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American Diplomats

Back to Memoirs and Occasional Papers

American Diplomats: The Foreign Service at Work

“The authors of American Diplomats have drawn expertly on the ADST oral history collection to produce an outstanding introduction to America’s diplomacy and the extraordinarily varied roles our diplomats play in defending American interests around the globe.”

Samuel Lewis, past president of the U.S. Institute of Peace

Diplomats provide the first line of America’s defense as they formulate and implement our country’s foreign policy. Too often, the stories of their experiences and insights remain untold. In 2003 the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) created the Memoirs and Occasional Papers Series to preserve such firsthand accounts and other informed observations on foreign affairs. In American Diplomats, retired diplomats William D. Morgan and Charles Stuart Kennedy have selected from ADST’s Foreign Affairs Oral History archives forty accounts of diplomats’ experiences in the years from 1920 to1997. Insiders recount, for example, what happens when a consul spies on Nazi Germany, Mao-Tse-Tung drops by for a chat, the Cold War begins with the Berlin blockade, the Marshall Plan rescues Europe, Sukarno moves Indonesia into the communist camp, Khrushchev calls Kennedy an SOB, and our ambassador is murdered in Kabul. The editors have set each episode in its historical context.

“You are there” accounts deepen readers’ understanding, as diplomatic and consular officers talk about predicting a coup in Ecuador, the beginnings of Kremlinology, the first woman US commercial officer in Latin America, Hemingway and the embassy in Havana, the secret formulation of the NATO treaty, Jerusalem after British and U.S. recognition of Israel, a house arrest in Mukden, China, fighting in the Congo over Katangan secession, dealing with an alcoholic foreign president, human rights work in Paraguay, the U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran, Greece and Turkey at odds over an island, the U.S. Embassy bombing in Beirut, the breakup of Yugoslavia, embassy roles in Riyadh and Tel Aviv during Desert Storm, and much more. Those whose oral histories are excerpted in the book are:

Theodore C. Achilles, Aldene Alice Barrington, Maurice Bernbaum, William A. Brown, John H. Burns, Richard Butrick, Frank C. Carlucci III, Elinor Constable, William R. Crawford, Robert S. Dillon, Thomas J. Dunnigan, Eldon E. B. Erickson, Charles W. Freeman Jr., Charles Anthony Gillespie Jr., Marshall Green, Parker T. Hart, Constance R. Harvey, Edward Hurwitz, Kempton B. Jenkins, C. William Kontos, George W. Landau, L. Bruce Laingen, LaRue R. Lutkins, Douglas MacArthur II, Michael M. Mahoney, Robert J. Martens, James McCargar, Francis Terry McNamara, John Melby, Thomas N. T. Niles, Claiborne Pell, Robert Rackmales, John Stewart Service, Wells Stabler, Richard S. Thompson, Nicholas L. Veliotes, William Watts, E. Allan Wendt