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An Espionage Caper in Ghana; Helping Americans Escape Rwanda — Scenes From a Diplomatic Life

Arlene Render’s career took her from a segregated neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, to three ambassadorships and a lifetime of diplomatic accomplishment, particularly in Africa.  Her experiences included cleaning up after a messy espionage affaire in Ghana and helping ensure that safe evacuation of American citizens from the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.  Ambassador Render attended West […]

Come Spy with Me: Cold War Espionage Against China

Intelligence services spend a great deal of time trying to recruit new assets, spies who have access to sensitive information and who are willing to provide that intel for ideological or financial reasons. Foreign diplomats often make for attractive targets, especially during the Cold War. Stephen Dachi, who was Public Affairs Officer in Hungary from […]

Diplomacy as an Instrument of Statecraft: A Practicum

   Diplomacy as an Instrument of Statecraft: A Practicum Remarks to the Washington International Diplomatic Academy   Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. (USFS, Ret.) Senior Fellow, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University By video link from Washington, DC, 10 January 2022   I’d like to thank the Washington International Diplomatic Academy for […]

First Assignment—Thailand During the Vietnam War

Harlan Lee first became a foreign service officer in 1968 during the Vietnam War, and he was immediately dispatched to an active hotspot. Knowing he would be sent to Southeast Asia, Lee prepared himself for his first position as vice consul in Udorn, Thailand. Like many foreign service officers on their first assignment, he had […]

Building Trust and Supporting Human Rights in Apartheid South Africa

In 1988, a formidable coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans passed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act (CAA) over President Reagan’s veto. Months later, USAID sent Timothy Bork to South Africa to implement this highly controversial legislation. During Bork’s tour, Nelson Mandela and other leaders remained imprisoned as violent confrontations erupted in townships across South Africa. At […]

Cold War Cover Stories: The U-2 Incident

On May 1, 1960, at the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union brought down an American U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers.  The U.S. government’s first reaction was to construct a believable cover story to conceal its program of high-altitude surveillance missions over the Soviet Union. Powers began his flight from […]