FSJ Special Collections


AFSA History

  • From Striped-Pants Set to White-Collar Union by Nancy Johnson
    May 1999
    AFSA’s evolution into the “Voice of the Foreign Service” has been shaped by political climate in addition to the needs of a growing membership base, with each decade of the 1900s presenting distinct obstacles.
  • AFSA and the Foreign Service Act of 1980 by Ken Bleakley
    June 2003
    Under the pivotal goal of “the creation of a single Foreign Service able to represent effectively the broad range of U.S. international interests and provide a fulfilling career for its members,” hundreds of AFSA volunteers worked together for systemic improvements.
  • AFSA Becomes a Union: The Reformers’ Victory by Tex Harris
    June 2003
    The successes of AFSA’s historic advocacy groups can be attributed to multiple factors, notably their “dual approach” to preserving Foreign Service values while establishing a formal, participatory labor management system.
  • AFSA Becomes a Union: Bread-and-Butter Issues by Hank Cohen
    June 2003
    Assisting members on the individual level enhances AFSA’s ability to collectively bargain on behalf of all Foreign Service constituents.
  • AFSA Becomes a Union: Four Battles by Tom Boyatt
    June 2003
    Four distinct, volunteer-driven endeavors from 1971-1973 defined AFSA’s transition to operating as a labor union in addition to a professional association.
  • Foreign Service Stories: What Makes Us Proud Compilation by AFSA members
    May 2014
    In commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the modern Foreign Service, AFSA invited members to send brief notes about the time when they were most proud to be a part of the Foreign Service community.
  • Foreign Service, Civil Service: How We Got to Where We Are by Harry Kopp
    May 2014
    The roots of the dual system reach to the 18th century, when Thomas Jefferson, the first Secretary of State, created different services to perform different functions: a diplomatic service to maintain political relations with foreign powers; a consular service to protect American seamen and other citizens, and attend to American maritime interests generally; and a home or departmental service to take care of matters in the capital.
  • In the Beginning: The Rogers Act of 1924 by Jim Lamont and Larry Cohen
    May 2014
    Also known as the Foreign Service Act of 1924, the Rogers Act merged the Department of State’s Diplomatic Service and Consular Service to form the U.S. Foreign Service.
  • AFSA History Timeline
    May 2014
    As AFSA and the Foreign Service both celebrate their 90th anniversaries, here are some of the events that have shaped both institutions.
  • A Lifetime of Public Service: An Interview with William C. Harrop by Marcia C. Livingston
    September 2015
    Ambassador William C. Harrop reflects on his 39-year career as a Foreign Service officer and the struggle to establish AFSA’s labor union operations.
  • A Century of Journals by Harry Kopp
    April 2018
    From the earliest, travelogue-focused editions to the dissent-driven content of the 1960s and 1970s, The Foreign Service Journal has played a powerful role in circulating the experiences of Foreign Service professionals to an expanding audience.
  • Thanks to AFSA, Local Hires Win Big by Kenneth Kero-Mentz
    December 2018
    Changes in locality pay regulations in 2017 demonstrate the importance and efficacy of the AFSA legal team.
  • The Foreign Service Honor Roll by John K. Naland
    May 2020
    In January 1929, members of the young organization read in the American Foreign Service Journal (as this magazine was named until 1951) that the AFSA Executive Committee (the governing board of the day) had received a proposal to create an honor roll to be displayed at the Department of State. This would memorialize all American consular and diplomatic officers who had died under tragic or heroic circumstances since the founding of the republic.


  • Human Rights and American Foreign Policy in Africa by Armistead Lee
    October 1978
    A historical perspective from time spent in Dakar, South and Central African Affairs.
  • 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.
  • Sierra Leone’s Dream: Diplomatic Activism, Not Dollars, Helped Bring Democratic Elections to a West African Country by Charles Ray
    April 1998
    Financial support is a supplementary aspect of driving systemic political transformation.
  • Despair, Hope, Perseverance by Robert E. Gribbin
    December 2013
    Long-term impacts of the AIDS epidemic on Uganda persist, as does steadfast hope for a better future.
  • Westgate: The Other Nairobi and the Future of Kenya by Joash Omondi
    July-August 2014
    In many ways, Westgate epitomizes the “other” Nairobi—an oasis of fine dining, coffee houses and world-class shopping, it offered all the excesses of being fortunate enough to be an affluent Nairobian. Few imagined that this would be ground zero for jihad in Kenya.
  • Mozambique: When Diplomacy Paid Off by Willard Dupree
    March 2015
    The path to diplomatic partnership with post-independence Mozambique is a prime example of the value of strategic relationship-building.
  • Dogs in Africa by Robert E. Gribbin
    September 2015
    Canine companions add humor to diplomatic life.
  • Development Aid to Africa: Time for Plan B? by Don Lotter
    April 2016
    Redirecting funding to support education – and specifically, online programs – holds the potential for empowering communities and facilitating sustainable development.
  • Delivering Foreign Agricultural Aid to Africa – What Works? by Barry Hill
    May 2016
    An evaluation of three case studies with lessons learned from the keen perspective of a USAID Foreign Service officer, observer and evaluator.
  • Travels with the Champ in Africa, 1980 by Lannon Walker
    October 2016
    An account of unconventional diplomatic success: [Muhammad] Ali combined a sense of strategy, learned from the ring, with the unparalleled ability to muster popular support, above and beyond any government’s policy.
  • One Story, Two Events, Seven Leadership Lessons by Prudence Bushnell
    January-February 2017
    During my own career, the 1994 Rwanda genocide and the 1998 al-Qaida bombing of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania left compelling leadership lessons that may be useful to you.
  • Zimbabwe After Mugabe: Dark Before the Dawn? by Charles Ray
    March 2018
    Sometimes unexpected things happen, and your brain has a hard time accepting them. That was the case for me in November 2017, when I heard from friends in Zimbabwe that there were signs of a possible coup.
  • Reflections on the U.S. Embassy Bombings in Kenya and Tanzania
    July-August 2018
    On the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack on two U.S. embassies, American, Kenyan and Tanzanian survivors reflect on that seminal event and its aftermath.
  • A Day of Terror: From the FSJ Archive
    July-August 2018
    Selected excerpts from articles, columns and letters to the editor on the East Africa bombings over the years since 1998.
  • Khetha: Bringing ‘Choices’ to Help Address Wildlife Trafficking by Lara Rall
    October 2018
    To date the response to wildlife trafficking has been concentrated in two areas: increased or improved law enforcement, on one hand, and efforts to reduce demand for wildlife products, on the other. In the long term, however, breaking the illegal wildlife trade chain requires a more holistic approach.
  • Back to Brazzaville by Dan Whitman
    October 2019
    An FSO reflects on social and environmental changes in the capital of the Republic of Congo over 38 years.
  • FS Institution Builder and Africa Hand
    December 2019
    Career Ambassador Herman Jay Cohen (universally known simply as Hank) received the American Foreign Service Association’s 2019 Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy Award at an Oct. 16 ceremony in the Dean Acheson Auditorium at the Department of State.
  • Energy Diplomacy Works: How Power Africa Redefines Development Partnerships by Andrew M. Herscowitz
    March 2020
    More than 570 million people in Africa are without access to electricity. Power Africa’s goal is to drive power projects that will provide more than 30,000 megawatts (MW) of new power generation and help create 60 million new electricity connections for homes and businesses by 2030.
  • Public Health in Foreign Policy: Ebola 1976 by Walter Cutler
    July-August 2020
    An ambassador reflects on experiencing a public health crisis in Zaire and the importance of interagency coordination.
  • Slaughter South of the Sahara: No Scope for Business as Usual by Mark Wentling
    November 2020
    Without renewed engagement by the international community and a reasoned strategy to take on and defeat extremist violence, this scourge threatens to shatter the centuries-old traditions and social fabric of Sahelian society and could spread to envelop the entirety of West Africa.
  • What the Tunisian Revolution Taught Me by Gordon Gray
    January-February 2021
    Witnessing history was why we joined the Foreign Service in the first place. Constantly having the opportunity to learn and adapt was another reason; and serving in Tunisia when the Arab Spring began was immensely educational.
  • Much Cause for Worry: A Clear-Eyed Look at Africa by Mark G. Wentling
    September 2022
    It is time to put sentiment aside and look clearly at Africa through an objective lens, this retired Senior Foreign Service officer asserts.
  • A Brighter Future for Africa? by Tibor Nagy
    September 2022
    In the 60-some years since Africa’s decolonization, the continent has always been Washington’s lowest geopolitical priority ... Anyone who disagrees needs simply to compare how State resources the Bureau of African Affairs and our embassies in Africa compared to other regions; resources, not statements, reflect priorities.
  • Great Expectations by Kendra L. Gaither
    September 2022
    One need only look at the contemporary global issues that have dominated 2022 to understand the critical role the African continent plays today and how it will shape the future.
  • Higher Education and the New Scramble for Africa by Jonathan V. Ahlstrom
    September 2022
    Investment in higher education is a vital component of effective and constructive U.S. engagement in a dynamic Africa.
  • Kennedy, Nixon and the Competition for Mr. Africa, 1952-1960 by Gregory G. Garland
    September 2022
    Though their concerns were domestic, Kennedy and Nixon were the first American politicians of national rank to prioritize Africa. They drew widespread attention to Africa with compelling visions of positive engagement based on national interest.
  • U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: Elevating the Partnership with Africa by Dana Banks
    June 2023
    In a robust gathering of U.S. and African leaders from the government, private sector, and civil society, the emphasis was on advancing priorities through effective partnerships.
  • Deepening Working Relationships in Africa by Herman J. Cohen
    June 2023
    The energy sector, broadly defined, offers enormous scope for investment and economic development as U.S. constructive engagement in Africa deepens. As always, however, the proof will be in the pudding.
  • A Key to Success: Engaging Civil Society by Kehinde Togun and Maria Kisumbi
    June 2023
    Many Africa experts hope that the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit becomes a regular occurrence and that it doesn’t take another decade for the next one. Ideally, in the future the U.S. administration will treat civil society as an equal leg of the stool, along with the private sector and government.
  • The Business of Diplomacy: Prioritizing the U.S.-Africa Commercial Agenda by Scott Eisner
    June 2023
    As much as the private sector leans on the U.S. government to help manage risk, establish regulatory standards, and open markets through trade, the U.S. government relies on the private sector to make the policy work meaningful and lasting.

