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A Long Way from Runnemede

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A Long Way from Runnemede: One Woman’s Foreign Service Journey

This memoir of Theresa Tull’s thirty-three-year career as a twentieth-century diplomat begins with recollections of her childhood during the Second World War in the small town of Runnemede, New Jersey, and culminates with her two ambassadorial appointments. Her first overseas assignment as a Foreign Service officer, at Embassy Brussels, was followed by a year of Vietnamese language training. Her FSO career took her to Saigon just in time for the Tet Offensive of 1968. In September 1970 she returned to Washington to work on internal Vietnamese politics in the Vietnam Working Group. In August 1973 she returned to Vietnam as deputy principal officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Da Nang, where she remained until the fall of South Vietnam in April 1975, when she organized and oversaw the consulate’s evacuation.

Other assignments included the Intelligence and Research Bureau, consul in Cebu, the Philippines, the National War College, office director in the Human Rights Bureau, the Senior Seminar, diplomat-in-residence at Lincoln University, and director, Office of Regional Affairs, East Asia and Pacific Bureau. As chargé d’affaires in Laos in 1983, she negotiated and oversaw the first joint crash-site excavation to seek the remains of missing U.S. servicemen. In 1987 President Reagan appointed her ambassador to Guyana, and in 1993 President Clinton named her his ambassador to Brunei.

The book includes stories of Tull’s early life and education. It tracks her father’s death, her initial education, post–high school employment, and early college education. In 1963, without a college degree and after successfully passing the rigorous entrance examinations, Terry Tull entered the U.S. Foreign Service. She later received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, and in 1973 earned a master’s degree in Southeast Asian Studies from the University of Michigan.