Upon joining the Foreign Service, most officers are immediately assigned to locations all over the world. Postings can vary from serving in a democratic country where the government runs efficiently, to a country where the government is struggling to maintain power, to even an active war zone. Wherever the assignment, foreign service officers must be prepared for anything. In this “Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History,” we see that James Leader joined the Foreign Service with the Labor Department in 1962 and embarked on an exciting career that sent him all over the world.
Leader’s first assignment was in Madras, India where he learned a number of skills that he would later use in his career. Like most officers, he started off as a consul where he was actively training to master a new language. However, when the code clerk got sick, he was tapped as the replacement and began a rotational assignment that exposed him to working in different parts of the embassy, such as the consular, commercial, and political sections where he learned the value of networking. After his two years in Madras, India he continued his career in London. Read more