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.

Stepchild of the State Department






While human rights in foreign policy has generally enjoyed broad bipartisan support for several years now, it was not always so. As Secretary Clinton noted at the 35th anniversary celebration of the Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) in June 2012,  there were ” plenty of critics at post and in this […]






Being Black in a “Lily White” State Department






Terence Todman is one of the few people to attain the rank of career ambassador – the equivalent of a four-star general – in the Department of State, having served as ambassador to six different countries. He is also one of the few African Americans to be so honored and was known for his outspokenness […]






The USS Pueblo Incident — Assassins in Seoul, A Spy Ship Captured






January of 1968 saw two of the most serious incidents to occur on the Korean peninsula since the end of the Korean War. Skirmishes had become common along the demilitarized zone since 1967, but none were more brazen than the attempt by North Korean commandos to assassinate President of South Korea Park Chung-hee the night […]






Incoming! Surviving SCUD Attacks in Dhahran






Ken Stammerman was economic counselor in Kuwait from 1986 to 1987 before becoming consul general in Dhahran in 1989. Home to the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, or ARAMCO, Dhahran hosted many American citizens during Stammerman’s service.  It was also the target for numerous SCUD missile attacks during Desert Storm. Here he talks about the fear […]






“God, we never thought that you would listen to us!”






Oftentimes a country will tell the embassy how much it dislikes U.S. policies, without expecting that those policies will change much. U. Alexis Johnson, who was the Ambassador to Japan in 1968 during the Vietnam War, relates how many in Tokyo said one thing publicly but privately had a completely different view. The initial interview […]






A Real Life “Thunderball”: The Day the U.S. Lost Hydrogen Bombs in Spain






The March 2009 edition of Time magazine called it one of the world’s “worst nuclear disasters.” On January 17, 1966, a B-52 bomber of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) carrying four hydrogen bombs collided with a tanker during mid-air refueling at 31,000 feet over the Mediterranean off the coast of Spain. The tanker was completely destroyed when its fuel load ignited, killing all four […]






Desert Storm: “The War Never Really Ended” — Part II






Chas Freeman was U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm and consulted frequently with General Norman Schwarzkopf and others on the conduct of the war.  In this segment, he discusses his frustrations in dealing with Washington, his preoccupation with “visitor management”, his lack of respect for the media which covered the war, and the […]






Desert Storm “The War Never Really Ended” — Part I






It was the first major foreign policy crisis for the U.S. since the end of the Cold War.  Iraq, which had built up the fourth-largest army in the world with U.S. assistance, was heavily in debt after its costly eight-year war with Iran. It pressured Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to forgive its debts, but they refused. […]






Senator Chuck Hagel on Foreign Policy Challenges






Senator Chuck Hagel, who has been nominated by President Obama to be the next Secretary of Defense, was awarded ADST’s Ralph J. Bunche Award for Diplomatic Excellence in February 2010.  In his extemporaneous acceptance remarks, Hagel stressed the importance of questioning past assumptions and of understanding new international frames of reference in facing new challenges. […]






Hard Rock Hotel Panama: Noriega and the U.S. Invasion, Part II






The U.S. and SOUTHCOM had spent considerable time and effort planning for the invasion and had mapped out several places where Noriega could potentially be hiding, the chief one being the house of a mistress. However, he wasn’t in any of them as he had been tipped off.  Now the U.S. military and the embassy […]