Asia (Click here for the China collection)

  • 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.
  • A Crisis in Understanding by George R. Packard
    January 1973
    Condescension, competition and clogged channels of communication have led to a crisis in understanding in our relations with Japan.
  • Frontier Embassy by Joseph Lake
    December 1992
    Four years before a wave of new embassies opened in the former Soviet Union, Embassy Ulaanbaatar became the first embassy on the frontiers of American Diplomacy.
  • In Asia: Battling Warlords by Alfred McCoy
    October 1996
    At Cold War’s end, complex geopolitics spurs heroin supply.
  • East Asia: Tilting Toward Bush by Tsuyoshi Sunohara
    September 2000
    Some Asian observers believe that we should import more features of American democracy, but others disagree, saying the U.S. system simply doesn’t suit Asian political culture.
  • The Internet and Asia: Broadband or Broad Bans? By Shanthi Kalathil
    February 2001
    Though East Asian Societies are increasingly wired, the jury is still out on whether the Internet will be a real force for political change.
  • Controlling Conflict in Central Asia by Barbara Junisbai
    September 2002
    Peace and stability are fragile and yet essential to anchor a process of sustainable development in Central Asia. So, for USAID, building civil society is a priority.
  • Radio Free Asia: A “Rare Window” by Richard Richter
    January 2004
    RFA has targeted the swath from Hanoi to Hohhot and from Lhasa to Luang Prabhang to demonstrate by example what freedom of expression means.
  • China’s New Diplomacy in Asia by David Shambaugh
    May 2005
    A proactive PRD is transforming international relations through Asia. Here is a look at the four pillars of Beijing’s new regional posture.
  • The Indian Foreign Service: The Glass Gets Fuller by Kishan S. Rana
    June 2014
    The Indian Foreign Service is an “integrated” service, designed from its 1946 creation to handle political, commercial, consular and all other external tasks.
  • Jasmine and Lilacs by Ray Peppers
    January-February 2015
    When my wife, infant son and I first arrived in Dhaka, in what was then known as East Pakistan, in 1967, I was determined to learn as much as I could about the culture of this mysterious place.
  • Rangoon: A Walk in the Rain by Arthur Dymond
    March 2015
    By the time we arrived at Sule Pagoda, in the heart of downtown opposite the former U.S. chancery, dark clouds had collected in the near distance.
  • Mobilizing for South Vietnam’s Last Days by Peter Borg
    April 2015
    At the State Department, a small group of FSOs worked outside normal channels to prevent a potential human tragedy.
  • Counterinsurgency in Vietnam: Lessons for Today by Rufus Phillips
    April 2015
    For lasting effect, counterinsurgency cannot be divorced from political reform and progress from the top down, as well as from the community level up, of the country we are helping.
  • Saigon Sayonara by Joseph McBride
    April 2015
    With the fall of South Vietnam looming, and an ambassador still in denial, FSOs on the ground began taking matters into their own hands to help get people out, by any means possible.
  • Vietnam Today by Murray Hiebert
    April 2015
    Now known for its dynamic economy, Vietnam has slowly but surely taken its place among the nations of the world.
  • Doing Social Work in Southeast Asia by Lange Schermerhorn
    April 2015
    Serving in Embassy Saigon’s consular section meant dealing with the social consequences—marriages, births, adoptions—of more than three million Americans coming through a country of 26 million.
  • Viet Cong Attack on Embassy Saigon, 1968 by Allan Wendt
    April 2015
    Allan Wendt was a junior FSO on night duty when the embassy was attacked by Viet Cong commandos. This is his story.
  • Uncovering the Lessons of Vietnam by Stephen Randolph
    July-August 2015
    Efforts in 1975 to capture the lessons of Vietnam as a guide to future policy died in the National Security Council with the seizure of the SS Mayaguez.
  • Authoritarianism Gains in Southeast Asia by Ben Barber
    May 2018
    Authoritarian rule is spreading among Southeast Asian nations today. In Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia, a new breed of autocrat is taking root.
  • Making it in Mongolia: Surviving One of the Coldest Capitals by Nichole Shaefer-McDaniel
    October 2018
    As naïve as it may sound, each overseas assignment is truly what you make of it. Yes, there were many moments of frustration with Mongolia’s bureaucracy, lack of organization, terrible traffic and serious pollution—but there was also its beauty.
  • The Remonstrating Official by Ted Osius
    September 2021
    In the 1960s and 1970s, as the war in Vietnam dragged on, the United States experienced the disaster that can occur when officials do not know enough to remonstrate or, worse, choose not to do so.
  • Diplomats Make a Difference: The U.S. and Mongolia, 1986-1990 by Joseph E. Lake and Michael Allen Lake
    September 2021
    In the 1992 FSJ, Ambassador Joe Lake describes setting up the U.S. embassy in Ulaanbaatar. Today he and his son explore how that relationship was built.
  • A Partnership-Centered Approach to the Indo-Pacific by Jonathan Ahlstrom
    November 2021
    To maintain peace and prosperity in the trans-Pacific and beyond, the United States should rely on a proven strength.
  • Standing By Taiwan and Its Democracy: Why Statecraft Is Not Just About Avoiding Conflict by Robert S. Wang
    June 2023
    Beijing’s current cross-Strait strategy appears to be following the script of the classic Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu. He posited that the best way to win a war is without fighting it, that is, by employing tools of coercion and intimidation to obtain concessions and, eventually, the enemy’s surrender.
  • The Real Heroes in Getting Out of Saigon: U.S. Foreign Service Officers by D.Z. Stone
    July-August 2023
    A young banker’s firsthand account of the unofficial evacuation when Saigon fell.
  • Pomelo Diplomacy by Marc Gilkey
    March 2024
    Through the pomelo, the quintessential Thai fruit, the U.S. and Thailand recently celebrated almost two centuries of collaboration.


  • 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.
  • Redesigning Foreign Aid by John W. Sewell and Timothy A. Johnston
    November 1992
    Without fundamental changes to make it relevant to the international challenges of the 1990s and responsive to the concerns of Americans, the U.S. bilateral aid program could end up not just leaner—it could end up dead.
  • The Heart and Mind of USAID’s Vietnam Mission by Marc Leepson
    April 2000
    Most USAID personnel in Vietnam, including State FSOs, labored in obscurity. Here are their stories.
  • USAID in the Post-9/11 World by Andrew Natsios
    June 2006
    The program strategies, funding mechanisms, organizational structure, and business systems of USAID have all undergone more change in the past five years than in the past several decades combined.
  • A Closer Look at Advancing World Food Security by Michael McClellan
    October 2015
    In agriculture, our free trade and commodity export agendas conflict with our development agenda, and the result is food insecurity. Here is the case for a change in focus.
  • Extending the American Revolution Overseas: Foreign Aid, 1789-1850 by John Sanbrailo
    March 2016
    Foreign aid is a long-standing American tradition in the spirit of “a universal mission to nurture freedom and prosperity in other countries.”
  • Development Aid to Africa: Time for Plan B? by Don Lotter
    April 2016
    Redirecting funding to support education—and specifically, online programs—holds the potential for empowering communities and facilitating sustainable development.
  • Humanitarian Diplomacy Q&A with Kelly Clements, Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees
    April 2016
    Humanitarian diplomacy does not have a clear definition in international law but draws strongly on the principles of independence, neutrality, and impartiality.
  • Delivering Foreign Agricultural Aid to Africa—What Works? by Barry Hill
    May 2016
    An evaluation of three case studies with lessons learned from the keen perspective of a USAID Foreign Service officer, observer, and evaluator.
  • Why USAID’s New Approach to Development Assistance Is Stalled by Thomas Dichter
    December 2016
    USAID’s growing isolation from the countries it seeks to help leads to frustration on the part of many of its best people, as well as engendering some disdain for the “locals” who are less and less understood.
  • Foreign Assistance: Time to Sharpen a Vital Diplomatic Tool by Thomas C. Adams
    January-February 2017
    Here are eight recommendations to rationalize U.S. foreign assistance and, thus, greatly increase its effectiveness.
  • USAID FSOs Reflect on Global Health Diplomacy by Maria B. Spadacini
    May 2017
    Health-focused development programs have been a core activity at the U.S. Agency for International Development since the agency’s establishment in 1961.
  • When Criticism Falls on Deaf Ears: The Case of U.S. Foreign Aid by Thomas Dichter
    November 2017
    How critical is foreign aid in the alleviation of global poverty? The modern aid-industrial complex has very different outcomes on the ground than in theory.
  • Helping Europe Help Itself: The Marshall Plan by Amy Garrett
    January-February 2018
    The European Recovery Program, better known as the Marshall Plan, is often cited as one of the most effective U.S. foreign policies of modern times.
  • USAID Election Assistance: Lessons from the Field by Assia Ivantcheva
    May 2018
    When it comes to peace, the electoral cycle approach is the only viable conflict mitigation approach because it covers the period before, during, and after an election.
  • USAID in Afghanistan: What Have We Learned? by William Hammink
    July-August 2018
    A retired Senior FSO presents lessons from the largest USAID program since Vietnam, a 17-year engagement that has pushed the agency’s capacity to the hilt.
  • In the Field with USAID FSNs
    December 2018
    What follows are ground-level views from four USAID FSNs working for the U.S. government on meaningful projects.
  • BUILDing Better Development Financing by Rep. Ted Yoho
    April 2019
    The BUILD Act consolidates various federal development programs and agencies into one full-service, self-sustaining U.S. International Development Finance Corporation.
  • USAID Transforms by Chris Milligan
    December 2019
    Here are the highlights of USAID’s ongoing Transformation initiative, undertaken to better meet the development challenges of the 21st century.
  • Energy Diplomacy Works: How Power Africa Redefines Development Partnerships by Andrew M. Herscowitz
    March 2020
    More than 570 million people in Africa are without access to electricity. Power Africa’s goal is to drive power projects that will provide more than 30,000 megawatts (MW) of new power generation and help create 60 million new electricity connections for homes and businesses by 2030.
  • Whatever Happened to Microfinance? A Cautionary Tale by Thomas Dichter
    June 2021
    A rigorous examination of the context for microfinance and the poor it seeks to reach is exactly what should have been done from the beginning. A review of just some of the contextual issues offers a cautionary tale of how important (and challenging) it is to understand them.
  • Q&A With USAID Administrator Samantha Power
    November 2021
    Power is the first USAID Administrator to also be a member of the National Security Council, where she aims to ensure that development plays a critical role in America’s responses to a range of economic, humanitarian, and geopolitical issues.
  • USAID at 60: An Enduring Purpose, A Complex Legacy by John Norris
    November 2021
    As the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, marks its 60th anniversary this month, the moment is ripe to reflect on both its accomplishments and shortcomings.
  • A Partnership-Centered Approach to the Indo-Pacific by Jonathan Ahlstrom
    November 2021
    To capitalize on its advantages in building enduring partnerships, the United States must intensify efforts to bring allies together to maintain global peace and prosperity in the trans-Pacific region and beyond.
  • Higher Education and the New Scramble for Africa by Jonathan Ahlstrom
    September 2022
    Investments in African institutions of higher education are an effective yet underutilized instrument of American diplomacy and development.
  • Ukraine Reconstruction: Priorities, Institutions, and the Private Sector by Michael A. Lally
    October 2022
    Although analysts will likely draw parallels with previous reconstruction efforts in the Middle East and South Asia, Ukraine presents a completely different scenario.

