; Minneapolis Mayor Donald M. Fraser; Rt. Rev. Paul Moore, Episcopal Bishop of New York; New York lawyer Robert S. Potter; and Roger Wilkins, journalist and senior fellow of the Joint Center for Political Studies which specializes in "black issues."

The IPS group identified only two of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee officials they met - Georgi A. Arbatov, head of the Institute of the USA and Canada, a "think-tank" that provides research and analysis and also cultivates and develops contacts with Americans at the direction of the KGB and the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee; and Vadim V. Zagladin, first deputy chief of the International Department.

In various U.S. interviews, Borosage has floated such standard Soviet themes as the Soviet Union is satisfied by "rough parity" with the United States; that the United States is restarting the arms race; that the Soviets want to go back to SALT II and get U.S. ratification; that if the United States starts another round in the arms race, it will seriously hurt the Soviet economy and ordinary Soviet citizens-but they'll still go ahead, so competition is futile; and the threat that the modern U.S. weapons proposed for deployment are "very dangerous... and would lead to much more dangerous stages that would make both sides insecure, not more secure."

Borosage took pains to say that the Soviets are "skeptical" of the disarmament movement and "they hadn't expected it. It was much more powerful and widespread than they'd ever imagined."[7]

By Dusko DoderApril 11, 1982 A senior Soviet arms control specialist was quoted today as saying that the Soviet Union may adopt a "launch-on-warning" defense posture--which provides for quick firing of nuclear missiles--as a relatively cheap way of responding to President Reagan's planned buildup of U.S. strategic might.

Under "launch on warning," Soviet nuclear missiles capable of reaching the United States would be programmed for almost instant action if computerized Soviet intelligence monitoring facilities reported an imminent American threat to the Soviet Union.

A group of American academic specialists and antinuclear activists, who asked that the Soviet official not be identified, quoted him as saying that "launch on warning" would almost "eliminate the human element" from calculations in emergencies.

From the Soviets' point of view, the new posture would better protect their missiles from a surprise U.S. strike. But it would also increase the possibility that the Soviets would launch an attack by mistake because of computer error.

"We cannot afford to match you ruble for dollar," the official was quoted as saying by the Americans, "but you'd be making a great mistake to think that you could gain strategic superiority" over the Soviet Union.

The new posture would be extremely dangerous and destabilizing, foreign experts here said. The Soviet specialist was quoted as bemoaning that controls over nuclear weapons are "more rigid here and therefore such a change would be more dangerous."

The Americans met a number of top officials in Moscow and said the Soviets think that the United States is "pulling ahead in the arms race." As a result, the suggestion that Moscow may adopt "launch on warning" may have been calculated either to convey the gravity of Soviet concerns or perhaps to increase pyschological pressure on Washington by signaling that automatic massive retaliation is being seriously considered.

In the United States, computers gave false alarms in November 1979 and June 1980 that the Soviets had launched nuclear attacks.

The 10-member American delegation was sponsored by Washington's Institute for Policy Studies, a think tank associated with leftist policies in international politics. It included former U.S. representative Donald M. Fraser, now mayor of Minneapolis; the Right Rev. Paul Moore, Episcopal bishop of New York; Marcus Raskin, a senior fellow at the institute; Robert Borosage, institute director; Howard Frazier, executive director of the Foundation Promoting Enduring Peace; Roger Wilkins, senior fellow at the Joint Center for Policy Studies, and Robert Potter, an attorney.

During their five-day visit here, the Americans reportedly conferred with five members of the Soviet Central Committee including Vadim Zagladin and Georgi Arbatov, and more than a dozen senior Soviet arms control experts including Oleg Bykov.

The Americans--who said they raised the issues of Poland, Afghanistan, Jewish emigration and chemical weapons with their hosts--came away with the impression that the Soviets were primarily concerned with the growing likelihood that the arms race will center on counterforce weapons, or nuclear weapons capable of destroying an enemy's land-based nuclear missiles.

The Soviets believe that Reagan is trying to build up the U.S. ability to knock out their land-based missiles--which account for 70 percent of the Soviet strategic force--by developing the MX missile and the D5 warhead for the submarine-launched Trident missile and by planning to deploy Pershing II and cruise missiles in Western Europe, the Americans said.

The Soviet officials were quoted as saying that they were prepared to develop "countermeasures perhaps not as expensive" as the American programs.

The Americans also reported that Soviet officials said they were prepared to make "unilateral initiatives" in an effort to stop the arms race. The Soviets were quoted as saying that a proposal by Rep. Albert Gore, Jr. (D-Tenn.) calling for deep cuts in nuclear arsenals could form the basis for future arms negotiations.

Regarding other issues, the Americans quoted one Soviet official as saying that a meeting between Reagan and Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev "would be useful" but that Reagan's plan to entertain prominent Soviet dissidents on May 5 suggested that "he cannot be serious" about easing tensions between the two countries.

One official made it clear that the Soviets were wary of Reagan's proposal for a summit meeting during a special U.N. session in June. He was quoted as saying that "Brezhnev probably will be there," but the Americans added that the remark appeared to reflect only the official's personal view.

The 75-year-old Soviet leader, who was hospitalized on March 25 after his health deteriorated on a visit to Soviet central Asia, was reported to be convalescing at his country home outside Moscow. The Americans reported that none of the Soviet officials made any reference to Brezhnev's health.

The Institute for Policy Studies and the Soviet Institute on the U.S.A. and Canada, a government think tank, have signed a protocol establishing annual Soviet-American conferences to deal with the issues of bilateral relations and disarmament. The first meeting was set for next year in Minneapolis with 40 representatives from each side.[8]

Democratic Socialists of America

Donald Fraser addressed the October 9 2004 Democratic Socialists of America Mid-West regional conference in Minneapolis...representing American progressives, Donald Fraser, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and its committee on international relations, and former mayor of Minneapolis.

The dialogue was the centerpiece for the Midwest Regional DSA retreat, and also had wide support from other organizations. It was initiated by the DSA International Commission and the DSA FUND and cosponsored by the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) Education Foundation; the Freeman Center at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute,which donated the meeting space[9]

Socialist International

Donald M. Fraser attended the Second 1977 Bureau Meeting of the Socialist International, Rome, June.[10]


  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. Human Events, April 29, 1972, page 3
  4. [3] Newsletter of the Democratic Left, October 1973, page 3
  5. Center for International Policy letterhead, April 11, 1980
  6. IVI-IPO Letterhead July 23 1981
  7. The War Called Peace: Glossary, published 1982
  8. Soviets Said to Consider Faster Nuclear Missile Launch in Crisis By Dusko DoderApril 11, 1982
  9. Democratic Left • Winter 2004/2005
  10. [4]