FSJ Special Collections

Categories

Africa

  • Escape from Mogadishu by James K. Bishop
    March 1991
    An ambassador recalls the harrowing experience of evacuating from Mogadishu as the Somali city experienced a violent uprising.

Asia

  • The Service’s Only Samurai by George P. Waller
    December 1922
    Watari Ebiharah served the American consulate in Kobe, Japan for 39 years, but earlier in life he served a liege lord as a samurai in the waning days of feudal Japan.
  • Jesuit Technical Assistance to the Emperor of China by Martin F. Herz
    February 1958
    For many years Jesuits cultivated diplomatic and scientific relationships with Imperial China to enable cultural exchange and missionary work.

China

  • The Line Forms to the Left by Earl J. Wilson
    March 1950
    In this case history of Shanghai, find a step-by-step account of how the Iron Curtain is systematically drawn tight around a city and how, with each step, its people are more helplessly enmeshed by their own liberation.
  • American Foreign Policy and China by James Ramsey
    October 1966
    As the United States now finds itself engaged in Asian areas where it possessed only marginal interests before, what will happen when the Chinese are strong enough to force a solution on their own terms?
  • The Future Between America and China by William Stokes
    January 1968
    No one can foresee what will follow the Maoist interregnum that clings to uncertain power, yet important clues about underlying attitudes toward the United States can occasionally be discerned.
  • The U.S., China and the UN by Jonathan Bingham
    February 1972
    With China now in the United Nations—and Taiwan out—where do we go from here, so far as our relations are concerned?
  • The Succession to Mao Tse-tung by Robert Rinden
    February 1972
    One solution to the transfer-of-power problem is for the incumbent leader-with-charisma to choose and anoint his heir.
  • The Chou Demarche by Edwin Martin
    November 1981
    New evidence suggests that the secret 1949 message purportedly from Chou Enlai to Western leaders was not actually an opportunity for rapprochement.
  • Why Most Favored Nation Won in China by Anne Stevenson-Yang
    November 1994
    The U.S.-China business bloc wields considerable power that is felt in Washington policymaking.
  • A City Facing Turmoil
    March 1997
    As Hong Kong’s handover nears, policy conflicts loom between China, the United States and the U.K.
  • A City Built on Prosperity by Ross H. Munro
    March 1997
    A successful “formula” for Hong Kong—U.S. capitalism wed to U.K. rule of law.
  • A City Bullish on Itself by Dan Kubiske
    March 1997
    As funds flow back into Hong Kong, the future for business is predicted to be robust.
  • A City Rises in Asia by Jose Armilla
    March 1997
    With the transport of opium dominating early U.S.-U.K. ties, now Hong Kong is a rising city.
  • China’s Economic Growth: Source of Disorder? by Robert Wang
    May 2005
    Beijing’s rapid rise has raised concerns about the economic ramifications for the status-quo powers in Asia—and the global community overall.
  • Congressional Pressures and U.S.-China Policy by Robert Sutter
    May 2005
    As the Bush administration seeks to manage Sino-American relations, it would be wise to keep in mind congressional sensitivities.
  • China’s New Diplomacy in Asia by David Shambaugh
    May 2005
    A proactive PRC is transforming international relations throughout Asia. Here is a look at the four pillars of Beijing’s new regional posture.
  • Deepening Sino-American Ties At the Grass Roots by Carol Lee Hamrin
    May 2005
    Improvements in China’s human rights record will not come overnight from the top down, but they will develop gradually through social activism.
  • Four Decades After the Opening to China: An Interview With Henry Kissinger
    September 2012
    The former Secretary of State shares his thoughts on the state of U.S.-China relations and the importance of diplomacy.
  • Human Rights, China And 21st-Century Diplomacy by Michael R. Posner
    September 2012
    Developments in China offer new opportunities to reframe our approach to bilateral discussions of human rights.
  • The 100,000-Strong Initiative by Stanton Jue
    September 2012
    After just three years, this people-to-people program is already bringing the United States and China closer together.

Development & Aid

  • AID’s First Year by Frank M. Coffin
    January 1963
    The first Deputy Administrator of USAID discusses standing up the new agency, its goals and where progress is already being made.

