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The Failed Attempt to Avert War with Japan, 1941

      on War Fatalities in Hawaii     Read more Moments in Diplomatic History

A Giant of the Kennedy Era: JK Galbraith

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! It’s Poor Richard’s Podcasts

Cool Ben with Earbuds

iTunesFor a more personal — and often more dramatic — way to experience ADST’s oral history collection, try listening to one of our podcasts!

Click the link to Podbean or iTunes, where you will find our growing selection of podcasts. Such as Eileen Malloy, talking about skinny dipping for her country. Renowned chef and Foreign Service spouse Julia Child and actress Kathleen Turner reminiscing about their experiences with the Foreign Service. Richard Erickson discussing the North Korean seizure of the USS Pueblo.  And more to come!







Highlighted Oral History: Frederick Irving

stage-spotlightirving“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” Thanks to Benjamin Franklin for those wise words. The men and women in the foreign affairs community who have taken the time to record their oral histories over the past three decades have created something worth reading and done many things worth writing about. Of the more than 2000 histories we offer, here is one.  If you would like to suggest an oral history to feature, please contact ADST.


Frederick Irving joined the Army Air Corps after graduation from Brown in 1943. His plane was shot down over Hungary. Tuskegee Airmen circled the plane until the crew could bail out, saving Irving's life. He was captured by Hungarian partisans, turned over to the German Army, and interned in a Stalag until it was liberated by Patton's Army in 1945. Joining the Foreign Service, he served in Austria and New Zealand until becoming ambassador to Iceland and Jamaica.  Following is an excerpt from his oral history about his tenure in Jamaica:

"Each political party had a military force or police force of their own. They were the ones who were leaving the dead bodies. So I called them to the embassy and the first thing I had them do is give the Marine Guards all the weapons they were carrying. And believe it or not, these guys had a total of 17 knives and three pistols  that the Marine Guard confiscated before they were allowed to see me. And I read the riot act to them.

I said, 'I am tired of your leaving dead bodies here. If you want to kill each other, that’s your business. But it’s my business if you put them on my doorstep and I’m giving you a warning. You’re going to regret doing this. Now, let’s make a deal.'

And we had a long conversation. I finally got them to agree that they will not harm me, harm my wife, my family, or any other person who was with me, politicians of any or both parties."



Inside Foggy Bottom

refers not only to that neighborhood of Washington, DC, but also to the State Department itself. In this feature, we will try to dispel that fog and smoke and cast light on some of the lesser known aspects of the State Department and diplomatic history.

What Have I Gotten Myself Into? Tales from Rough First Tours

exasperationLife in the Foreign Service certainly has its advantages – working in often exotic locales, meeting fascinating people, being a part of important, sometimes historical, events. But, like other glamorous jobs, it has its drawbacks, not the least of which come with the drudgery of first and sometimes second tours, where most FSOs end up doing thankless consular work or drafting tedious reports.


Big Ben’s Top Ten


8759242fad71e020fa64fed150485645Your BF serves them up the way you like them -- great taste and more filling! Check out Big Ben's Top Ten. He's got a wide selection from around the globe.



Moments -- they're good for whatever ales you.





1. When POTUS Comes to Town                     6. Life Under Il DuceBridge_of_Spies_poster (1)

2. Dissidents, Spies, and Attack Cartoons      7. 2000 Presidential Election–Florida Recount

3. Creating a More Diverse Foreign Service    8. Tiananmen and China’s WTO Accession 

4. Skinny Dipping for Her Country                 9. 8 Weird Things about Dips

5. Stemming the Flow of Blood Diamonds     10. Re-establishing ties with Cuba, 1977


ben_cool (2)“History never looks like history when you are living through it.” — John W. Gardner

The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 1986. Located at the State Department’s George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center in Arlington, Virginia, ADST advances understanding of American diplomacy and supports training of foreign affairs personnel through programs, publications, and activities.

Over the past quarter century ADST has completed more than 2000 oral histories, also posted on the Library of Congress website, with more to come. Interviewees include such fascinating people as Thomas Pickering, who describes his experiences as an ambassador in embassies throughout the world, Melissa Wells, who went from Vegas showgirl to four-time ambassador, Julia Child, Philip Habib, actor Oliver Platt (member of a Foreign Service family) and many others. Excerpts from our oral history collections highlight the horrifying, the thought-provoking, and the absurd, showcasing lesser-known aspects of Foreign Service statecraft and life abroad. They reflect the reality of diplomacy, warts and all.



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