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Edward Hidalgo; Former Secretary of the Navy

January 23, 1995| From Times Staff and Wire Reports

WASHINGTON — Edward Hidalgo, a lawyer and career naval officer who was Navy secretary in the Carter Administration, has died. He was 82.

Hidalgo, who lived in McLean, Va., died Saturday of a heart attack in Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax, Va.

Carter named him secretary of the Navy in 1979, and Hidalgo stayed through 1981, when he left to resume practicing international corporate law.

As secretary, Hidalgo aroused controversy over the location of San Diego's Naval Regional Medical Center. Critics said he yielded to political pressure in choosing Florida Canyon in Balboa Park. Hidalgo denied any wrongdoing.

He was among many officials who prompted calls for conflict-of-interest rules for his "revolving door" actions when he left office. Like others, he legally but controversially profited personally from contacts or knowledge gained in government service.

Specifically, Hidalgo negotiated a multimillion-dollar settlement with General Dynamics for overruns that it claimed the government caused on the construction of 18 Los Angeles-class attack submarines. Then, 11 months after leaving the Pentagon, he was retained as a consultant by General Dynamics and paid $66,000 in fees.

Hidalgo began his lengthy legal and public service career in 1942 as a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He held various posts in the Navy establishment, including assistant secretary from 1977 to 1979.

He had been a partner in the Washington law firm of Cahill, Gordon and Reindel, in charge of its European office, from 1966 to 1972.

Born in Mexico City, Hidalgo had lived in the United States since childhood. He was educated at Holy Cross College, Columbia Law School and the University of Mexico.

Survivors include his wife, Belinda; two sons; two daughters; and six grandchildren.

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