Diplomatic Security

Dissent

  • Morality and Foreign Affairs by Howard Trivers
    September 1956
    The U.S. must strike a tenuous balance between idealist aspirations and realist groundings as it aims to make foreign policy that is both pragmatic and progressive.
  • Daring and Dissent by FSJ Editorial Pages
    April 1961
    The Foreign Service has special reason to be thankful for President Kennedy’s statement, in his State of the Union message, that the new Administration “recognizes the value of daring and dissent” among public servants.
  • An Open Letter to Edward K. Murrow: What Makes A Man Believe? by Gillespie Evans
    August 1963
    The self-administered brain-washing I had achieved in two decades of work within USIA had been rinsed out and bleached by two years in the blue water and sun of Hawaii. Heretical questions, dormant for years, had reasserted themselves.
  • On Dissent by William E. Knight
    December 1964
    In truth the Service has never made up its collective mind about the proper role of dissent and open discussion. We are schizoid on the question.
  • The Dilemma of Dissent by Ted Olson
    June 1966
    The decision to stay on, even while dissenting, can be a perfectly honorable one. But it carries with it the obligation to go on fighting, to reiterate one’s dissent at every opportunity, as stoutly and persuasively as one can.
  • On Dissent by FSJ Editorial Pages
    June 1970
    That problem still before us – as it is also before so many different institutions in our society – is that of defining the nature of openness, the means of insuring candor, and the character of useful dissent.
  • The Question of Foreign Service Resignations by Dino J. Caterini
    July 1970
    The debate on whether FSOs should resign when serving policies they cannot accept centers on how the department’s culture handles dissenting views, professional conformity and the balance between policy implementation and formulation.
  • Another Approach to Dissent by James R. Bullington
    September 1970
    It is now up to the officers of INR to make “Viewpoint: A Working Paper” into the flourishing mechanism for expressing thoughtful dissent and creative new analysis, which it is intended to be.
  • Unlimdis by Donald S. Spigler
    January 1972
    Any reporting of dissent was to be marked “Limdis” because leaks could “give us problems” with the Congress and the public.
  • Dissent, Disloyalty, and Foreign Service Finkism by William R. Lenderking
    May 1974
    Although there are frequent assurances that “responsible” dissent is encouraged in the Foreign Service, the impression conveyed to many of those who at some time in their careers consider swimming against the policy tide is often quite different.
  • More on Dissent and Loyalty by Martin F. Herz
    February 1975
    If we ever get to the point where the idea is accepted that “resistance” to the policy of the President of the United States is somehow all right in special circumstances, then we can kiss goodbye any hopes of obtaining the status that should be right be enjoyed by the Foreign Service of the United States.
  • Deep Throat or the Ethics of Discretion by Raymond F. Smith
    May 1975
    There are alternatives within the system to doing nothing, anonymous leaks, or resignation. The parameters of what is generally considered acceptable dissent have expanded in the Foreign Service.
  • Pike-Middle Grade-Policy Dissent and Denouement by AFSA News
    December 1975
    The Committee ceased trying to get Mr. Boyatt and others to testify against the orders of the Secretary, but did vote to subpoena his dissent memorandum.
  • To Support and Defend the Constitution by Thomas D. Boyatt
    November 1976
    Knowledge of real Congressional oversight will encourage working-level officers to express dissenting views because such views will necessarily be taken more seriously and will be more likely to influence policy.
  • On Public Dissent by Martin F. Herz
    April 1981
    Another thing that may be noted in connection with the White Case is that while every Foreign Service officer should be (and is) free to dissent through appropriate channels, public dissent is another matter.
  • The Decline of Dissent by Kai Bird
    February 1985
    Decreasing use of the dissent channel is symptomatic of an atmosphere in which nonconformist views are unwelcome and ignored.
  • Dissent and Policy: A Desire for Openness by Frances G. Burwell
    April 1987
    A survey on Foreign Service attitudes toward dissent has revealed a widespread desire for a decision-making environment more tolerant of the exchange of ideas.
  • Memorandum for Mr. Henderson by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles
    October 1992
    In the following memorandum, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles proposed to Deputy Under Secretary of State for Management Loy Henderson an early forerunner of the dissent channel.
  • On Dissent: My Resignation from the Foreign Service by George Kenney
    October 1992
    The question almost every interviewer asks is: why did you resign instead of staying within the system and pressing your case for change there? That captures the essence of a decision to resign over policy. Will the resignation matter?
  • Loyalty and Dissent: The Foreign Service and the War in Southeast Asia by Daniel A. Strasser
    December 1992
    The war in Southeast Asia did elicit significant internal dissent. This is the story of what happened to eight officers in my Foreign Service class, myself included, who were assigned to Vietnam.
  • The Agony of Dissent by George Kenney, Marshall Harris and Stephen Walker
    November 1993
    In past months, State Department employees have resigned from the Foreign Service and challenges the administration’s policy in Bosnia.
  • When Personal Ethics Conflict with U.S. Policy by Roger Morris
    December 1994
    An ex-FSO reflects on 1970 resignation from White House Over Vietnam Strategy.
  • Just Say No: The Dissent Channel by Liz Allan
    December 1994
    Despite its intention, the Dissent Channel has not been a popular forum with employees. In the 20 years between 1971 and 1991, only 200 people have used the channel, which a record number of 30 in 1977.
  • Dissent in Dublin by Richard Gilbert
    July 1996
    Looking back, some might see the event as simple and uncomplicated – just another visa to be adjudicated. Yet it was not, and it sparked one of the most public and controversial FSO dissent cases in recent times.
  • Dissent on Cuba by Karen Krebsbach
    July 1996
    If ever an FSO could choose a career path after dissent against U.S. policy, he’d probably choose the direction followed by Dennis Hays.
  • Dissent in the Foreign Service by Hume Horan
    July 1996
    Dissent is to the Foreign Service what canaries were to coal miners. Dissent lets Foreign Service employees know how breathable the air is where they work.
  • The Foreign Service Tradition of Dissent and Service by Dan Geisler
    June 1999
    For more than 30 years, AFSA has supported constructive dissent in the Foreign Service. We don’t see dissent as an option; it is a professional obligation.
  • Advise and Dissent: The Diplomat As Protester by David T. Jones,
    April 2000
    Protests by Foreign Service officers may not have ended the Vietnam War, but they did lead to the creation of the Open Forum and the Dissent Channel. David T. Jones explains how the State Department was forced to learn that it had to listen to widespread policy dissent if it wanted to maintain a strong diplomatic corps (266, mostly junior, officers resigned from the Foreign Service in 1968 alone).
  • Why We Support Constructive Dissent by Marshall P. Adair
    June 2000
    Constructive dissent is a hallmark of our American Foreign Service, and increasingly accepted as part of the policy process. AFSA is honored to serve this nation by recognizing those who have fulfilled this most unusual and important responsibility.
  • Is There Life After Dissent? By David T. Jones
    June 2002
    AFSA instituted its first dissent awards in 1968 and expanded on them through the years. What has happened to the first generation of winners, and what is the future of the program?
  • The Limits of Dissent by David T. Jones
    December 2002
    An institution, State has expended much effort professing to believe that the Foreign Service is a cadre of professionals who value and respect discordant views. And indeed we are – until the discord gets too disturbing.
  • Dissent Again by David T. Jones
    June 2003
    Although each FSO proffered individual reasons for the decision, in essence each disagreed with our policy of direct military confrontation toward Iraq and left the State Department with public blasts for our objectives and dire predictions about the political consequences.
  • Why I Resigned by John Brown
    September 2003
    First, I believed that President George W. Bush had failed to present a convincing case to Americans and the world that massive force should be used against Iraq at this time. Second, I felt an obligation as an American to speak out against this presidential failure to justify a questionable policy.
  • Why Dissent is Important and Resignation Honorable by Ann Wright
    September 2003
    While the decision to undertake military operations in Iraq without United Nations Security Council authority was the trigger for my resignation, I also had concerns about many other policies of the administration.
  • 2004: Year of the Dissident by John Limbert
    January 2004
    Recognizing dissenters is never easy. Doing so may mean swallowing our pride and admitting we were wrong about an issue. None of the above will come easily in a Foreign Service that values collegiality and consensus.
  • On Dissent and Disloyalty by Steve Kashkett
    December 2005
    Use of the Department of State’s official Dissent Channel has dwindled to a trickle since its heyday in the 1970s.
  • Prisoners of Conscience by Steve Kashkett
    May 2007
    I would respectfully suggest that true patriotism is something broader than loyalty to one administration’s policies, and that honorable conscientious people in the Foreign Service may well feel they are being patriotic by expressing dissent or choosing to avoid working on certain issues.
  • Constructive Dissent by John Naland
    June 2009
    Before attending his first AFSA awards ceremony, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger asked AFSA President Tom Boyatt what the constructive dissent awards were all about. After being told, Kissinger gave a knowing smile and asked, “You mean I am giving awards to people who disagreed with me?”
  • Making Dissent Meaningful Again by Susan Johnson
    February 2010
    It is time for our career Foreign Service to rise again to the challenge of generating high-quality, thoughtful, constructive dissent, with the goal of contributing to more successful U.S. foreign policy and fewer policy failures.
  • Dissent in the Kissinger Era by Hannah Gurman
    July-August 2011
    When the president announced his decision to invade Cambodia in April 1970, 20 Foreign Service officers sent a letter to Secretary of State William Rogers condemning the invasion. It was the largest collective protest in the department to date.
  • Celebrating Intellectual Courage: AFSA’s Dissent Awards by John Limbert
    July-August 2012
    Together the four AFSA constructive dissent awards constitute a program unique within the federal government, one that celebrates the courage and integrity of Foreign Service personnel at all levels who have challenged the system from within.
  • Some Thoughts on Dissent by John H. Brown
    July-August 2013
    John H. Brown argues that all government employees should be free to speak their minds as openly as possible, but the term “national security” is being wielded by many senior officials to prevent them from doing so. Brown resigned from the Foreign Service in 2003, after 22 years of service, in protest of the Iraq War.
  • The Role of Dissent: In National Security, Law and Conscience by Ann Wright
    July-August 2013
    Ann Wright, who resigned from the Foreign Service in protest of the Iraq War, revisits her decision and reflects on its ethical implications. She wrestles with questions such as, “How should public servants go about challenging ill-considered policies?” and “Can one continue working for a government carrying out policies one believes constitute moral, ethical or legal failures?
  • AFSA Constructive Dissent Award Winners: Where Are They Now? by Shawn Dorman
    September 2013
    Eight Foreign Service members honored for dissent over the past 20 years discuss the impact of their decision to voice their opinion on their careers and on U.S. policy.
  • Integrity and Openness: Requirements for an Effective Foreign Service by Kenneth M. Quinn
    September 2014
    Kenneth Quinn, three-time AFSA dissent award recipient, describes how his honesty and candor were often met with resistance and may have cost him some jobs during his 32-year Foreign Service career. But it ultimately allowed him to be proud of his role in our diplomatic corps. He considers constructive dissent not just an option but a responsibility, and encourages senior officials to treasure different viewpoints rather than silence them.
  • Deconstructing Dissent by Amelia Shaw
    September 2015
    Amelia Shaw, the 2015 W. Averell Harriman Award recipient, argues that dissent is about integrity and speaking up about the things that matter, regardless of what you think about the possibility for change. Ms. Shaw received the award for her initiative and intellectual courage in fighting for equal legal rights and protections for unmarried women living along the U.S.-Mexico border, who face many obstacles in transmitting their American citizenship to children born in Mexico.