Diplomatic Security

Diplomatic Tradecraft

  • The Case for Specialists by One of Them by Henry Ford
    October 1950
    The facts appear to be that it is neither possible nor desirable for FSOs to become competent generalists. Today, our interest in the world is so varied and so complex that we must obtain expert information and advice on highly technical and specialized economic, political and social developments in every corner of the earth.
  • The Care and Feeding of Ambassadors by Robert McClintock
    December 1950
    When an ambassador asks you to do something, do it at once. In my practice I have found nothing which more disposes an ambassador to heartburn, excess of bile, or an increase in blood pressure than to give an order to a subordinate and find it not done promptly. When an ambassador wants something done, do it now; or if you think it should not be done, at once tell him why.
  • What! No Specialists? by Thomas A. Goldman
    January 1951
    The merger of the consular and diplomatic branches created a unified Foreign Service in which the senior officers were either consular or diplomatic “specialists.” The myth of the “generalist” apparently arose as a reaction to this situation. It never passed beyond the stage of a myth because it simply did not fit the realities.
  • The Soldier and the Diplomat by Robert D. Murphy
    May 1952
    While I was stationed in Algiers during World War II, a Major General called to ask why a representative from the Department of State was permitted at Allied Force Headquarters. After our discussion he readily agreed to it, but he had never been informed of the need to relate closely the work of the political branch of our government with that of the military.
  • The Art and Practice of Diplomacy by Sir Charles K. Webster
    November 1952
    Diplomacy has become to a very large extent not so much a relation between two states, but as a complex of relations inside groups of states and between different groups of states. No two governments negotiate without being acutely aware of the effect of their actions on other governments and very often the actual transactions, whether in formal or informal conference, must be multilateral.
  • The Art of Summarizing by H. Lee Staples
    March 1953
    It would be a waste of time for some to read complete documentation, and a summary serves the purpose of providing them with the essentials. Furthermore, high officials in the department and chiefs of mission in the field must keep abreast of a vast number of complicated subjects, and because of the very heavy demands on their time, need to be informed in the briefest possible way.
  • Some Fundamentals of Political Reporting by William P. Cochran Jr.
    April 1953
    There used to be prevalent in the Department of State and the Foreign Service the belief that the ability to do political reporting was a mysterious, intuitive talent, which you either had, having been born with it, or you didn’t have. This concept is outmoded; but in abandoning it, there has been a strong tendency in the other direction: to assume that anyone who is literate is ipso facto a qualified political reporter.
  • Diplomacy and the Press by Henry B. Cox
    January 1954
    Having served both as a political officer and as a public affairs officer I have become increasingly absorbed by the problem of press relations as it affects the operations of the Department of State and the Foreign Service. Both the career political officer and representatives of the press have a vital task in keeping the people of a democracy properly informed about developments in the field of foreign affairs.
  • Diplomacy’s Threefold Nature by William P. Cochran Jr.
    November 1954
    One reason why it is impossible to draw a nice, neat chart of foreign policy is the fact that it deals primarily with intangibles. Fundamentally, diplomacy is occupied with the impalpable of political science, with power relationships and power vacuums, with the interplay of political and economic forces, with the clash of ideologies.
  • Organizational Management of the Small Mission by S. Paul Miller
    December 1954
    The members of the Foreign Service, motivated by esprit de corps, are willing to put up with what many consider to be serious inequities for the sake of getting the job done. But increasingly they are realizing that there is not enough money in the budget to support individualism for its own sake and that the Service must start to function even more as a precise, efficient, professional team.
  • Executive Responsibilities in the Foreign Service by James F. Grady
    August 1955
    A great deal of confusion exists as to what we mean by the terms “administration,” “management,” and “executive direction” and, in particular, about the specific functions and responsibilities of the top executives of a Foreign Service post. One deputy chief of mission recently asked me, when we were discussing the responsibilities of a deputy, “Are we supposed to be super-administrative officers?”
  • The New FSI Training Program by Harold B. Hoskins
    November 1955
    For some time, the Institute has had the legal backing to perform its part of this job. The President and the Secretary are giving the reorganized Institute the tremendous impetus of their support, and the Congress has voted the program the financial sinews required to get results. With the backing and cooperation of the Foreign Service itself it is our belief that the new training program can be of considerable benefit to every officer and to the government which it is our privilege to serve.
  • Some Problems of Political Reporting by Martin F. Herz
    April 1956
    The U.S. Government is probably now more copiously informed on developments in foreign affairs than any other government in the world. But, it is highly questionable whether this means we are better informed. Indeed, the very quantity of incoming intelligence has confronted us with new and important problems of evaluation, problems of procedure on the reporting and receiving ends, which involve new difficulties and even dangers.
  • How to Write The Memorandum of Conversation by Robert W. Rinden
    October 1956
    The memorandum of conversation is the backbone of political reporting. It also is the embodiment of what’s left of the elegant tradition in diplomatic correspondence.
  • 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.
  • Planning in the Department by George Kennan, Paul Nitze, and Robert Bowie
    March 1961
    In an effort to focus and clarify Foreign Service thought on the subject of policy planning, the Journal presents in the following symposium the views of those who have directed the Department’s Policy Planning Staff since its inception in 1947, to which former Secretary Herter has generously added his own views.
  • Foreign Policy and the Political Officer by Dean Rusk
    April 1961
    President Eisenhower on November 8, 1960 issued Executive Order No. 10893 restating the authority and responsibilities of the Chief of Mission for the supervision and coordination of all United States Government activities in the country to which he is accredited. In an accompanying memorandum of the same date, the president interpreted and elaborated the provisions of the Executive Order. These documents define more precisely than ever before the role of the Chief of Mission.
  • Coordination—and the Modern Chief of Mission by Elbert G. Matthews
    April 1961
    I think we need to concern ourselves with the timeliness of action. Every policy officer cannot help but be a planning officer. Unless we keep our eyes on the horizon ahead, we shall fail to bring ourselves on target with the present.
  • Executive Ability in the Foreign Service by Frank Snowden Hopkins
    November 1962
    The Department of State and Foreign Service has at one time or another tried to face up to one central problem—how to produce in the same individual officer the skills of the foreign affairs operator and policymaker, and the skills of the effective executive directing the work of others.
  • The Foreign Service Assignment Process by John Ordway
    June 1963
    The assignment process as it now operates represents a series of compromises between different objectives and different interests. It is easy to pick out single aspects of the process and show how they could be improved, but every improvement in one direction represents a deterioration in another. Changes must look at the system as a whole.
  • The Ambassador by William P. Beaulac
    October 1964
    There are all kinds of governments in the world, and all kinds of persons in government. But our responsibilities are so great that our representative, if he is to work usefully and not get us and our friends into trouble, must be a person who measures up to those responsibilities; in other words, a man who can be trusted.
  • The Initiatives of Diplomacy by R. Smith Simpson
    March 1965
    Often an officer must decide for himself, in the light of local circumstances, how quickly to move on an instruction. To know when to do something is as important to success as to know what to do and how to do it, and each officer is being paid for his discretion in these things.
  • Proposal to Establish a Foreign Service Officer Training Corps by Marshall Bennett
    September 1965
    While the quality of young officers in the Foreign Service is generally high, it could certainly be improved. The majority of Foreign Service officers enter the department with significant gaps in their education which necessitate extensive and expensive training which should have been received before entering the Service.
  • A Foreign Service Training Corps by various authors
    February 1966
    Marshall Bennett’s recent article, “Proposal to Establish a Foreign Service Officer Training Corps,” was one of the most useful, most interesting articles the Journal has published in many months. It has stimulated not only letters, but four full-blown articles in response.
  • Nerve Center 1967 Style by Victor Wolf Jr.
    August 1967
    The roles played by the State Department Representatives in the National Military Command Center and the Military Representatives in the State Operations Center perhaps give a useful insight into the special complexities of command and control in the 1960s. Especially, of course, with the issues dealing with crisis management.
  • The Art of Negotiation by Winthrop G. Brown
    July 1968
    The techniques you use in negotiating with your American colleagues within the government, or the Congress, or indeed the public, are the same as those you use abroad. The point is that it is essential for any negotiator, before he can face the other parties abroad, must know exactly where he stands at home, where he will be backed up and how far, and how much discretion he is given.
  • Estimates and Influence by Sherman Kent
    April 1969
    There are a number of things about policymaking which the professional intelligence officer will not want to hear. Not all policymakers can be guaranteed to be free of policy predilections prior to the time they begin to be exposed to the product of the intelligence calling. Indeed, there will be some policymakers who could not pass a rudimentary test on the “facts of the matter” but who have the strongest views on what the policy should be and how to put it into effect.
  • How We Do Our Thing: Policy Formulation by John W. Bowling
    January 1970
    A central, if not the central, function of the State Department is to assist the president in the formulation of foreign policy. But this is a fuzzy concept; there is no clear dividing line between the setting of policy and its execution.
  • How We Do Our Thing: Crisis Management by John W. Bowling
    May 1970
    Crisis management is real. The apparatus makes quick crisis decisions. They may or may not be the best decisions, but they are much too fast and too good to have come out of the advocacy system used in day-to-day policy formulation. Crisis management bypasses the standard policy formulation mechanism and is a separate process, with only marginal overlap with the policy formulation process.
  • Management in the Foreign Service by E. Gregory Kryza and William E. Knight
    March 1975
    …not only does the Service provide an officer with little direct training in management as he progresses, there is no commonly accepted understanding of what good management consists…It has been our experience in inspecting 48 Foreign Service posts during the past three years that what might be called the “Osmosis Theory” of management has the devoted support of more officers than any other. This holds that intelligent people working together will arrive at effective relationships through the contacts that ordinarily take place between supervisors and supervised in the course of each day.
  • Contacts with the Opposition by Martin Herz
    January 1980
    If our government is to be properly informed about events and trends in a foreign country, if it is to be able to anticipate what is going to happen, then our embassies naturally have to have contacts not only with the governments but also with the opposition.
  • Negotiation by Increment by Jonathan Dean
    July-August 1983
    Sudden shifts in Soviet negotiating positions should not be expected, for neither the system nor the officials involved can cope with anything but gradual change.
  • The Modern Ambassador: A Journal Report by Frances G. Burwell
    December 1983
    A symposium on “The Modern Ambassador: The Challenge and the Search,” sponsored by Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, was motivated by the concern among the diplomatic community about the quality of ambassadors and the relative merits of career and political ambassadors.
  • Plotting FSI’s Course: An Interview with Steven Low
    May 1986
    As the Foreign Service Institute enters its fortieth year in 1986, changes are afoot. We talked with Stephen Low, director of the institute since April 1982, about how FSI is meeting these present and future challenges.
  • Mid-Course Corrections by Frances G. Burwell
    May 1986
    During the past year, the State Department has studied its own professional development program, especially the place of training at the middle levels, and has launched an extensive renovation. Starting this spring and running through the summer of 1987, a series of new and redesigned courses will begin as part of the effort to make training more relevant to Foreign Service needs and experiences.
  • Policy Planning at its Pinnacle by David Callahan
    November 1987
    In late April 1947, Secretary of State George Marshall summoned George Kennan to his office and made a very special request. He asked Kennan to put together a staff devoted to long-range foreign policy planning. The details of who would be on this staff and how it would work were left up to the career diplomat. The Secretarv had only one bit of advice: “Avoid trivia.”
  • More than A Move,” with former and current Directors of the Foreign Service Institute
    October 1993
    Shortly before the opening of the new NFATC campus, The Foreign Service Journal interviewed FSI Directors Grove and Taylor on what the NFATC will mean for the Foreign Service and for U.S. foreign policy.
  • Training Tomorrow’s Diplomats by Teresita C. Shaeffer
    October 1997
    State’s agenda needs to focus on training diplomats to understand their contacts in foreign countries, the highly specialized elements of U.S. foreign policy, and the interests of Americans whose lives are increasingly intertwined with the outside world. FSI is well-positioned to adapt to diplomacy’s future training needs.
  • Diplomacy, Force and The Diplomat-Warrior by Howard K. Walker
    September 1998
    Even “soft” diplomatic issues often require military assistance. Dealing with “soft” 21st century crises will require symbiosis between diplomacy and the military.
  • How to Measure an Ambassador by J. Michael Cleverley
    March 2007
    There should be a measure, one that newly appointed chiefs of mission are aware of and that the State Department can use to evaluate their performance in meeting American objectives in their countries and missions. There are at least three distinct fields in which most chiefs of mission operate on a day-to-day basis.
  • Who’s In Charge Here? By Shawn Zeller
    December 2007
    The issue of who wields authority over American embassy personnel — particularly those who don’t work for the State Department — continues to prompt interagency conflict, as it has for years. What’s notable today is the upsurge in such personnel. That, in combination with an amorphous war on terrorism, has raised the question anew of whether ambassadors remain the president’s chief representatives overseas.
  • Chief-of-Mission Authority: A Powerful but Underutilized Tool by Edward Peck
    December 2007
    Representatives of more than 30 federal agencies are currently stationed in U.S. embassies, where they manage and advance their particular organization’s agenda based on instructions from headquarters. When their efforts are coordinated under the country team umbrella, they can achieve great things, but this happens far less often than it should.
  • Pursuing the Elusive Training Float by Shawn Zeller
    July-August 2012
    Through the Diplomatic Readiness Initiative, intended to rebuild a Foreign Service gutted by a decade of flat or declining budgets, State quickly hired more than a thousand Foreign Service personnel, exceeding the rate of attrition. Unfortunately, the demand for Foreign Service personnel grew so voraciously that allowing them to stay in Washington to pursue long-term professional training was a luxury most posts couldn’t afford.
  • At FSI’s Helm: An Interview with Ruth A. Whiteside by Shawn Zeller
    July-August 2012
    In recent years, it became clear we cannot send trainers out to all the regions, and bureaus and posts can’t afford to send a lot of people back to Washington for training. So we’ve tried to come up with a different model that appears to be well-received.
  • The Art of Political Reporting by Dan Lawton
    July-August 2014
    All Foreign Service work is vital, but the reporting function is truly fundamental to the success of U.S. foreign policy. Yet the challenges to reporting officers in the field today are particularly acute.
  • Diplomatic Reporting: Adapting to the Information Age by John C. Gannon
    July-August 2014
    While technology enhances brainpower, it is no substitute for it. In the end, it is talent and passion for crisp, incisive reporting that sustains the State Department’s gold standard for reporting from the field.
  • The Diplomatic Academy: A First for Britain’s Foreign Office by Jon Davies
    July-August 2015
    So why set up such a diplomatic training institution now? In essence, we have recognized that the expectation that we could rely on "on the job" training was increasingly unrealistic, and that we needed to ensure we could provide consistently strong learning across the whole range of what constitutes diplomacy.
  • Working With the U.S. Military: 10 Things the Foreign Service Needs to Know by Ted Strickler
    October 2015
    The Foreign Service takes pride in its foreign cultural expertise and language proficiency. Similar preparation is needed when working with the U.S. military. The following 10 points skim the surface of what the Foreign Service needs to know when working with the U.S. military today.
  • The Value of Military Training for Diplomats: A Personal Story by George Staples
    October 2015
    Never pass up a chance to sit in on a meeting where military personnel are at the table helping formulate recommendations on how to resolve a problem. To serve effectively one day as a senior diplomat, it is essential to gain as thorough an understanding as possible of our colleagues in uniform and the way they approach national security issues.
  • Diplomatic Training: New Trends by Kishan Rana
    September 2016
    Training represents an investment in the future; like all investments, it should be examined in terms of the value delivered. Besides financial resources, there is also the investment of time by officials, trainees and training organizers to be considered.
  • How to Get More Bang for Our FSI Buck: Engaging Foreign Diplomats and Diasporas by Michael Rosenthal
    September 2017
    The State Department, using FSI’s capabilities, should seek to improve tradecraft and increase interoperability with foreign diplomats by sharing best practices and conducting joint simulations and training. FSI can also better engage America’s diaspora communities, leveraging their ties with homelands and connecting the department with taxpayers countrywide.
  • It’s Practical: Training the Next Generation of Diplomats by Edward “Skip” Gnehm
    September 2017
    For our students, we must first identify the skills that are most valuable in the diplomatic profession, and then seek out tangible ways to address them both in and out of the classroom. The goal is, ultimately, to produce well-qualified, competent individuals for careers in the dynamic and challenging arena of international diplomacy.
  • The Making of an Effective Diplomat: A Global Review by Robert Hutchings and Jeremy Suri
    December 2017
    Thanks to funding and guidance from the American Foreign Service Association, the two of us led a project at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs aimed at examining the practices of diplomatic services in other major countries to see what lessons we might draw that would be helpful in improving the effectiveness of American diplomacy.
  • The Foreign Service Institute at 70: Recalling a Proud History by Steven Alan Honley
    December 2017
    Though much has changed at FSI in its 70 years of operation, it has never lost sight of its core mission: to serve those who serve America around the world. Underpinning it all, FSI works to forge a strategic view of the future direction of the world and equip its students to navigate through it.
  • The Diplomat and the State by Christopher Smith
    May 2020
    Applying Huntington’s characterization of what defines a profession to the Department of State’s Foreign Service officer corps, the U.S. diplomatic profession can better define itself, bolster its institutional strength at a transformative period in international affairs, and improve key audiences’ understanding of the vital, unique role diplomats play in achieving U.S. national security objectives.
  • Twenty-Five Year Apprenticeship: A Digital Forum
    May 2020
    The project is a collective effort to offer both a practical manual for dynamic diplomacy and a forum for folks to ask for advice and mentorship, as well as a space to offer ideas and best practices. It is founded on the premise that all of us in the State Department could and should strive to develop our professional expertise throughout our career.

