Moments Posted in Spouses and children

This is an archive of Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History posted in the Spouses and children category.

Wives and Women in the Foreign Service: The Creation of the Family Liaison Office

A 1957 State Department publication of “Suggestions for Wives from Other Foreign Service Wives” introduced the idea that the main occupational role for wives was the support of their husbands. While never written into the formal regulations of the State Department, it was common practice for women employed in the Foreign Service to resign once […]



The Dominican Civil War of 1965

In the period immediately following the assassination of General Rafael Trujillo, known as “El Jefe,” the Dominican Republic was in shambles. The nation was under the control of a three-man junta which, with the help of the United States, was preparing for presidential elections. In 1963, Juan Emilio Bosch Gaviño was elected President of the […]



Reunited on Valentine’s Day

January 30th, 1968 marked the beginning of one of the most significant campaigns of the Vietnam War:  the Tet Offensive. Named for the traditional Vietnamese New Year, Tết Nguyên Đán, it was the day the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army forces launched their surprise attacks on military and civilian command-and-control centers throughout South Vietnam, […]



The Palmer Case and the Changing Role of Women in the Foreign Service

There have been a number of prominent women who have served in the State Department over the past century:  Francis Willis, the first female career Foreign Service Officer to become ambassador; Clare Booth Luce, a political appointee as Ambassador to Italy; Constance Ray Harvey, who was awarded the Medal of Freedom for her  work during World […]



Elinor Constable — “If you want me out of the Foreign Service, you have to fire me”

Elinor Constable had an illustrious career in the State Department from 1955 until 1993, serving not only as Ambassador to Kenya from 1986 to 1989 but also as the first woman Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Economic Bureau and as Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES). She […]



Escape from the Nazis via the Kindertransport

Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, November 9-10, 1938 — SA forces vandalize Jewish-owned stores and synagogues. Five days later, a delegation of British Jewish and Quaker leaders appeal in person to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and ask that the British government permit the temporary admission of unaccompanied Jewish children. The British Parliament acted swiftly and ultimately […]



Blessed — An Encounter with Mother Teresa

Born in Albania on August 26, 1910, Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, later known as Mother Teresa, devoted the majority of her life to serving India as a teacher, nurse, missionary and head of a major charitable organization. After joining the Sisters of Loreto as a young woman, Sister Teresa traveled to India and worked as a […]



Top Ten Things You Learn From a Hostage Situation

Sometimes it just ain’t easy working for the State Department. If you go through the lengthy history of the Foreign Service in the second half of the 20th Century, there are a surprising number of diplomats who have been held hostage. And while the situations and political context are very different, certain things do stand out. […]



Death of an FSO, As Remembered by His Widow

Dennis Keogh had been Political Counselor in South Africa from 1980-83 and made 25 trips to Namibia. In the spring of 1984, he agreed to serve for a month as head of the new U.S. Liaison Office (USLO) in Windhoek. In that troubled region, which South Africa had administered since World War I without a […]



Oliver Platt — Actor and Foreign Service Brat

Oliver Platt is a talented character actor who has appeared in major blockbusters (X-Men: First Class), critically acclaimed TV series (West Wing, The Big C, starring Laura Linney), Broadway musical (Guys and Dolls), a movie with Charlie Sheen (1993’s The Three Musketeers) and a range of biopics (Casanova, Kinsey, Frost/Nixon).  Oliver grew up in the […]