Economic Diplomacy and Trade

  • The Trade Policy Crisis by Willis C. Armstrong
    November 1971
    As the U.S. employs protectionist means it hampers fundamental tenets of the global economic order it has strived to integrate.
  • What Is Economic Diplomacy and How Does It Work? by Tony Wayne
    January-February 2019
    The U.S. Foreign Service is at the forefront of crafting policy and carrying out economic diplomacy to advance the strategic and security interests of the United States.
  • Economic Officers for the Future by Charles Ries
    January-February 2019
    New appreciation for the centrality of economics in foreign policy makes it an ideal time to throw light on the making of an economic officer.
  • Six Elements of Effective Economic/Commercial Diplomacy by Shaun Donnelly and Daniel Crocker
    January-February 2019
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made commercial diplomacy a foreign policy priority. Here’s how to get it right.
  • From Guitars to Gold: The Fruits of Economic Diplomacy
    January-February 2019
    This selection of first-person accounts showcases the work members of the Foreign Service do around the world every day to promote U.S. business.

Europe

  • Jefferson’s NATO by Carl Charlick
    July 1954
    Thomas Jefferson had his own challenging experiences in organizing a coalition of states to deal with a common threat.
  • The USRO and American Foreign Policy by Staff Members of the USRO
    February 1955
    The USRO coordinated and navigated the surge in diplomatic activity in the early years of the NATO alliance.
  • Europe’s Stride Towards Unity: Accents Need for U. S. to Maintain Liberal Trade Policy by Guy Wiggins
    January 1958
    In the immediate post-war period six European nations sought to closely coordinate their economic activity and break down the barriers between them.
  • European Defense: A Return to Brussels by Colin Gordon
    November 1971
    European nations have often struggled to harmonize economic integration with defense integration.
  • The Atlantic Alliance by Charles R. Foster and Richard Albright
    June 1981
    New administrations have often taken office with hopes to reinvigorate NATO, but alliance politics guarantee challenges to any reform-minded agenda.
  • The European Question by Robert K. Olson
    November 1982
    The fate of Europe has been a central concern of the United States for decades, and the extent to which common interest dictates trans-Atlantic unity is debatable.