Dissent (Click here for the McCarthyism collection)

  • 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.
  • Harry Bingham: Beyond the Call of Duty by Ellen Rafshoon
    June 2002
    FSO Hiram Bingham helped rescue some of the 20th century’s greatest artists, writers, and scientists, including painters Marc Chagall and Marcel Duchamp.
  • 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?
  • Foreign Service Advocacy and Dissent: Where Wave-Makers Can Prosper by Edward Peck
    June 2002
    A past AFSA dissent-award winner and retired ambassador argues that, contrary to popular opinion, dissent may actually enhance a Foreign Service career.
  • 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 K. 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
    Retired Senior Foreign Service Officer 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
    Ambassador 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.
  • Deconstructing Dissent by Amelia Shaw
    September 2015
    FSO 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 perceived 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.
  • Pushing State to Prevent Illegal Adoptions by Wendy Brafman
    September 2017
    Faced with growing evidence of malfeasance in intercountry adoptions in Uganda, this FSO decided on a course of constructive dissent to correct the problem.
  • There Is No “Complacent State” by Andrew Kelly
    October 2019
    Convincing the American people and politically appointed officials that the career Foreign Service really does place duty above partisan considerations is made more difficult by former officers who feel the need to publicly justify their private decision to resign.
  • When Is It Ethical to Resign in Protest? by Steve Walker
    December 2022
    Using a case study from the Bosnia War, a Senior FSO discusses the ethics of resignation over policy.
  • Celebrating—and Strengthening—Constructive Dissent by Eric Rubin
    December 2022
    Constructive dissent is a long Foreign Service tradition. The formal Dissent Channel dates back to the U.S. wars in Southeast Asia and the widespread opposition of members of the Foreign Service to such U.S. actions as the Christmas bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong and the bombing and invasion of Laos and Cambodia.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility

  • Beyond the Call of Duty Editorial
    October 1963
    It was certainly within the scope of the Secretary’s responsibilities to point out that the failure of the United States to live up in practice to what it preaches in its Constitution and Declaration of Independence is exploited by the communists in their attempts to belittle the U.S. claim to leadership of the Free World. These observations, and the difficulties that derive therefrom in the conduct of our foreign policy, were in the line of duty for the Secretary to point out.
  • When There’s a Willis There’s a Way by Val Paraiso
    February 1969
    Many “firsts” received some perverse publicity which tended often to obscure Miss Willis’ real career achievements. As she puts it, “much of the publicity about my career was because I was ‘the first woman ever to do’ whatever it was. That was inevitable because the only two women who had entered the Service before I did had resigned before I had been in the Service two or three years. For approximately thirty-five years, that is until I retired in 1964, I could not escape from being the senior woman in the Service…Throughout my career I proceeded on the assumption that sex had nothing to do with diplomacy.”
  • Feminism in Foggy Bottom: Man’s World, Woman’s Place? by Sandy Vogelgesang
    August 1972
    Bad news! A “movement” is invading the sanctum sanctorum. Women of the Foreign Service—whether secretaries, staff personnel, or officers—are making it clear that they will not let what one FSO calls “the last bastion of male elitism” stand unchallenged.
  • The Status of Women by Ms. Jones
    January 1978
    If a supervisor really wants to get the most out of a woman assigned to the mission—and 1 suspect some secretly see themselves as martyrs doomed to carry an extra burden for the sake of women's lib—perhaps he should ask himself a few soul-searching questions: Do you assign a woman officer the same workload, both in substance and volume, that you would assign a male officer of the same grade and experience? Do you find yourself looking around for jobs “suitable for women?” Do you try to “help her out” by taking over the more challenging assignments, rather than letting her take what comes?
  • Building a Representative Foreign Service by Congressman Gerry Sikorski
    July 1990
    I respect and admire those who have worked their way to the top and survived the rigorous training and hardships. However, I am discouraged by inequality in a system that appears to stack the deck in favor of a select few.
  • Opening Doors To The Blind: The Long Road to Post by Ellen Rafshoon
    October 1991
    At a March ceremony, Rabby and Masterson were inducted into the Foreign Service. They were promised machines that can read English and foreign-language material out loud, desktop computers with voice ability, Braille printers, and portable computers for taking notes. They will be assigned personal assistants to read classified documents. All of this costs money, but is no more than required of other agencies by 1973 law.
  • The Gender Benders: Quotas for Women in the Foreign Service by James Workman
    October 1991
    That case, Palmer v. Baker was the most significant instrument of reform from 1976 to the present. It has challenged virtually all of the testing, hiring, assignment, evaluation and promotion practices of the Department of State. Alive and as controversial as ever, the case has a direct bearing, for better or for worse, on every level of personnel decisions in the Foreign Service. So why doesn’t anyone want to talk about it in public?
  • Defining Advantage: Fairness and the Meritocracy by John P. Owens
    October 1991
    For the U.S. Foreign Service, the question has become how to balance the commitment to making the Foreign Service more representative with the need to maintain the highest professional standards. The question may be fairly posed, since State Department management has declared its determination to hire women and minorities in rough proportion to their ratio within U.S. society at large. But the implementation of this goal has sometimes conflicted with the Foreign Service tradition of a diplomatic service as a “meritocracy.”
  • Management Deaf to Hispanics’ Complaints, Concerns by Dan Santos
    September 1995
    Hispanics’ grievances in the foreign affairs agencies have remained constant over the past 30 years. Hispanics remain underrepresented, and many believe that they are not being fairly treated in terms of tenure and promotions.
  • The Case for Racial Diversity in the Foreign Service by Kenneth Longmyer
    May 1996
    Diversity in America’s diplomatic service received its first official endorsement in the 1960s. Concerned with America’s image abroad, when the Soviet Union was competing with the United States in the Third World, President John Kennedy and Secretary of State Dean Rusk decided to increase the number of blacks in Americas diplomatic corps. They believed an all-white diplomatic corps would undermine America’s efforts to promote democracy in non-aligned countries and undermine the claims of equality in America. But there are stronger reasons than cosmetic for promoting diversity in America’s diplomatic corps.
  • The Issue of Age by Sharna Marcus
    November 1996
    When budget cutbacks forced the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to lay off 97 Foreign Service employees last June, 96 were over the age of 40. Now nearly a third of that older group is filing a class-action lawsuit, charging age discrimination.
  • The Issue of Sexual Preference by Richard Gilbert
    November 1996
    In the State Department especially, once a bastion of the conservative, orthodox and elite whose history includes some of the U.S. government’s darkest chapters of homophobia, male gay FSOs have had remarkable success since 1992 in winning guarantees of non-discrimination amid altering regulations to ensure equal treatment.
  • The Issue of Disability by Francine Modderno
    November 1996
    Although the Foreign Service has handled few cases of employees charging bias on the basis of disability, this type of discrimination is the third most common complaint in the American workplace.
  • The Issue of Class by Hume Horan
    November 1996
    Although the Foreign Service continues to draw recruits predominantly from Ivy League schools, those institutions have increasingly opened their doors to non-WASPS, allowing the Foreign Service to democratize its ranks as well. Still, can it be argued that members of the Foreign Service share qualities that amount to class-like distinctions?
  • The Issue of Gender by Dan Kubiske
    November 1996
    What Alison Palmer, who would never realize her dream of becoming a political officer overseas, never considered was the nightmare her ambition would launch, giving her a place in U.S. history not for her insightful political reporting but for becoming the first woman to file a sex discrimination lawsuit against the State Department.
  • The Issue of Race, Ethnicity by Francine Modderno
    November 1996
    As in the general American workforce, racial and ethnic discrimination is the most common complaint of employment bias in the Foreign Service— and there are signs that the climate may only worsen. “How can the Foreign Service be effective in doing business around a world whose majority of inhabitants are non-white, when it discriminates against its own non-white employees?” asks Theresa Watson, an attorney for black FSOs in a class-action racial discrimination lawsuit that has been pending since 1986.
  • Ending USAID Hispanic Employee Neglect by Francisco Zamora
    September 2002
    Accordingly, Powell’s dynamic leadership at State has included an unapologetic advocacy for increasing involvement of Hispanic-Americans in the Foreign Service. Toward that end, he has dramatically augmented the recruitment budget and has even hired a full-time recruiter to target Hispanic applicants.
  • Achieving Full Diversity in the Foreign Service by Ajit Joshi
    November 2004
    These struggles all come down to parity, equity, dignity—and employee productivity. If we are to recruit and retain a productive workforce in an era in which development, defense and diplomacy are the three pillars of national security, our human resource policies must embody those values—just as we advocate those principles for the stakeholders in the countries in which we work.
  • Why Women’s Involvement in Peacebuilding Matters by Kathleen Kuehnast
    April 2011
    Is carrying a gun the only way for women to get a place at the peace table? This provocative question was posed by one of the participants at the Women and War Conference held in Washington, D.C. Indeed, most peace negotiations are dominated by men, many of whom were once active combatants in the conflict being settled. Isn’t it time for the negotiating table to be set for those who are going to build the peace, including women?
  • TLG: Expanding Opportunities at State by Stacy D. Williams
    May 2013
    In 1973 William B. Davis and Roburt Dumas, African-American employees of the U.S. Information Agency, became interested in identifying career paths for the advancement of African-American employees of USIA, State and other foreign affairs agencies. The duo organized meetings over lunch with likeminded African-American officers on the first Thursday of each month, inspiring Davis to dub the organization the “Thursday Luncheon Group.” Today, the informal mentoring program Davis and Dumas launched four decades ago has grown into a robust organization…it is also the oldest of the 12 State Department employee affinity groups recognized by the Office of Civil Rights.
  • Celebrating our Past, Uplifting Our Future by Morgan McClain-McKinney
    May 2013
    As part of a wider effort to organize a celebration of African-American leadership in foreign affairs, a group of volunteers at the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development launched a research project in 2011. Our mission was to compile a database of African-Americans who have contributed to international development and diplomacy, either through employment with government agencies or at nongovernmental organizations.
  • Pride Every Day by Steven Giegerich
    May 2013
    In its 21-year history, Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies has already achieved dramatic success in its work to secure full parity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender personnel and their families, both in the United States and overseas. Founded at a time when simply being LGBT was grounds for denial or revocation of a security clearance, GLIFAA has largely accomplished its original mission: to combat discrimination in the employee clearance process. Now, in partnership with key allies at all levels across the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, it is working to raise greater public awareness of LGBT issues and to deliver substantive, equitable policy changes for LGBT employees.
  • EW@S: Supporting and Mentoring Female Leaders by Cynthie Saboe
    May 2013
    Five years after its founding, Executive Women at State has become a strong advocate of gender parity and diversity, within both the Foreign Service and the Civil Service.
  • Diversity and Cultural Competence: Mission Critical Elements of U.S. Foreign Policy by Ernest J. Wilson III
    May 2013
    To prioritize diversity, organizations like the State Department must think boldly, beyond the legacy paradigms of “affirmative action,” “diversity,” or “inclusion.”
  • Keeping Faith with State’s Wounded Warriors by Juliet Wurr
    November 2013
    I spent months trying to find an individual or office at State designated to help me. But I was aghast when, time and again, I was told that no one had a mandate to help. Employees in the Office of Medical Services and the Bureau of Human Resources were kind and welcoming, but eventually they admitted they had nothing to offer me. The truth was that no one at State had a mandate to offer assistance to an employee with compromised abilities and bills for an illness contracted while serving at a hardship post.
  • Hispanic Representation at USAID: Why So Low for So Long? by Jose Garzon
    March 2014
    Periodically, I am asked to speak to Hispanic and minority students aspiring to enter the Foreign Service or the U.S. Agency for International Development. I can hardly resist the chance to tell my own life story and describe the places where USAID has sent me. The Foreign Service is a great career, I tell them, and I encourage them to consider taking the plunge…But while my agency is sincerely trying to recruit a more diverse workforce, it has consistently failed in terms of Hispanic representation for decades.
