Understanding the rules of protocol is essential to conducting diplomacy, as any diplomat would attest. Everything from knowing how to properly greet a foreign leader, understanding foreign customs, or having suitable seating arrangements at a state dinner plays an important role in the diplomatic process. The White House Chief of Protocol is responsible for advising the president, vice-president and the secretary on matters of national and diplomatic protocol as well as arranging the itineraries of visiting foreign dignitaries. It is an exceptional demanding job as she is usually one of the most visible diplomats in the country. Former Ambassador Molly Raiser served as President Clinton’s Chief of Protocol from 1993 to 1997.
These excerpts from her oral history describe her many colorful experiences, including security issues, the occasional need for a sharp elbow, the need for diplomatic immunity, and dealing with an indignant (and punctual) German leader. Read more