Foreign Service Career

  • Impressions of the “Outside Man” on the Junior Foreign Service Selection Board for 1947 by G.W. Magalhaes
    June 1947
    The first thing that an “outsider’ realizes when he is invited to help out on the selection of Foreign Service officers for promotion is the fact that he personally does not know the officers who he is to rate, but has to depend entirely upon the particular officer’s record or “dossier.”
  • An Outsider Looks at the Foreign Service by James S. Thompson
    March 1953
    As I read the files, I was frankly impressed with the number of officers of high quality, their devotion and loyalty, their sense of responsibility and their tremendous capacity for work.
  • The New Foreign Service: Problems of Placement by Edward W. Mulcahy
    August 1954
    The “ready interchangeability of personnel” called for in the Report can flourish or it can founder on the shoal of placement.
  • RIF and Return by Melville E. Blake, Jr.
    September 1954
    When Circular Airgram 1400, which ominously began “The Department must reduce staff during the current fiscal year…” I scanned it and, deciding it did not apply to me, promptly threw it in my out basket…I should have known that something was amiss, but I did not.
  • The New Foreign Service PT II: Selection Boards During Integration by George H. Butler
    September 1954
    The success of the integration program will depend upon the efficiency and fairness with which it is carried out….This would make possible the clear basic decisions that are to govern the administration of integration and the new Foreign Service.
  • A Public Member Looks at the Selection Boards by Herbert Bratter
    March 1956
    If I were a young man starting my career I should have no hesitancy in joining the State Department’s foreign service corps…I know from what I have seen during my work on the selection board, that to rise in the Service one need not have an independent fortune or belong to the alumni of some particular university.
  • Junior Officers and the New Amendments by Frederic L. Chapin
    November 1956
    The value of these amendments to the Foreign Service is self-evident, and Ambassador Loy Henderson will always be gratefully remembered for the important part he played in persuading Congress to enact them. But there are other amendments which are however a cause of concern to junior officers.
  • Are Efficiency Reports Lousy? by Theodore C. Achilles
    July 1957
    Anyone who has served on a Selection Board may shudder at the thought of the efficiency reports he himself has written in the past. I certainly do and, as of now, I’m a reformed drunk with a bad hangover.
  • Letter to an FSO To Be by Martin Herz
    September 1958
    …I must offer my sympathy to you on the inevitable, long and unpleasant period of waiting for your appointment as an FSO. Since you asked for advice on how to spend that waiting period, I hope you won’t mind too much if I say some pretty obvious things in addition to some unexpected ones.
  • An Inside Look at a Selection Board by Jack K. McFall
    September 1958
    Sometime ago a colleague observed to me “I hope that someday someone will write, for The Foreign Service Journal, an article to end all articles on the subject of Selection Boards.” This is not that article. It is hoped that the following recital of the modus operandi of Selection Boards will serve to expand the horizons of our colleagues and their understanding of this process of administering the Foreign Service.
  • Efficiency Reports by Ridgway B. Knight
    June 1960
    Now that several years have elapsed since the adoption of the present system of preparing efficiency ratings, the time may have come for reviewing its provisions which assure to the rated officer access to the entire report.
  • Basic Questions on the Writing of Efficiency Reports by Arthur A. Ageton and Everett K. Melby
    December 1960
    Certainly some of us have failed to accept and exercise our responsibility with regard to efficiency reports. Deep-seated personality difficulties of an officer and faults of a wife or other family member are most difficult to discuss. But a senior office must have the moral courage to include such discussion in his remarks and indicate to the officer where lies his trouble.
  • The Foreign Service Assignment Process by John Ordway
    June 1963
    The average Foreign Service officer has a very hazy idea about how the assignment process works. It is hoped that the following paragraphs might serve to explain the mysteries of assignment with particular emphasis on the mechanics of the process.
  • Margin for the Maturing Process by Frederic L. Chapin
    March 1967
    This means that the concerns of the junior officer can be addressed only in the context of the Service as a whole; the junior officers have made it clear that they see it the same way. What follows is an effort to put the question of junior officer advancement in that larger context.
  • Members with a Difference by John O. Grimes
    May 1985
    The Foreign Service Act, which recognizes FSNs as full members of the Service but characterizes them as “clerical, administrative, technical, and support personnel,” does not adequately convey the quality of their contribution.
  • Improvements Are Being Made in FSN Administration by Ernest C. Ruehle
    June 1985
    Thank you, Mr. Grimes, for giving us an opportunity to talk about the direction in which we’re going. As director of the Office of Foreign Service National Personnel, I would like to comment on what we have been doing recently.
  • On the Education of Diplomats – A Commentary by Paul M. Kattenburg
    April 1971
    We can start by observing that attorneys become such upon completing law school, doctors upon completing medical school, and so on and so forth. But diplomats do not as a general rule prepare in “diplomacy.”
  • Talking to Mr. Syplogoo by Michael A.G. Michaud
    September 1986
    You will look at bids, staffing patterns, check position numbers, personnel audit reports, negotiate with colleagues, and take heat from bureau directors. You will feel removed from the policy mainstream and resented by other bureaus. Yet what you do has a very real impact on the lives of colleagues and on the effectiveness of U.S. diplomacy.
  • Smarter Recruiting: A Short-Timer’s View by Emi Lynn Yamauchi
    January 2001
    Recruiting for Human Resources was a wonderful experience. It was rejuvenating and reinvigorating to meet so many people on university campuses who could contribute a great deal to the Foreign Service. For many we are their first choice for a career. We should do better at deserving that honor.
  • Who Is the “Total Candidate?” FSO Hiring Today by Shawn Dorman
    June 2008
    By government standards, the changes to the Foreign Service generalist entry process have been made at warp speed. To understand the changes being implemented, the Journal spoke with officials in the Bureau of Human Resources, the Office of Recruitment, Examination and Employment, and the Board of Examiners.
  • “The Movement to Empower Locally Engaged Staff” by Michael Bricker
    June 2008
    At first glance, the idea does indeed provide a cozy feeling that fits with our egalitarian tradition. But in fact if we move ahead with Locally Engaged Staff empowerment, we may need to have plenty of fire trucks standing by.
  • EERs: The Forgotten Front in the War for Talent by Jonathan Fritz
    June 2009
    The Employee Evaluation Reports we spend so much time writing every year fail to give promotion panels a useful means for comparing officers to their peers. The result is promotions that are far more random that they should be.
  • Overhauling the EER Process by Tyler Sparks
    September 2012
    Now that another Employee Evaluation Review season has mercifully come to a close, it seems clearer than ever that our personnel evaluation system is broken. It wastes a staggering amount of time each year, effectively shutting down offices, embassies and consulates for weeks as Foreign Service officers scurry to get their reviews just right – only to produce inflated, subjective and non-quantitative evaluations that are of dubious value to promotion panels.
  • “Up or Out” is Harming American Foreign Policy by George B. Lambrakis
    September 2014
    The “up or out” system for career advancement in the Foreign Service was introduced as an improvement in the Foreign Service Act of 1980, but it has instead damaged the Service. It should be repealed.
  • The New Specialists by Francesca Kelly
    October 2014
    Here is a look at the wide world of Foreign Service Specialists. We explore who they are, the many critical things they do, and how their work has evolved with our changing times.
  • Specialists Reflect on Their Work by Collected Authors
    October 2014
    The Journal invited AFSA members who are specialists to share stories and thoughts on their own experience in a particular specialty or the career track generally. Here is a selection of the responses we received.
  • What Specialists Want You To Know by Collected Authors
    October 2014
    Specialists share their perspectives on working in their particular specialty and how they see their role in the Foreign Service.
  • The State Department Needs to Reevaluate Its Use of 360-Degree Reviews by William Bent
    September 2015
    If used correctly, 360-degree reviews can be a valuable tool for an organization seeking to develop its workforce and foster a culture of leadership and management excellence. The increasing use of 360s in organizations, including the State Department, stems from the recognition that a performance appraisal alone does not give a full picture of an employee’s effectiveness and potential.
  • George Kennan on Diplomacy As a Profession by George Kennan
    July-August 2015
    In 1961, the legendary diplomat talked with his colleagues at AFSA about the profession of diplomacy.
  • FS Personnel Evaluation, 1925-1955: A Unique View by Nicholas J. Willis
    March 2016
    The evolution of personnel evaluations at State is reflected in the dossier of Frances Elizabeth Willis, the first woman to make a career of the Foreign Service.
  • Examining State’s Foreign Service Officer Hiring Today by Glenn H. Guimond
    July-August 2016
    Here's an inside look at the process of becoming a Foreign Service officer, considered the “gold standard” in professional recruitment.
  • High Hopes and Mixed Feelings – Reflections of a Consulate Intern
    July/August 2016
    In my case, despite an immensely welcoming staff, I felt unfulfilled—both as an intern and as a consulate contributor.
  • A Roadmap for New Hires: 30 Rules to Survive and Thrive by Stephen G. McFarland
    July-August 2016
    An experienced FSO ambassador identifies the unique attributes Foreign Service personnel should have and offers a guide to acquiring and perfecting them.
  • Reforming Entry-Level Assignments by Andrew Kelly
    July-August 2016
    The consequences of officers never serving in their assigned cone at the entry level are real, both for individual officers seeking to learn their craft and for the overall health of a Service that depends on well-rounded generalists.
  • In Pursuit of Transparency in Assignment Restriction Policies by Christina T. Le and Thomas T. Wong
    September 2017
    Lack of fairness and transparency in the assignment restrictions process undercuts both employees and the State Department. Asian-American employees took it on.
  • Who is the Future of the Foreign Service by Barbara Bodine
    September 2018
    Career public servants at all levels and specialties make diplomacy work. How do we find them, keep them, grow them?
  • Advocating for Foreign Service Nationals by Safia AL-Saad
    December 2018
    I can still remember writing my campaign paragraph asking FSNs around the world to elect me to USAID’s FSN Advocacy Council. My work experience prepared me for articulating FSNs’ wants and desires with respect to enhancing their future career paths and livelihoods.
  • A Worldwide FSN Association at State: Advancing a Practical Dream by Eddy Olislaeger
    December 2018
    Locally Employed staff of the U.S. Department of State—also known as Foreign Service Nationals, deserve to have a professional organization of their own, one that represents them within the department. Yet, unlike the two other main groups of employees, LE staff have no organization to represent them, to safeguard their interests, and to promote excellence and professionalism among their ranks.
  • What Local Staff Want You to Know by Collected Authors
    December 2018
    Locally employed staff around the world offer their perspectives on working for U.S. missions.
  • Economic Officers for the Future by Charles Ries
    January-February 2019
    New appreciation for the centrality of economics in foreign policy makes it an ideal time to throw light on the making of an economic officer.
  • Improving the Economic Career Track by Virginia Bennett
    January-February 2019
    …the economic officers whose files we read were having a hard time documenting the potential to serve successfully at a more senior level. As an economic-coned officer, I found this perplexing and troubling.
  • Straight Talk on Bidding: What You Need to Know Before Trying for that Heavily Bid Job by Paul Poletes
    April 2019
    Most of the time, bidders’ hopes are misplaced. For many, their dreams of working in Rome or Singapore are doomed even before bidding season begins, a victim of unrealistic expectations and not understanding how assignment decisions are made. Think you’ve got what it takes to land one of those “dream jobs”? Here’s what you need to know.

