Moments Posted in Women and Minority FSOs

This is an archive of Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History posted in the Women and Minority FSOs category.

Rehabilitating Former Child Soldiers in Mozambique

Mozambique in the 1980s was a country in the midst of a bloody civil war, when at least 100,000 people were slaughtered in the span of ten years. Both sides, FRELIMO, the National Front for the Liberation of Mozambique, and RENAMO, Mozambique National Resistance, used child soldiers. These children, as well as other children who […]

Johnny Young – From Abject Poverty to Chief of Mission

Johnny Young, who served in the Foreign Service from 1967 to 2005, was born into abject poverty in the Deep South. His family moved North in search of a better life, only to discover that the problems of racial inequality and prejudice were not much better. As a student in high school he was dissuaded […]

A Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore– And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over– like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.                 […]

Re-establishing Ties with Cuba, 1977

“Cuba ought to be free and independent, and the government should be turned over to the Cuban people.” That in many ways summarizes decades of U.S. policy towards its island neighbor. However, the quote is not by John F. Kennedy or George W. Bush, but rather by President William McKinley — which demonstrates rather clearly that […]

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 […]


Diplomats by training, if not by disposition, are calm, level-headed types. They may be called on to deliver a harsh message about your human rights situation or those tanks amassing on the border but will do so in a polished, genteel manner. “A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in […]

Chile’s 1988 Plebiscite and the End of Pinochet’s Dictatorship

The 1970s and 1980s were a long, dark time for Chile. The September 11, 1973 coup against Socialist president Salvador Allende led to the brutal dictatorship under Commander-in-Chief Augusto Pinochet, who immediately began to round up thousands of opponents in stadiums and elsewhere and have them killed. In 1980, a new constitution was approved, which […]

Clifton Wharton — Diplomat and Pioneer

Clifton Reginald Wharton, Sr. was the first African-American Foreign Service Officer to rise to the rank of ambassador without a political appointment.  In four decades as a career Foreign Service Officer, Wharton held positions in various posts worldwide including in Liberia, the Canary Islands, Madagascar, Portugal, France, Romania, and Norway. With the introduction of the […]

ADST is On the Air!

(From Left to Right): The U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, after a bomb attack in 1983; Marine Corps Sgt. Clayton Lonetree, convicted of espionage in 1987; hostages freed from Iran arrive in West Germany in 1981. (Photo Credits: Associated Press) Return to Inside Foggy Bottom Go to Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History It happened to […]