  • Toward a Foreign Service Representing America by Lia Miller
    June 2015
    Historically, and for the bulk of its existence, the U.S. Foreign Service was comprised of upper-middle class white males. This trend held true until the mid-to-late 1970s, when the State Department developed programs and launched various initiatives designed to ensure that U.S. embassies and consulates around the world look like America: diverse and multicultural. The goal remains an ambitious one, and the results so far have been mixed.
  • Human Rights for LGBT Persons: Aiming for Sustainable Progress a Q&A with Special Envoy Randy Berry
    June 2015
    I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work hard to protect, preserve and advance the human rights of the global lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. I think it’s important to highlight that my new role isn’t “Special Envoy for LGBT Rights”—it’s “Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons.” It’s a meaningful distinction, since the concept underscores our very approach to these issues—as a core human rights issue, not as a special or boutique issue.
  • Diversity in Diplomacy: The Mentoring Dimension by Jennifer Zimdahl Galt and Thao Anh Tran
    June 2015
    A diversity-focused mentoring program has the power to alter participants’ behaviors for the better in terms of their ability to interact with a diverse group of people, process diverse ideas and internalize diverse values. It also provides members of underrepresented groups with career advancement paths in the Foreign Service. When managers mentor with a focus on diversity, they acquire a heightened awareness and become strong advocates for diversity across the department.
  • Making Inclusion Real: Affinity Groups in Action by collected authors
    June 2015
    While State provides many services to accommodate people with disabilities, most employees are either unaware that they exist, do not realize the process of securing assistance, or are too afraid to self-identify their disability and make the request.
  • The DS Melting Pot by Rhonda (RJ) Bent Rabetsivahiny
    March 2017
    In the U.S. law enforcement community, Diplomatic Security has a reputation for being a bit of a melting pot. Unlike other law enforcement agencies that hire for a narrowly defined skill set, DS needs and attracts people from a variety of backgrounds.
  • Ebenezer Bassett: The Legacy of America’s First African-American Diplomat by Chris Teal
    June 2018
    Just days after the Battle of Gettysburg, Bassett and other black leaders organized a recruiting drive for black soldiers. Bassett had the honor of being the second speaker of the night, making his speech immediately preceding Frederick Douglass…That activism proved crucial years later when General Ulysses Grant won the White House in 1868. The new president was eager to reward leaders in the black community like Bassett who had helped preserve the Union.
  • Diversity—Not Just a Cause for the Underrepresented by Jay Porter
    September 2018
    Individuals who question how they fit into a diverse workplace should remember that the value of diversity is not in an individual’s race, gender or ethnicity; it is in the experiences and insights that those attributes often bring…All of us bring unique life experiences to our work, and employees who focus on their lack of physical manifestations of diversity will miss valuable opportunities to contribute to a diverse team.
  • Dual Identity and Diplomacy by Sandya Das
    May 2019
    I slowly learned to navigate challenges with confidence, despite the occasional discomfort and trepidation I felt. More importantly, I found ways in which my Indian identity was an asset to my diplomacy, helping me bond more closely with people I met—whether through an affinity for Bengali sweets or another shared Indian connection. As the months went by, I began to embrace and fully appreciate my dual identity with a newfound sense of honor and pride.
  • Changing Mindsets on Race at State by P. Michael McKinley
    July-August 2020
    To the best of my knowledge, mission leaders worldwide implemented department guidelines or instructions against discrimination, and they supported updated training as it became available. Black History Month events are central to every embassy I know. None of these actions, however, have been fully successful in addressing the question of the mindset on race
  • Diversity at State: A Dream Deferred and a Collective Responsibility by Ana Escrogima, Lia Miller and Christina Tilghman
    September 2020
    We should all be concerned about a State Department living in two worlds: with one set of officers who must cope with such experiences while navigating their careers, and another set who are unaware of or indifferent to such hardships. Our hope is that this moment in American history will inspire an honest conversation about what it means—and what it will take—to truly value and support diversity in our organization.
  • Making Diversity and Inclusion Real in Foreign Affairs reports from the Employee Affinity Groups
    October 2020
    The employee affinity groups (EAG) of the foreign affairs agencies are on the front lines of advocating for a more diverse and inclusive Foreign Service, one that, as the Foreign Service Act of 1980 mandates, should look like America.
  • One Bureau’s Model for Moving Forward by Stacy D. Williams
    October 2020
    Today, with persistence and support from across all leadership levels, including from Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Julie Chung, WHA’s Diversity Council is putting into practice policy, programming and processes to advance its key pillars: recruitment, retention and professional development.
  • Diversification in the Foreign Agricultural Service by Valerie Brown
    October 2020
    As an African American woman representing the U.S. agricultural industry in foreign lands, I am more often than not the only person who looks like me at the table, in a reception or at the podium. Often I get to be the one to educate the people I encounter overseas about the United States—who we are, what we look like, and who we are still striving to become.
  • The Payne Fellowship: Boosting Diversity at USAID by Youshea Berry
    October 2020
    Since its inception, the Payne Fellowship has opened the door for qualified, educated and diverse young professionals to help USAID leverage their experiences as development professionals and diplomats.
  • State’s Problems Are Not New: A Look at the Record by Richard A. Figueroa
    October 2020
    What is most troubling is the lack of urgency that top officials have displayed in statements they make out of public earshot regarding deficiencies in retention and promotion of women and minorities…In the aftermath of the tragic murder of George Floyd, with renewed vigor for addressing systemic discrimination inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement for racial justice, we now have a unique opportunity to reform “the system” and get rid of the “old boy network” that has prevented the State Department from truly representing the “face of America” overseas, one that reflects the richness of cultures and diversity of this country.
  • Female, (Won’t) Curtail & Yale: Waiting to Exhale by Samantha Jackson, Ayanda Francis-Gao, Lisa-Felicia Akorli, Aja Kennedy, Annah Mwendar-Chaba and Tessa Henry
    November 2020
    As Black, female, Ivy League graduates and members of the Foreign Service, we feel a responsibility to disrupt the good ol’ (white) boys’ club stereotype of the FSO (“Pale, Male and Yale”) that lingers, ghostlike, around the State Department.
  • How the 1619 Project Can Help Public Diplomacy by John Fer
    May 2021
    Not only is the project an important focal point in the discussion of the problem of racism taking place in the United States today, but the controversy surrounding it illustrates both the complexities of the issue and the give and take of vigorous debate in a democracy.
  • How the Transition Center Expands Inclusion by Maryum Saifee
    July-August 2021
    As Secretary Antony Blinken frames diversity as a national security imperative and a precondition to solving the complex challenges of the 21st century, the Foreign Service Institute’s Transition Center could be the department’s best kept secret in building this more agile and inclusive workforce
  • Rooting Out Microaggressions by Charles Morrill
    July-August 2021
    As societal norms and legal protections against overt discrimination have evolved, scholars of microaggression contend that while people may no longer participate in overt or bigoted behavior, they may engage in unconscious or subconscious behavior that reflects their implicit biases.
  • Three Myths That Sustain Structural Racism at State by Michael Honigstein
    July-August 2021
    To seriously address structural racism in the State Department, I believe we need to start by addressing three pernicious and interrelated myths that help perpetuate our system of white male privilege: Diversity is a bonus, equal is fair, and white males should be the default frame of reference.
  • The Power of Vulnerability by Tianna Spears
    July-August 2021
    An individual can create more change and progress by holding strong to their values. Rather than having the life beaten out of you, it’s best to put your hands up; and as I’ve learned, there is power in vulnerability and telling your truth.
  • Asian Americans Can No Longer Be Silent, and Neither Should You by Kim Bissonnette
    July-August 2021
    We Asian Americans need to raise awareness and make our stories and needs visible. It’s about speaking up, whether you are a witness or a victim.
  • Achieving Parity for Women in the Foreign Service by Kathryn Drenning
    July-August 2021
    Representation at the top will have a significant impact on women’s career advancement in the department, but we must also focus on identifying and removing the institutional barriers keeping women from advancing in greater numbers and driving them to leave before they can compete for top jobs.
  • Diversity and Inclusion in the U.S. Foreign Service: A Primer by Harry W. Kopp
    July-August 2021
    A historical look at gender, ethnic and racial diversity in the Foreign Service and the long and uneven battle for progress.
  • Speaking Out: A Paradigm Shift for Diversity by Lia Miller, Ana Escrogima and Christina Tilghman
    November 2021
    Diversity, equity and inclusion are not just management principles to deploy to address workforce challenges; they are about people. These values should permeate every aspect of our mission, including our outward-facing efforts.
  • The Office of Diversity and Inclusion Turns One: An Interview with Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley June 2022
    This interview is adapted from the transcript of AFSA’s April 5 “Inside Diplomacy: Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Foreign Service,” featuring a dialogue between AFSA President Eric Rubin and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley.
  • The FAS Diversity Fellowship Answers: “Why Not?” by Valerie Brown
    June 2022
    The Foreign Agricultural Service has launched a pathbreaking initiative to bring diversity to its ranks. Here’s how it happened.
  • The Payne Fellowship Network: Advancing DEIA at USAID by Mariela Medina Castellanos
    June 2022
    The Payne Fellowship turns 10 this year. It is modeled after the Pickering and Rangel Fellowships at the Department of State and, as such, is a critical mechanism for enhancing diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) in the agency’s Foreign Service.
  • Supporting State’s LGBTQI+ Workforce by Thomas Coleman
    June 2022
    The Secretary’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (S/ODI) is strengthening existing and developing new policy to integrate diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) into our day-to-day work, which will make us a stronger, smarter and more creative institution.
  • A Foreign Service Career—Blindness Didn’t Stop Me by Roy Glover
    June 2022
    The evaluation and promotion process contains potential pitfalls for disabled members of the Foreign Service, the first blind FSO attests.