Foreign Service Families

  • Our Foreign Service Wives by Frances Hull
    April 1934
    An appreciation of Foreign Service wives, whose support makes their husband’s jobs easier overseas.
  • On Repatriation of a Foreign Service Wife by Charlottle Littell
    December 1952
    A Foreign Service spouse discusses the problems of returning to the United States after serving abroad with her husband.
  • Wriston Report: The Feminine View by Alice Raine
    May 1955
    Following the Wriston Report, many Civil Service wives did not want their husbands to join the Foreign Service. The author asks, “can Foreign Service wives reassure them”?
  • A Service Teenager Reflects by Don Emmerson
    November 1955
    A teenager in the Foreign Service discusses what makes teenage TCKs different and why, based on his own experiences.
  • Stop Feeling Sorry for your Children by Ann Miller Morin
    September 1960
    A recent survey of Foreign Service kids shows the advantages and difficulties of growing up overseas.
  • The Foreign Service Wife by Jack Perry
    February 1969
    The wives of American diplomats have unique social advantages and exhibit strong personalities not only due to the great freedom they enjoy, but also the trials such freedom incurs.
  • Who’s the Kids’ Advocate by Thomas Kelly
    September 1973
    With the usual Stateside support systems unavailable, who at the Department of State is advocating for children’s welfare overseas.
  • Resolution of the Wives’ Dilemma by Carroll Russell Sherer
    October 1973
    “I didn’t join the Foreign Service, my husband did”, is a common complaint. What to do when you want to be divorced from your spouse’s career, but not your spouse.
  • Freshman Fears by Nancy Piet-Pelon
    July 1990
    How do Foreign Service kids returning to go to college cope with a new country, as well as the increased workload and independence that comes with a “typical” college experience?
  • Coming in for a Landing: How Families Can Prepare for the Rude Shock of Returning Home by Genie Gratto
    September 1990
    Returning to the U.S. can be rough, especially for young children. Here, the author offers tips for kids and their parents, based on her own experiences as a TCK.
  • One Step Ahead for Spouses by Katrina Ecton
    May 1991
    A great deal has to be done to assist spouses overseas, but also at home as they struggle with gaps in their resumes and unintelligible job titles.
  • The Great Divorce by Jewell Fenzi
    June 1992
    Following a 1972 directive on the role of Foreign Service spouses, the department has been losing its representative family make-up overseas, argues Jewell Fenzi.
  • Unwilling Unemployment by Barbara Frechette
    June 1992
    Unwilling to do unpaid “support” work, but unable to find paid roles overseas, what other options are there for Foreign Service spouses?
  • Helping a Spouse Find Work Abroad by Francine Modderno
    September 1994
    More than ever, both partners in dual-income families are demanding meaningful jobs. How does this work with the Foreign Service lifestyle?
  • Growing up with a World View: Nomad Children Develop Multicultural Skills by Norma McCaig
    September 1994
    Whether you call them “nomads”, “cultural chameleons” or “third-culture kids”, the children of Foreign Service members have a unique opportunity to develop multicultural skills.
  • A Chat with FLO
    September 1994
    U.S. Embassy populations are more diverse than 20 years ago, with more single parents, tandem couples and dependent parents. The Journal speaks with the director of the Family Liaison Office about what those changes mean for FS families.
  • Caring for Mom and Dad by Louise Belanger
    September 1994
    For those living abroad, the struggle of trying to care for both the young and the old is both tempered and intensified by distance.
  • A Mother Copes with Separation by Karen Krebsbach
    September 1994
    A Foreign Service officer discusses her experience losing custody of her children–because she was moving abroad for her job.
  • FS Families’ Health Tracked by Francine Modderno
    April 1996
    For more than 10 years, the Medical Services unit gathered data on the health of Foreign Service members and families overseas. This article discusses some of the outcomes of the survey.
  • Reflections from a Stay-at-home Man by Richard Gilbert
    April 1996
    At most embassies overseas, “spouse” is gender-specific. But what about the increasing number of male “trailing spouses”?
  • The Learning-Disabled Child Abroad by Sally L. Smith
    December 1998
    Living abroad, especially in less developed countries, can be a real problem for parents of learning-disabled children. This article presents some tips on making the best of the resources available.
  • Caregiving from 10,000 Miles Away by Ronald Trigg
    March 1998
    How can Foreign Service officers cope with elder care considerations when posted overseas? The author shares his experiences.
  • Marriage Across the Miles by Francine Modderno
    July-August 1999
    How do Foreign Service employees cope with physical separation?
  • Homeschooling FS Kids? It Worked For Us by Pat Olsen
    December 2000
    Homeschooling is a viable option for keeping your children’s grades up, even in the farthest-flung postings.
  • In Search of That Special School by Melanie Kerber
    June 2001
    For children with learning difficulties, finding the right school (whether overseas or in the United States), can make a world of difference.
  • A Career Built for Two by Tatiana C. Gfoeller and Michael Gfoeller
    May 2002
    A tandem couple since 1984, the authors offer their tips on making Foreign Service careers work, together.
  • Deathwatch by Herbert L. Treger
    May 2002
    It can be tough to be away from family during times of crisis at home…the author discusses one of the disadvantages to working overseas.
  • The Reality of Foreign Service Spousal Employment by Shawn Dorman
    May 2002
    Employment for Foreign Service family members has become an increasingly critical issue for recruiting and retaining employees. But how can it be done.
  • The Foreign Service Spouse Network: A Global Resource by Pat Olsen
    May 2002
    Networks of spouses at each post are expanding to create a global community, offering support from wherever they are.
  • Going with the FLO…A Talk with Director Faye Barnes by Susan Maitra
    May 2002
    With a small staff and a broad client base, the Family Liaison Office are getting down to business, helping Foreign Service members and their families posted abroad.
  • Letter to a Foreign Service Spouse on Life Insurance by Edward J. Michal
    December 2002
    Reviewing life insurance often falls to the bottom of people’s to-do lists; in an open letter, the author discusses why it should be a priority.
  • FLO: Point of Contact for Employees & Families, An Interview with Director Faye Barnes by Susan Maitra
    February 2003
    The department’s Family Liaison Office is playing an ever-greater role in assisting employees and their families during crises. In this article, the FLO director discusses lessons learned and improvements for the future.
  • Christmas in July: Holidays as a Foreign Service Child by Mikkela Thompson
    June 2003
    A child raised in the Foreign Service can appreciate new and diverse cultures, while retaining a sense of tradition–especially around the holidays.
  • Dip Kids Fill Void at U.S. Colleges by Antje Schiffler
    June 2005
    With international students decreasing, American universities are looking to youth who grew up overseas to provide a global perspective in the classroom.
  • Family Member Employment: At Work in the Mission by Shawn Dorman
    July/August 2005
    A comprehensive look at the employment options available to family members inside U.S. missions overseas.
  • FLO is Here to Help with Career-Employment Issues by Donna Ayerst
    November 2005
    The Family Liaison Office explain how they advocate on behalf of family members and bring their employment concerns to the State Department.
  • Learning to Drive as an FS Kid by Ingrid Ahlgren
    June 2007
    A collection of personal stories and practical advice from Foreign Service kids who learn to drive while their parents are posted overseas.
  • Going It Alone: Family Life in the ‘New’ Foreign Service by Kelly Bembry Midura
    June 2008
    Most Foreign Service employees will serve an unaccompanied tour during their careers. This article examines the kind of support their families can expect.
  • Support For Unaccompanied Assignments by Bridget Roddy
    March 2009
    A look at just what the State Department can do to help during an unaccompanied tour.
  • Coping with Separation: Tandem Couples by Annie Simpkins
    March 2009
    Besides the obvious personal difficulties, separated tandem couples face an expensive tour with minimal financial aid.
  • An Evacuation Survival Guide by Kelly Armstrong
    March 2009
    Chances are that most Foreign Service families will undergo an ordered departure. Former FSO Kelly Armstrong provides some tips on how to make the best of it.
  • When an FS Spouse Comes “Home”: A Study by Sharon Maybarduk
    April 2009
    Re-entry to the U.S. after living overseas involves adjustments that are not always easy. This study identifies some of the fault lines between success and failure.
  • ‘Virtually’ There: FS Spouses Build Careers Without Borders by Katherine Jacobs and Carolyn Ho
    September 2009
    More than ever before, Foreign Service spouses and partner are pursuing successful careers in their own right. Here, two FS spouses explain how.
  • Sharing Custody, Diplomatically by Victoria Hirschland
    May 2011
    A divorce settlement gave these Foreign Service children time with both parents and the unexpected gift of travel skills.
  • Forever Tandem by Teresa Chin Jones
    May 2011
    Achieving work-life balance is like personal engineering, and comes with the same trade offs that all engineers face in getting things done.
  • Trailing Tandem by Clayton Bond
    May 2011
    Perhaps one day no trailing tandem who wants to work will have to take leave without pay to join a spouse or partner at post.
  • Going Solo: Single in the Foreign Service by Shawn Dorman
    May 2011
    Singles comprise about one-third of the Foreign Service and have their own unique challenges.
  • Navigating Life’s Unexpected Realities by Jen Dinoia
    May 2011
    No matter how carefully a family prepares for an unaccompanied tour, life has a way of throwing curves at them.
  • When Boarding Schools are an Option by Leah Wallace
    December 2011
    Boarding schools often provide much needed continuity for Foreign Service families.
  • FS Spousal Employment: Slow But Steady Progress by Shawn Zeller
    April 2012
    It’s getting easier for Foreign Service family members to find meaningful employment overseas, but there is still a long way to go.
  • Patience: The Key to Successful EFM Employment by Jen Dinoia
    April 2012
    Eligible Family Members can land amazing jobs with the right combination of flexibility, preparation and, yes, luck.
  • Local Employment in Mozambique and Brazil by Raquel Lima Miranda
    April 2012
    Is it possible to live and work overseas, pursuing a professional career, despite frequent moves? Absolutely!
  • HOC Rocks! (Husbands of Chennai) by Aileen Crowe Nandi
    April 2012
    The “husbands of Chennai” has become a way to forge friendships and build a community among trailing husbands of consulate employees.
  • My So-Called Career by Francesca Kelly
    April 2012
    The career you start with probably won’t be the one you end with, explains one Foreign Service spouse.
  • A Diplomat’s Wife by Kate Matheson
    June 2012
    What does it mean for your own identity and wellbeing to follow your spouse overseas?
  • The Impact of Transitions on Foreign Service Families by T. Dhyan Summers
    December 2012
    Those who work overseas, particularly Foreign Service members, experience frequent transitions. Here are some tips on coping with the disruptions they can cause.
  • Is Adequate Disability Income Insurance Available to FS Families by William Carrington
    March 2013
    Many Foreign Service members mistakenly believe they have more disability income insurance than is actually the case.
  • Thinking Through Educational Options For Your FS Child by Rebecca Grappo
    June 2013
    Choosing a school for your FS child is not just about feeding the mind, but also feeding the young person’s appropriate social and emotional development. This article gives some tips on how to make the right choice.
  • A Practical Guide to International Divorce in the Foreign Service by Elizabeth Fitzsimmons and Richard Seipert
    December 2013
    Navigating a divorce while remaining an effective member of the Foreign Service can feel absolutely overwhelming. This article offers tips on how to survive this massive life change.
  • A Parent’s Guide to Psychoeducational Evaluations by Chad C. Nelson
    December 2013
    The goal of a psychoeducational evaluation is to enhance a child’s ability to be as successful as possible.
  • A “Trailing” Spouse? by Jessie Bryson
    March 2014
    A millennial commentator shares her reaction to joining the ranks of the Foreign Service community.
  • When School is Hard by Michelle Grappo
    June 2014
    What do you do when your child is struggling in school? This article can help get you started on identifying and solving the problem.
  • Child Custody Issues in Foreign Service Divorces by Susan Keogh, Ann La Porta, and Diane Holt
    October 2014
    A primer on the custody issues involved in Foreign Service divorces and how to approach them.
  • Women Who Make a Difference: Reflections of a Foreign Service Wife in 1982 by Patricia B. Norland
    May 2015
    A Foreign Service spouse reflects on her experiences during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, when struggles for independence from colonial rule exploded throughout the developing world.
  • Going Back to Work: A Step-by-Step Guide for FS Spouses by Anna Sparks
    September 2015
    One of the great challenges of Foreign Service life is how an FS spouse can maintain or develop a career. This article provides some practical tips.
  • Raising FS Kids by John K. Naland
    November 2015
    Get to know the nonprofit groups and State Department offices that offer a social safety net for FS youth.
  • Multilingual Matters: How FS Students Can Make the Most of Language-Rich Experiences Abroad by Marybeth Hunter and Christine Brown
    December 2015
    More and more Foreign Service families are choosing to educate their children in a language other than that spoken at home. Regional Education Officer and Office of Overseas Schools resident language expert Christine Brown discusses the advantages and challenges of learning in a foreign language.
  • What About Our Kids? by Kim Deblauw
    January-February 2016
    Foreign Service children are just as at risk of mental health problems as the average American child, if not more so.
  • Mental Health Support for FS Children: Parents Weigh In
    June 2016
    Foreign Service children are just as at risk for mental health problems as the average American child, perhaps even more vulnerable. This is a critical issue for FS families.
  • Supporting FS Families with Special Needs Children by Maureen M. Danzot and Mark R. Evans
    June 2016
    Two parents discuss the Special Needs Education Allowance and the challenges of raising children with special needs in the Foreign Service.
  • Taking on Family Member Employment. Really! by Debra Blome
    July-August 2016
    Family member employment is a critical issue for members of the U.S. Foreign Service. The State Department finally seems to be taking it seriously.
  • Tandem Couples: Serving Together, Apart by Fred Odisho and Whitney Dubinsky
    July-August 2016
    Two Foreign Service Officers discuss some of the unique challenges they face as part of tandem couple.
  • MED’s Child and Family Program, Explained by Kathy Gallardo
    September 2016
    An authoritative account of the aims of the Children and Family Program, presented as part of the Journal’s ongoing discussion of concerns regarding support for children and families overseas.
  • New College, New Culture: Preparing for a Strong First Semester as a Third Culture Kid by Hannah Morris
    June 2017
    Third Culture Kids deal with repatriation issues and reverse culture shock when they attend college in the United States. This article provides some tips for success.
  • Out in the Cold: How the Hiring Freeze is Affecting Family Member Employment by Donna Scaramastra Gorman
    July-August 2017
    Employing family members overseas isn’t just good for morale. It makes financial sense, too, and helps keep our embassies functioning.
  • Raising Multilingual Children in the Foreign Service by Nicole Schaeffer-McDaniel and Jennifer Kirk Dinoia
    December 2017
    Raising children in more than one language is seldom straightforward and can leave parents second-guessing their approach. This article looks at the challenges and how to meet them.

