updated 9/16/2004 7:48:40 AM ET 2004-09-16T11:48:40

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara married Italian-born widow Diana Masieri Byfield in a private ceremony Thursday in St. Francis Basilica in Assisi.

The 88-year-old McNamara, who served in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and was also president of the Ford Motor Co. and the World Bank, has been single since his first wife died of cancer in 1981.

Byfield, 70, was married to Ernest Byfield, a former officer in the OSS, forerunner of the CIA.

McNamara, in dark blue suit, and Byfield, wearing a beige pantsuit, were married in a chapel containing a relic of St. Francis in what was described by a basilica spokesman as a “sober” ceremony in English.

“The newlyweds were very moved but emotionally calm,” said the Rev. Enzo Fortunato. “Nobody cried.”

He said that in addition to the priest, only two Franciscan brothers serving as witnesses attended.

The couple were introduced four years ago by mutual friends, shortly after she was widowed.

McNamara was in the public limelight again last year with the release of documentary filmmaker Errol Morris’ “The Fog of War” that chronicles 20th century military history through the eyes of the former defense secretary.

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