Moments Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History

This is an archive of Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History posted in the A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History category.

Dealing with Death as a Consular Officer






Marie Huhtala, who later became ambassador to Malaysia, had several assignments as a consular officer. In these excerpts, she talks about grieving with family members as a young officer after a horrendous loss and the macabre sense of humor of some French undertakers.






I Want YOU to Get Me a New Shower Head!






Many stars are (in)famous for the lists of must-have items that are to be stocked backstage or in their hotel rooms. During one tour in London, Barbra Streisand demanded rose petals in the toilet and 120 peach-colored towels. Mariah Carey wants gold faucets and new toilet seats installed in her room before she checks in. […]






Bob Strauss – “Hell, Mr. President, I didn’t even vote for you”






Ambassador Robert S. Strauss is one of the giants of Twentieth Century American politics and diplomacy, whose service dates back to Lyndon Johnson’s first Congressional campaign in 1937. He served as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee between 1972 and 1977 and served under President Jimmy Carter as the U.S.Trade Representative and Special Envoy to the Middle East. He was chosen by […]






The Jonestown Massacre






Jonestown, Guyana was the scene of one of the most harrowing tragedies in American history. On November 18, 1978, at the direction of charismatic cult leader Jim Jones, 909 members of the People’s Temple died, all but two from apparent cyanide poisoning, in a “revolutionary suicide.” They included over 200 murdered children. The poisonings in […]






Recalling the Attack on the U.S. Compound in Benghazi – from June 1967






The circumstances seem all too familiar — political turmoil leads to angry mobs storming the U.S. compound in Benghazi.  Except this incident took place in June 1967. John Kormann fought in World War II as a paratrooper and went behind enemy lines to apprehend Nazi war criminals and uncover a mass grave.  As an Army Counter […]






The Iran Hostage Crisis– Part II






In these excerpts, Bruce Laingen, then Charge d’Affaires of U.S. Embassy Tehran and one of the “super Satans” kept hostage at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, discusses his concerns about a possible “apology” by the U.S. government to the regime, the confusion engendered by changes in the Iranian government, the Argo episode (and how the Ministry knew of […]






The Iran Hostage Crisis — Part I






November 4, 1979 – Radical Iranian students take over the U.S. embassy in Tehran and hold 52 Americans hostage. The embassy had been seized in February of that year, shortly after the Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile in Paris, but that was resolved quickly; few suspected that this diplomatic crisis would end up lasting 444 […]






Tie a Yellow Ribbon — The Iran Hostage Crisis as Seen from the Home Front






Penelope (Penne) Laingen is the wife of Bruce Laingen, who had served in Germany, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan before being named ambassador to Malta in 1977.  He was sent back to Iran to serve as Charge d’Affaires, and had been there for only a few months when the U.S. Embassy was overrun by student protesters.  […]






“I’m still a dip kid”






Kathleen Turner was one of the iconic actresses of the 1980’s, starring in such movies as Romancing the Stone, Jewel of the Nile, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (where she was the voice of Jessica Rabbit), Prizzi’s Honor, Peggy Sue Got Married, War of the Roses, and the movie that started it all, Body Heat. After […]






The Missiles of October






October 14, 1962, witnessed the start of one of the most potentially devastating moments in history, when the United States and the Soviet Union came to the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Photographs taken by a high-altitude U-2 spy plane offered clear evidence that Soviet medium-range missiles — capable of carrying […]






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