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.
  • Playing Catch-Up with China’s Fintech Strides by Yaya J. Fanusie
    April 2023
    The evolution of financial technology will likely determine the future of money, not to mention the world balance of power. China’s work on digital currency is a pointer.
  • What Should We Know About Digital Currency?
    April 2023
    In this Q&A, Crypto Council for Innovation CEO Sheila Warren offers a primer on newly emerging, complex financial technologies.


  • 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 1939
    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. TheJournal 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 theJournal’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.
  • 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.
  • Retirement Planning 101 by John K. Naland
    April 2020
    It may be years away, but the sooner you think about and plan for your retirement, the better it will be.

Foreign Service Women / Women in Diplomacy

  • The Appointment of Lucile Atcherson
    January 1923
    The appointment of Miss Lucile Atcherson, of Columbus, Ohio, to be a third secretary of embassy or legation was confirmed by the Senate on December 4, 1922. Miss Atcherson is the first woman to be appointed to a career post in the American Foreign Service.
  • When There’s a Willis There’s a Way by Val Paraiso
    February 1969
    These many “firsts” received some perverse publicity that often tended to obscure Miss Willis’ real career achievements. As she puts it, “much of the publicity about my career was because I was ‘the first woman ever to do’ whatever it was. … For approximately thirty-five years, that is until I retired in 1964, I could not escape from being the senior woman in the Service.”
  • A Gallery of Women in Diplomacy
    February 1969
    A gallery of serving female diplomats, their careers and their stories.
  • Today’s Junior Officer—Female Interviews by Constance V. Stuck
    February 1969
    How do junior female Foreign Service officers see the Foreign Service and the world they live in? How do they see themselves? Highlights of their interviews follow.
  • An Interview with Margaret Mead on the Woman Diplomat by John M. Cates Jr.
    February 1969
    Intrigued with the idea of the FSJ devoting an issue to the theme of women in world affairs, I happily took off one afternoon to discuss with that paragon of successful women, Margaret Mead, the problems, the possibilities and the challenges for women in the career Foreign Service.
  • Feminism in Foggy Bottom: Man’s World, Woman’s Place? by Sandy Vogelgesang
    August 1972
    Bad news! A “movement” is invading the sanctum sanctorum. One speaker at a recent Foreign Service gathering warned that the message of women’s rights represents more of a threat to the traditional State Department than does Henry Kissinger.
  • Women in The Foreign Service: A Quiet Revolution by Barbara J. Good
    January 1981
    Improving the condition and rights of women, both in the United States and worldwide, is a formidable task; we are aware that we have embarked on a long journey where progress is hard to measure. But, looking back at the Foreign Service over the last decade, progress is visible while far from enough.
  • Twenty Years After the "Women's Revolution": A Personal View by Marguerite Cooper
    February 1991
    In November 1990, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Women’s Action Organization (WAO) in State, USAID, and USIA. I would like to share my recollection of the heady days of the “women’s revolution” and the many years that followed in an evolutionary crawl toward greater freedom of choice.
  • How are FS Women at State Faring? by Margot Carrington
    May 2013
    AFSA State Vice President Louise Crane posed a provocative question: “How Are Foreign Service Women at State Faring?” Her findings indicated women were being promoted within the Senior Foreign Service at rates equal to men, yet proportionately fewer women were being selected for chief-of-mission positions.
  • EW@S: Supporting and Mentoring Female Leaders by Cynthia Saboe
    May 2013
    Five years after its founding, Executive Women at State has become a strong advocate of gender parity and diversity, within both the Foreign Service and Civil Service.
  • Lucile Atcherson Curtis: The First Female U.S. Diplomat by Molly M. Wood
    July-August 2013
    In 1922, the first woman permitted to take the Foreign Service exam passed with the third-highest score that year. But it was only the first of many hurdles she faced.
  • Challenging Tradition Excerpts from Elinor Constable, Phyllis Oakley and Mary Olmsted
    March 2016
    This selection of excerpts from the oral histories of three retired female Foreign Service officers—Elinor Constable, Phyllis Oakley and Mary Olmsted—brings to life the atmosphere of the Foreign Service in the second half of the 20th century. These are but a few voices from that era, but they convey the spirit and determination of the generation that witnessed and helped open the way for women in the career Foreign Service.
  • On Assignment with Maxine Desilet, 1949–1955 by Suzanne Cofer
    March 2016
    After resigning her existing position and attending to personal affairs, she reported to Washington, D.C., on April 1, 1949. She considered herself lucky, because during the postwar years thousands were applying to join the U.S. Foreign Service. What follows are excerpts from her letters home and her efficiency reports.
  • Foreign Service Women Today: The Palmer Case and Beyond by Andrea Strano
    March 2016
    Alison Palmer launched the legal battle for female equality at the State Department in 1968 with the first equal employment opportunity complaint ever heard from the Foreign Service. She followed her 1971 victory in that case with a class-action suit on behalf of all women in the U.S. Foreign Service. Today’s impartial entrance criteria, evaluation and promotion policies, and assignments processes all stem in large part from “the Palmer Case,” which was fought in various phases over more than 30 years.
  • Federal Women’s Program for the Future by Thao Anh Tran and Kristin Stewart
    March 2016
    The FWP’s roots go back to 1961 when President John F. Kennedy created the Commission on the Status of Women to examine barriers facing women in the federal government and to enhance employment opportunities for women in every area of federal service. At the State Department, the FWP helps ensure that women receive equal opportunity in recruitment, selection, training and advancement in the Foreign and Civil Services.
  • Ten Leadership Tips for Aspiring Women by Erin Soto
    March 2016
    I offer my top 10 recommendations for professional advancement. While they are not only for Foreign Service women, I offer them with FS women in mind, and with the hope that sharing practical suggestions based on what I’ve learned about leadership during the course of a Foreign Service career and beyond will help set you on the path of a rewarding life and successful career.
  • A Pioneer in Saudi Arabia by Andrea Farsakh
    March 2016
    In the Middle East, one female officer found embassy management a greater obstacle than the conservative local culture.
  • Making It Work: Conversations with Female Ambassadors Interviews Conducted by Leslie Bassett
    July-August 2017
    During a virtual ambassadors’ roundtable, initiated by the group Women Ambassadors Serving America, seven female envoys agreed to share their experiences building both their careers and their families, and the specific successes and challenges they encountered along the way.
  • Coming into Their Own ‘Write’—A Look Back at an FS Women’s Writers’ Group by Francesca Huemer Kelly
    November 2018
    During the days when most Foreign Service spouses were called “wives” and a female FSO had to resign if she got married, a small, resourceful group of FS women writers came together to get their work published. They were members of the Association of American Foreign Service Women Writers’ Group, formed in 1965 by Elizabeth “Biffy” Sanders.

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.

George P. Shultz

  • The Inscrutable Secretary by Daniel Southerland
    April 1983
    Secretary Shultz’s trip to East Asia in early 1983 reveals a lot about the man, how he operates, and why he is well on his way to becoming one of the most effective Secretaries of State.
  • How Can the Foreign Service Remain Effective for the Next 60 Years? contribution by George Shultz
    November 1984
    Foreign Service officers should consider broadening their horizons as much as possible. Assignments outside areas of specialization, outside the department, and indeed outside government will be extremely valuable to officers who will face difficult issues in the high-tech, electronically fused world of the year 2000 and beyond.
  • Standing at the Crossroads by Jim Anderson
    October 1987
    Like a flash of summer lightning, George Shultz’s appearance before the Joint Select Iran Committees illuminated the man, his philosophy and his methods. The nation saw a dignified, angry Secretary of State, loyal to his president, but deeply troubled by the White House machine that routinely manipulated and shielded Ronald Reagan. The nation also saw a Secretary who had allowed himself to be systematically undercut.
  • Beyond Reykjavik by David Callahan
    September 1988
    For moving the arms control process so far, Reagan and Gorbachev have been praised around the world. However, one man deserves as much if not more of the credit for ushering in this new era of superpower amity: Secretary of State George Shultz.
  • Great People to Work With an interview with George P. Shultz
    March 1989
    I [George Shultz] have never heard loyalty questioned in any meaningful way, and my own experience has been that Foreign Service people are talented and energetic. If you’re willing to work on the problems, they’re willing to work with you right on into the night and over the weekend. It’s a great group of people to work with.
  • School for Scandal by Jim Anderson
    May 1993
    Shultz pleaded with Reagan not to claim in the coming news conference that Iran had become more moderate and was moving away from supporting terrorism. But, Shultz sadly told Charlie Hill, “I didn’t make a sale.” He was right.
  • The Lebanon Shuttle: A Case Study by Jim Anderson
    April 1994
    It was with a certain anticipation that 14 reporters accompanied Secretary of State George Shultz and his entourage in May 1983 to the Middle East. Shultz believed he had a chance to settle the problems—including a public perception of American loss of nerve created by the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon and terrorists’ destruction of the U.S. embassy in Beirut.
  • A Life of Public Service: George P. Shultz an interview with George P. Shultz by Steven Alan Honley
    June 2003
    I [George Shultz] came to my job at the State Department in a somewhat different frame of mind than many people do. I was very favorably disposed to these people who devote their lives to public service. So I found the Foreign Service very responsive and I think I worked them pretty hard, lots of them. And they liked that; in a sense that’s what they came for.
  • Cold War Lessons by George P. Shultz
    December 2011
    Rather than cut ties, as his predecessor had done, and over the objections of a great many members of his administration, President Reagan authorized me to go ahead with a scheduled meeting with Foreign Minister Gromyko. The talk at the meeting was harsh and blunt, and at one point Gromyko started to leave but then came back. Our longtime interpreter told me that it was the most difficult and tumultuous meeting he had ever observed.
  • Groundbreaking Diplomacy: An Interview with George Shultz by James E. Goodby
    December 2016
    You have to think you are a global power. That is one of the reasons why the Foreign Service is so important: so you have people of professional quality who cover the globe. That’s why when I hear the idea that we are going to pivot to Asia or something like that, I say it does not sound right to me. We need a global diplomacy. We have to be there, everywhere.
  • On Trust by George P. Shultz
    November 2020
    Now in my hundredth year, I am impelled by recent events to offer my thoughts about what I have come to believe is as crucial an element in public life as it is in private life. I am thinking about trust.
  • Remembering George Shultz by various contributors
    March 2021
    A venerable public servant and statesman, George Shultz was renowned for his congenial temperament, diplomatic acumen and sense of duty. He passed away on Feb. 6, 2021, at the age of 100. In his honor, The Foreign Service Journal invited members of the Foreign Service who knew and worked with the former Secretary of State to send us remembrances, to be published here.
  • A Truly Trustworthy Leader: George P. Shultz, 1920-2020 by Steven Alan Honley
    April 2021
    Many Foreign Service members who served during Secretary Shultz’s tenure in Foggy Bottom (1982-1989) remember him fondly. A thoughtful institutionalist, he not only understood and valued the work of State and other foreign affairs agencies, but advocated for the resources and respect diplomats need and deserve.

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.