Foreign Service Retirement

  • The Art of Retiring by E.B. Hosking
    February 1960
    Retire as soon as you are pensionable, as early as possible; you will then still be young and fit enough to start a new life. A bow overdrawn is never the same again; if you work yourself to a finish, you are finished.
  • Academia Abroad: A Logical Next Step by Richard Jackson
    February 2010
    Working in overseas educational institutions abroad can in many ways be more “Foreign Service” than today’s diplomatic corps.
  • U.S. Colleges Offer Plum Post-Foreign Service Postings by Tibor P. Nagy Jr.
    February 2010
    For professionals with international experience and expertise, opportunities at American schools are growing.
  • Writing as a Second Career by David T. Jones
    February 2010
    Working for the U.S. government in one guise or another is familiar and comfortable, but there are many other outlets worth pursuing.
  • Retiree Access, Step by Step by Mary Ellen Gilroy
    January-February 2016
    Access to various State Department buildings—Main State (HST), SA-1 (medical and retirement offices) and the National Foreign Affairs Training Center—is an issue of serious concern for retirees. I don’t know how the other foreign affairs agencies acknowledge their retirees; but if they are anything like the State Department, their retirees may share some of the concerns I discuss here.
  • What We’re Doing Now by Collected Authors
    May 2016
    We asked members to reflect on what they wished they had known earlier about retirement and what advice they would give their younger selves on planning for it. We asked what they wish they had known before joining the Foreign Service. And we asked them to tell us about their interesting post-FS lives, including advice for others who may want to take a similar path.
  • Retirement Planning 101 by John K. Naland
    May 2016
    Life after the Foreign Service begins with planning. Here’s how to get started.
  • Life After the Foreign Service – What We Are Doing Now, Part II by Collected Authors
    July-August 2016
    We asked members to reflect on what they wished they had known earlier about retirement and what advice they would give their younger selves on planning for it. We asked what they wish they had known before joining the Foreign Service. And we asked them to tell us about their interesting post-FS lives, including advice for others who may want to take a similar path.
  • Are You Retirement Ready? by Donna Scaramastra Gorman
    January-February 2018
    Experts explain how to prepare for retirement throughout your career, from your first days on the job until you turn in your badge on the last day.
  • 10 Things I Wish I had Known: Confessions of a Recent Retiree by Dolores Brown
    October 2018
    Retirement sneaks up on you— and it doesn’t. I prepped for it over many years, methodically putting money away, deciding on my retirement destination of choice…I knew I wanted to do more, but I wasn’t sure what. I also thought I knew what I needed to know. I was wrong. Here are 10 things I wish I had known as the big day closed in.

