Search Results for mexico

Lessons Learned: USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and the 1985 Mexico City Earthquake

USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) is perhaps the world’s premier international disaster assistance agency.  It was not always that way. OFDA administrator Oliver “Ollie” Davidson knows this better than most. OFDA’s response to the devastating 1985 Mexico City earthquake was ernest and energetic, but not always well-targeted.  In his oral history, Davidson recalls […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
Getting Mexico to the NAFTA Negotiating Table

U.S. diplomats who helped lay the groundwork for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) first had to overcome entrenched Mexican skepticism.  The United States, Canada, and Mexico decided in mid-1990 to start negotiating a free trade agreement.  Discussions began in earnest early the following year.  By mid-1993 the parties were fine-turning a draft agreement. […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
The 1985 Mexico City Earthquake

On the morning of September 19, 1985, an 8.1-magnitude earthquake hit the western states of Mexico and including Mexico City.  Western Mexico is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes with the Pacific plate and Cocos plate moving against the North American plate actively.  As Mexico City is situated on an ancient lakebed plateau composed of mostly dirt […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Consular, Western Hemisphere Tagged , , , , |
Migrating with Iran’s Bakhtiari Tribe Before the Revolution: A Tale From the Foreign Service

Back when the United States had diplomatic missions in Iran, a young Foreign Service Officer  travelled with members of the nomadic Bakhtiari tribe to better understand their culture and politics.  Malcolm Butler recalls camping with the Bakhtiari at the time of the 1969 Apollo IX moon landing — and trying to convince his skeptical hosts […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
A Diplomat Recalls Escape From a Kidnapping in Uruguay

Kidnappings, particularly those of high-ranking political officials, were not uncommon in 1970s Uruguay given the prominence of an urban guerilla group called the Tupamaros. Mistaken as someone with great importance, junior diplomat Mark Gordon Jones was kidnapped by the group in 1970. In “one of the dumbest luck things that could ever happen,” Jones was […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
American Diplomats of Hispanic Descent

Ambassador Frank Almaguer Ambassador Frank Almaguer joined USAID in 1979. He served as the Ambassador to Honduras from 1999 to 2002. Read his full oral history HERE.     Ambassador Cresencio S. Arcos Jr Ambassador Crensencio S. Arcos Jr. joined the Foreign Service in 1973. He served as Ambassador to Honduras from 1989 to 1993.   […]

John D. Negroponte: A Diplomatic Life of Controversy and Consequence

John D. Negroponte joined the Foreign Service in 1960 and went on to serve as ambassador to Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines and Iraq.  He was also Director of National Intelligence and Deputy Secretary of State. Some excerpts:   On joining the Foreign Service . . . “I took the exam in my senior year, in December 1959. […]

Students & Teachers

Welcome! Explore our rich collection of primary sources by America’s diplomats that can inspire and support a variety of projects. Before diving directly into research, take time to familiarize yourself with what we do. “I had never thought of diplomats as a source until I met you. Thank you for opening my eyes to a […]

National History Day Resources

Welcome! Explore our rich collection of primary sources by America’s diplomats that can inspire and support a variety of projects. Before diving directly into research, take time to familiarize yourself with what we do. “I had never thought of diplomats as a source until I met you. Thank you for opening my eyes to a […]

The collapse of Zaire at the end of the First Congo War 1997

In the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, ethnic Hutu refugees — including génocidaires — who had crossed into East Zaire to escape persecution from the new Tutsi government carried out attacks against ethnic Tutsis from both Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Rwandan refugees. The Zairian government was unable to control the ethnic Hutu marauders, and indeed lent them some support as allies against the new, Tutsi-led Rwandan government.  In response, the Tutsis in Zaire joined a revolutionary coalition headed by Laurent-Désiré Kabila.  Kabila’s aim was to overthrow Zaire’s one-party authoritarian government run by Mobutu Sese Seko since 1965.  With Kabila’s forces on the march,  Zaire was soon engulfed in conflict.  These hostilities, which took place from 1996-1997, are known as the “First Congo War” and lead to the creation of Zaire’s successor state The Democratic Republic of Congo. The United States, who had supported Mobutu until the end of the Cold War, recognized how potentially dangerous the situation was as Kabila gained control of most of the country and advanced rapidly towards the capital city of Kinshasa. In 1997, the United States sent a small group of diplomats to broker negotiations and attempt to come to a peaceful agreement between Mobutu and Kabila.

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Africa, Post-Colonialism