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John D. Negroponte joined the Foreign Service in 1960 and went on to serve as ambassador to Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines and Iraq. He was also Director of National Intelligence and Deputy Secretary of State.
On joining the Foreign Service . . . “I took the exam in my senior year, in December 1959. I thought I had flunked. I was despondent, but it turned that the five percent extra you got for knowing a foreign language.” (Negroponte knew French).
On Iraq . . . “If your military mission is to remove Saddam Hussein and defeat the Iraqi army, that is a relatively well defined objective and with the strength of the United States and the proper organization and the proper plan you are going to be able to do that. . . . The ensuing period involves helping them rebuild their national institutions, rebuild destroyed infrastructure, organize politically and socially again to operate a functioning society. In most countries that is the work of generations, not days or weeks.”
Explore Ambassador Negroponte's full oral history here.
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Featured Publication: Diversifying Diplomacy
by Harriet Elam-Thomas
Diversifying Diplomacy is the story of Ambassador Harriet Elam-Thomas, who grew up in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood and went on to challenge the status quo and beat the odds. Inspired by the strong women in her life, she helped make the Foreign Service reflect the diversity of the United States. The youngest child of parents who left the segregated South to raise a family in Massachusetts, Elam-Thomas distinguished herself with a diplomatic career at a time when few colleagues looked like her.