Frontline Diplomacy

  • The FSO’s in Manila by Cabot Coville
    June 1942
    Hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor Japanese forces descended on Manila, and American FSOs struggled to evacuate after being cut off for weeks.
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis by Robert A. Hurwitch
    July 1971
    An FSO recounts high-level policy deliberations that transpired as nuclear missile-ferrying Soviet ships inched closer to Cuba.
  • From Pearl Harbor to Potsdam by Charles W. Yost
    September 1980
    An FSO describes wartime duties that span some of the most consequential discussions and conferences that devised the post-war international order.
  • Escape from Mogadishu by James K. Bishop
    March 1991
    An ambassador recalls the harrowing experience of evacuating from Mogadishu as the Somali city experienced a violent uprising.

Human Rights

  • Morality and Human Rights in Foreign Policy by John L. Washburn
    May 1977
    The Carter administration has just taken office, and is now looking to make human rights a central concern in its conduct of foreign policy.
  • Human Rights and International Order by James Nathan
    February 1978
    A policy of human rights, like a policy which seeks to delimit “aggression,” knows no natural limit. But if a policy geared to the protection of human rights is to be selective, how is the selection to be made?
  • Human Rights and American Policy in Africa by Armistead Lee
    October 1978
    Whether considering quiet diplomacy or public confrontation, linking human rights to other conditions in Africa has proven to be a delicate challenge.
  • Why Bother about Human Rights? by Sandy Vogelgesang
    May 1980
    Some have belittled campaigns to emphasize human rights as “moralistic crusades,” yet there are many legal, cultural and pragmatic incentives for taking a strong stand for human rights.
  • The Unaccepted Challenge by Tom Shannon
    May 1989
    Nothing in my training or experience prepared me for the work I was called upon to do in a country once described as the worst offender of human rights in the world…Aside from the operational problems, human rights reporting differs from most embassy reporting in four significant ways.
  • Diplomacy’s Orphans: New Issues in Human Rights by Tom Shannon
    September 1991
    We are living through a period of quiet but profound change in the international human rights agenda, which will post new diplomatic challenges to the United States. While the principal human rights issue of the 1980s – political repression – will remain our primary human rights concern through this decade, several new issues have emerged that do not easily fit into our traditional understanding of human rights.
  • Improving State’s Human Rights Reports by Julien LeBourgeois
    September 1991
    State’s annual human rights reports have been susceptible over time to faddish public and congressional preoccupations, and to changing Executive Branch criteria.
  • Ideological Warrior: An Interview with Michael Novak by John Harter
    September 1991
    Michael Novak served as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and discusses what it’s like to defend human rights at the U.N.
  • The Feminization of Human Rights by Arvonne Fraser
    December 1993
    An acknowledgement that women, too, have human rights has been long in coming. But the establishment of separate UN commissions on human rights and on the status of women confirmed the distinction between human rights and the equal rights of women.
  • General Pinochet and the Human Rights Conundrum by George Gedda
    December 1999
    What do you do with an ex-dictator with a nasty human rights record? A Spanish judge has forced the world to face up to that thorny problem—whether it wants to or not.
  • Putting Human Rights Back on the Agenda by Ed McWilliams
    April 2003
    For over the past decade, U.S. pro-democracy and human rights leverage has been squandered. If not corrected soon, the results could be disastrous.
  • After Abu Ghraib: The U.S. Human Rights Agenda by George Gedda
    December 2004
    There is no question that the prisoner abuse scandal hurt America’s reputation. But the Bush administration has pushed forward with efforts to expand the U.S. human rights agenda, and enjoyed some successes.
  • Honoring Patt Derian by Diana Page
    January 2010
    Nearly three decades after leaving office, the first assistant secretary for human rights receives a rare tribute.
  • Human Rights, China and 21st-Century Diplomacy by Michael Posner
    September 2012
    Developments in China offer new opportunities to reframe the approach to bilateral discussions of human rights.
  • A Human Rights Dialogue with Congress by Robert McMahon
    June 2013
    Policymaking on human rights issues is sometimes hindered by poor relations between State and Capitol Hill. Fortunately, there are ways to improve cooperation.
  • Promoting an LGBT-Inclusive Human Rights Agenda by Richmond Blake
    June 2015
    The progress of LGBT rights in Europe and the Americas has elicited a backlash in other parts of the world. Strong U.S. leadership can help reverse this alarming trend and mitigate the threat of widespread violence.
  • Human Rights for LGBT Persons: Aiming for Sustainable Progress Q&A w/ Special Envoy Randy Berry
    June 2015
    Protecting the existence and rights of the LGBT community has become a core issue in the U.S. human rights mission worldwide.

NATO

  • Jefferson’s NATO by Carl Charlick
    July 1954
    Thomas Jefferson had his own challenging experiences in organizing a coalition of states to deal with a common threat.
  • The USRO and American Foreign Policy by Staff Members of the USRO
    February 1955
    The USRO coordinated and navigated the surge in diplomatic activity in the early years of the NATO alliance.
  • European Defense: A Return to Brussels by Colin Gordon
    November 1971
    European nations have often struggled to harmonize economic integration with defense integration.
  • The Atlantic Alliance by Charles R. Foster and Richard Albright
    June 1981
    New administrations have often taken office with hopes to reinvigorate NATO, but alliance politics guarantee challenges to any reform-minded agenda.

Offbeat

  • The Service’s Only Samurai by George P. Waller
    December 1922
    Watari Ebiharah served the American consulate in Kobe, Japan for 39 years, but earlier in life he served a liege lord as a samurai in the waning days of feudal Japan.
  • RIF and Return by Melville E. Blake, Jr.
    September 1954
    An FSO receives an unexpected separation notice, and after a year of life out of government, receives an invitation to return to the Foreign Service.
  • Jesuit Technical Assistance to the Emperor of China by Martin F. Herz
    February 1958
    For many years Jesuits cultivated diplomatic and scientific relationships with Imperial China to enable cultural exchange and missionary work.
  • Post Report From Mars by Buck Dodger
    April 1958
    An update from Embassy Mars reveals the lifestyle and challenges of a hardship post on the red planet.
  • The Diplomatic Costume Revolution by Richard B. McCornack
    May 1958
    In 1853 Secretary of State William Marcy issued a circular establishing new guidance for diplomatic dress that proved controversial with foreign courts abroad.
  • A Yankee at the Court of the Tsars by Jerome Blum
    June 1960
    John Quincy Adams was in such dire financial straits while representing the U.S. in Russia that his mother felt compelled to write a letter to President James Madison requesting relief.
  • Automation and the Foreign Service by Thomas M. Tracy
    March 1971
    Technology will create new efficiencies in diplomatic work but will require a reexamination of personnel policies and customary methods of doing business.
  • Interstellar Negotiation by Michael A.G. Michaud
    December 1972
    Given the sheer likelihood of encountering sentient life amongst the stars in the future, what are the considerations for establishing relations with another intelligent, space-faring species?
  • Leaks – A Reporter’s Viewpoint by Jim Anderson
    November 1980
    A diplomatic correspondent describes how leaks happen, the cautions journalists must exercise in sourcing those speaking on background and the relationship between the press and the public.
  • Confessions of a Washington Ghost Writer by Burke Wilkinson
    June 1980
    Often at Secretary John Foster Dulles’ command, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Burke Wilkinson would drop everything to help top administration officials prepare speeches, articles and testimony.

Political Appointees

  • Political Appointee: A Case Study by Winston Smith
    January 1980
    While the administration has not reached the level of its predecessors in truly egregious appointments, it has appointed ambassadors of obvious—and in at least one case, stunning—unsuitability for the job. This is the tale of one unqualified ambassador – and how to prevent future failures among our political appointees.
  • Malcolm Toon interview
    April 1982
    The retired U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union shares his thoughts on problems with using the Foreign Service as a “dumping ground” for political appointees and the importance of maintaining a professional diplomatic corps.
  • Politics or Merit? by Sen. Charles Mathias Jr.
    April 1982
    U.S. Senator Charles Mathias Jr. (R-Md.,) explains why he introduced a bill limiting the number of noncareer ambassadors in 1981.
  • Staffing State: Three Dilemmas by William Bacchus
    December 1982
    The evolving nature of international relations will necessitate changes in how the Foreign Service personnel system is designed and run.
  • Training Future High-Level Political Appointees: Interview with William B. Macomber
    September 1985
    Is there a place for political appointees within the foreign affairs agencies in Washington?
  • Foreign Service Heresy by David T. Jones
    June 1989
    It is the Foreign Service equivalent of Holy Writ that political appointees are the bane of the professional, career Foreign Service. The corollary is that Foreign Service officers, particularly at senior levels, are more capable than political appointees. Unfortunately, comfortable as these assumptions are, they fall into the category of unproven—and perhaps unproveable—assertions.
  • Do Political Appointees Need Limits? by Peter Frederick
    January 2001
    There will always be political appointees in government. However, that does not mean that managerial improvement at FCS is impossible.
  • Differences in Style: Brandon Grove Talks about Career vs. Non-Career Ambassadors
    December 1992
    One of the toughest things for non-career people to understand is that holding the line, in terms of the American/foreign country relationship, can itself be a good outcome, that surviving real stresses and strains can be a reflection of success in a relationship. People who don’t know this are often shocked that they can’t get more done quickly and achieve the public recognition they are used to having, for their work as an ambassador.
  • Political Appointees: A Cost-Benefit Analysis by William F Davnie
    November 2006
    Most political appointees face massive culture shock when they enter government and arrive at an embassy.
  • Notes to the New Administration: Please End Political Corruption by Steve Kashkett
    January-February 2017
    You have a golden opportunity to fulfill your campaign pledge to put a stop to corruption, cronyism and “business as usual” in Washington: End the disgraceful practice of rewarding personal friends and donors with ambassadorships.
  • Why U.S. Ambassadors Should be Career Professionals by Ed Peck
    January-February 2017
    The ability to raise millions of dollars for a presidential campaign is a valuable skill. But rewarding a fundraiser with the job of heading a U.S. embassy reveals total ignorance of what the job entails. An ambassador’s responsibilities are numerous, complex and important—sometimes critical. And, as with any and all top management positions, they cannot be effectively carried out by beginners.

Presidents & Foreign Policy

  • My Day with JFK by Jack Sulser
    November 1968
    An FSO offers a story about personally facilitating an interaction between President John F. Kennedy and Austrian Federal Chancellor Dr. Alfons Gorbach in Washington.
  • State and Presidential Leadership by I.M. Destler
    September 1971
    What can State do to repair trust with an administration that doubts its ability to lead foreign policy formulation?
  • Presidents and Bureaucrats by Dean Rusk
    May 1973
    Former Secretary of State Dean Rusk comments on the often challenging relationship between the White House and State, and how professionalism should ultimately guide the Foreign Service through contentious times.
  • The Foreign Service and Presidential Control of Foreign Policy by Nathaniel Davis
    March 1980
    The president’s influence on foreign policy is subject to the complexity of managing career professionals and political appointees at the senior-most levels of policymaking.
  • Truman’s Secret Thoughts on Ending the Korean War by Barton J. Bernstein
    November 1980
    Recently declassified documents provide crucial insights into policy deliberations during the Korean War as American leadership contemplated escalation and its tenuous relationship with China.

Public Diplomacy

  • Publicity in Foreign Affairs by H.R. Wilson
    July 1926
    The intrinsic relationship between State and the media is invaluable in communicating policy and earning support for diplomacy.
  • Propagandists in World Affairs by Orville C. Anderson
    February 1953
    In a world where competitors masterfully deceive and influence by distorting reality, how can State hold its own?
  • Democratic Diplomacy and the Role of Propaganda by Monteagle Stearns
    October 1953
    Diplomats must carefully manage messaging and public relations, yet when does the diplomat begin to look like a propagandist?
  • Diplomacy and the Press by Henry B. Cox
    January 1954
    The relationship between diplomat and reporter is a delicate one where serving the national interest may mean very different things for sharing certain information with the public.
  • A More Open Diplomacy vs. Greater Secrecy by Elmer Plischke
    April 1957
    Diplomacy must manage a balance between openness and secrecy in its conduct, yet diplomatic functions have trended toward more openness.

Reform

  • Mr. Carr Surveys the Rogers Bill by Wilbur J. Carr
    July 1924
    Assistant Secretary of State Wilbur Carr gives an optimistic assessment of the Rogers Bill that will institute sweeping reform to the Foreign Service.
  • Reform or Withdrawal by Seymour Maxwell Finger
    June 1984
    As the United States ponders leaving UNESCO due to frustration with its direction, it must deliberate on how withdrawal may lessen its ability to influence reform from within.
  • The Foreign Service Act of 1980
    December 1980
    Undersecretary of State for Management Ben Read and AFSA President Ken Bleakley speak on a panel about the recently passed Foreign Service Act of 1980 and its benefits.

Russia

  • Life as a Russian Worker by Richard H. Sanger
    June 1971
    After leaving the Foreign Service, Richard Sanger left to see what life was like in the 1930s Soviet Union, and whether the workers’ paradise was real.
  • Our Man At Stalin’s Funeral by Jacob D. Beam
    May 1978
    Following Josef Stalin’s sudden death, future Ambassador to the Soviet Union Jacob Beam travels to Moscow to express official condolences.

Terrorism

Tradecraft

  • Our Tongue-Tied Foreign Service by Leon and Leila Poullada
    June 1957
    State faces a deficit of language expertise and training methods are in need of dire review.

WWII

  • The FSO’s in Manila by Cabot Coville
    June 1942
    Hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor Japanese forces descended on Manila, and American FSOs struggled to evacuate after being cut off for weeks.
  • The New Duties of Our Foreign Service by Christian M. Ravndal
    July 1942
    At the outbreak of WWII some declared that diplomacy would be irrelevant during conflict, yet diplomats perform indispensable and highly consequential roles in times of war.
  • From Pearl Harbor to Potsdam by Charles W. Yost
    September 1980
    An FSO describes wartime duties that span some of the most consequential discussions and conferences that devised the post-war international order.