Loyalty Boards / McCarthyism / China Hands

  • Stout Hearts Required by FSJ Editorial
    April 1950
    Those of us stationed in Washington this spring have been witnesses to as unpleasant a series of events as any of us can remember. A senator has attacked the integrity of the Department of State, which he accuses of harboring Communists, and this attack has reached out to include a distinguished ambassador and Foreign Service officer.
  • Career Vs. Conscience by FSJ Editorial
    July 1951
    The Foreign Service officer today is searching his conscience and examining his job in a way previously unknown to his experience. He finds a calling which has claimed his abiding loyalty and his unexpressed but deep sense of devotion to country, is being assailed and degraded by irresponsible demagogues.
  • “…pertinent excerpts…” by John S. Service
    October 1951
    What is ominous is a public investigation which by “interpretation” ascribes a meaning to a report that is unwarranted or opposite to the writer’s intent. A recent example is the treatment a few weeks ago by the Senate Judiciary Committee of a memorandum I wrote in April 1944.
  • The Service Case by FSJ Editorial
    January 1952
    The conclusion of the Loyalty Review Board that “there is a reasonable doubt” as to the loyalty of John S. Service is cause for grave disquiet among all members of the Foreign Service.
  • Truth Pursues by FSJ Editorial
    February 1952
    The recently reported results of a study by Professor Hart that 50 statement by Senator McCarthy concerning the State Department are “radically at variance with the facts” calls to our attention once more the damage done by the demagogues.
  • Report on the Service Case by AFSA News
    May 1952
    Because of the direct and tangible interests of every member of the Foreign Service in the loyalty case of John S. Service – who was dismissed on the demand of the Loyalty Review Board – the Journal is reporting on the present state of the case.
  • The Meaning of the Ruling in the Vincent Case for the National Interest and the Foreign Service
    January 1953
    No group of government servants is more convinced of the need for vigilant security procedures than the Foreign Service. Yet the Loyalty Review Board’s letter to the Secretary on the Vincent Case is causing bewilderment and misgiving in our ranks.
  • Memorandum by the Secretary of State in the Matter of John Carter Vincent
    April 1953
    John Carter Vincent, a Foreign Service officer with the rank of Career Minister, has since 1951 been the subject of inquiry and controversy because of his conduct in relation to China and Japan.
  • John Carter Vincent by FSJ Editorial
    April 1953
    The vindication of the name of John Carter Vincent has come as welcome news to the Foreign Service. The stigma of disloyalty is a terrible thing, and all members of the Foreign Service will welcome the decision of Secretary Dulles to reverse the findings of the Loyalty Review Board.
  • Bohlen Debate by Lois Perry Jones
    May 1953
    It is important that in our exercise of the advice-and-consent clause of the Constitution, as a Senate, we follow a course of action that will send to Moscow a strong ambassador, and not one who we have destroyed before we send him there.
  • China and the Foreign Service January 1952
    March 1973
    To the Department, the reversal implies that its Loyalty Security Board, despite carefully selected members and diligence in its examinations, is either inept or biased or both.
  • “Why Policy Makers Do Not Listen” by Barbara Tuchman
    March 1973
    We have gathered to honor a group of Foreign Service officers – represented in the person of Jack Service – whom history has recognized as having been right; and not only history, but even, by act if not by acknowledgement, the present administration.
  • Foreign Service Reporting by John Service
    March 1973
    The group of officers you are remembering today have some things in common beyond shared experiences in China and post-China. One of these is that we were primarily political reporting officers, but another is that we are all strong-minded individuals. To pretend to speak for this group would be foolhardy. I speak for myself alone.
  • “Only in Rejection Could There Be Vindication” by John Service
    March 1974
    The situation in China appears to be developing in some ways that are not conducive to effective prosecution of the war, nor to China’s future peace and unity.
  • “On All the Evidence” by O. Edmund Clubb
    December 1974
    I asked to be informed of the basis of the decision of my termination. Humelsine replied, in what should become a classic in jurisprudence, that “The Board felt that you were less than fully frank.”
  • “The Case of John Paton Davies, Jr.” by James Fetzer
    November 1977
    It is clear that the search for Communist subversives that took place in the United States reached beyond the pursuit of leftists. John Davies’ troubles in particular were not limited to questions about his reporting during World War II or the direction taken by the federal loyalty-security program.
  • The McCarthy Years Inside the Department Of State by John W. Ford
    November 1980
    Few people who lived through the McCarthy era in the Department of State can ever forget the fear, intimidation, and sense of outrage which permeated Foggy Bottom. As a Foreign Service officer, I found myself caught up in that political whirlwind in which reputations were jeopardized, integrity questioned, and disloyalty frequently presumed.
  • “Stand By Your Man: Caroline Services Talks about the Trials and Tribulations of a Foreign Service Wife” by Jewell Fenzi
    July 1994
    People wondered if Jack would really go back to the State Department. Actually, the Supreme Court decision stated that Jack had never been out of the Foreign Service, nor never should have been out.
  • “John S. Service A Cold War Lightning Rod” by Hannah Gurman
    November 2010
    Most Americans first heard of John Service in February 1950 after Senator Joseph McCarthy gave his famous speech claiming he had a list of 205 State Department employees who were members of the Communist Party. Service was near the top of McCarthy’s list.
  • “The McCarthy Witch Hunt – Who ‘Lost’ China?” Excerpts from John S. Service
    March 2014
    Service was fired in December 1951. Six years later, the Supreme Court ordered his reinstatement, but the damage to the Foreign Service and U.S. Asia policy was done.

Middle East

  • Middle East Perspective by Parker T. Hart
    April 1971
    We must regain control of the integrity of our Middle East foreign policy, not leave it to the electioneering of New York, California, Pennsylvania and Illinois.
  • Decision on Palestine by Evan M. Wilson
    November 1979
    A fact of life to which we had to resign ourselves was that we were generally unable to find out what U.S. policy toward Palestine was. As early as 1942, Murray proposed that President Roosevelt should be asked to define our policy, but no answer was forthcoming.
  • Jerusalem, 1948 by John Gordon Freymann
    May 1988
    A doctor at the American consulate general witnesses the painful birth of a nation.
  • Palestine: The Problem and the Prospect by Terrell E. Arnold
    October 2002
    No solution is possible unless it takes into account the severe imbalances that exist between the capabilities, actions and situations of the Israelis and Palestinians.
  • Toward a True Israeli-Palestinian Peace by Max M. Kampelman
    May 2003
    There can be no doubt that Jews and Arabs both have historical claims to the land now known as Palestine—a reality that cannot be ignored if we are to deal with the current crisis.
  • Resolving the Palestinian Question by Claude Salhani
    June 2003
    It has been more than 25 years since Egyptian President Anwar Sadat made his historic trip to Jerusalem. Why hasn’t peace come to the Middle East yet?
  • The Holy Land: Can Peace Be Rescued? by Philip Wilcox, Jr.
    December 2006
    The U.S. could, if it wished, break the impasse. So says a veteran FSO and Middle East hand.
  • U.S. Policy and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by Nadia Hijab
    December 2006
    If Rice and Bush want to achieve their personal and policy commitments in the Middle East, they will have to move beyond negotiating piecemeal agreements that are not implemented.
  • Toward a New Foreign Policy Agenda by Robert V. Keeley
    December 2006
    Terrorism in the Middle East is not the cause of the violence we face, but the response to occupation by those too weak to use any other tactic.


  • 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.

Nuclear Diplomacy

  • The Man Who Made Arms Control ‘Respectable’: An Interview with William C. Foster by Nicholas Ruggieri
    February 1971
    Pretty soon, what had seemed a sort of pastime began to attract the very real interest of the Department of Defense, the Atomic Energy Commission and, of course, that of our landlord, the State Department. Some of the brightest minds in the fields of foreign affairs, defense and science joined us. But most important, we had a law—the Arms Control and Disarmament Act of 1961—to help us get things done.
  • Arms Control and the Military Man: An Interview with Lt. Gen. John J. Davis by Nicholas Ruggieri
    February 1971
    My initial reaction upon being assigned to duty with the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency was one of extreme skepticism about the value of such an agency.… On the other hand, I have found that the U.S. attitude toward arms control has been changing slowly over the years, and that there is a growing awareness of the fact that the basic objective of ACDA and DOD is the same, and that is to enhance our national security and that of our allies.
  • The Prevention of Nuclear War in a World of Uncertainty by Fred C. Iklé
    May 1974
    Since nuclear policy cannot possibly be based on actual experience—let us hope and pray it never can—it tends to feed on itself. It gets no feedback from the real world, no empirical evidence of the incontrovertible kind that buttresses the physical and even the social sciences.
  • France, NATO and Tactical Nuclear Weapons by John R. Countryman
    May 1977
    To understand the possibilities now open for greater cooperation between the NATO alliance and France, one must look at the political situation in France, at the concerns of the alliance regarding nuclear strategy, and the link between these two provided by the Pluton. This weapon, which was unveiled in 1975 and is due to go into full service this year, is, as we shall see, a weapons system in search of a European role.
  • The Challenges and Dangers of Nuclear Weapons: American Foreign Policy and Strategy, 1941-1961 by Barton J. Berstein
    September 1978
    Were there missed opportunities in these years for a settlement of the arms race? Had Roosevelt or Truman approached the Soviets on the A-bomb during World War II, as some scientists urged, perhaps the nuclear race could have been avoided. By 1946, there was no possibility.
  • Who Trusts the Russians? The Political Issue of Arms Control Verification by Duncan L. Clarke and Robert H. Gromoll, June 1979
    Since the “adequacy” of verification is a judgmental determination, there will be differences of opinion. No responsible person “trusts” the Soviet Union, or any other nation, in matters of supreme national importance. Trust is not the issue.
  • The Essence of the Debate over SALT II by Stephen A. Garrett
    October 1979
    One of the most striking gaps in the analysis of those opposed to the SALT II treaty is any really systematic discussion of how the United States will in fact be better off if the treaty is rejected. Even if one accepts, for the sake of argument, that a tougher bargain might have been struck with the Russians, simply rejecting SALT as inadequate would be virtually irrelevant to the redressing of the Soviet-American nuclear balance.
  • A ‘No’ to No-First-Use by David Adamson
    September 1982
    Even if both sides had declared that they would not use nuclear weapons first, such pledges are inherently unverifiable and unenforceable. By magnifying the likelihood of the outbreak of conventional war, then the approach recommended actually increases the prospect of nuclear war.
  • Pakistan and the Bomb by Arthur Lezin
    September 1982
    Is the current administration’s policy likely to be more successful than previous efforts in preventing or delaying the development of Pakistani nuclear weapons? How destabilizing would a Pakistan armed with nuclear weapons be to South Asian regional security?
  • Restarting START by David Linebaugh and Alexander Peters
    January 1983
    Today, the United States already has thousands of nuclear weapons it could trade away without jeopardizing its security. And both sides could gain some bargaining leverage from the new and more deadly weapons still under development—a Soviet mobile ICBM, for example, or a U.S. sea-launched cruise missile—providing that leverage is used in negotiations before the weapons are deployed.
  • Truman, Acheson and the H-Bomb by Barton Bernstein
    June 1983
    Acheson, already under attack for “losing” China, did not want to face a domestic political battle on why he and Truman were leaving America strategically weak by not pushing for the bomb. As important, for Acheson, his own sense of America’s military and diplomatic needs led him to stress the likely value of the H-bomb.
  • Accepting Nuclear Weapons by Sam Cohen
    September 1983
    NATO’S central military problem is that it has opted out of the Nuclear Age, while the Soviets have unhesitatingly accepted it. Neither Americans nor Europeans have been willing to contemplate nuclear weapons seriously as warfighting instruments. The Soviets always have.
  • ACDA’s Impact on Arms Control and Its Role in the Future by ACDA directors
    September 1986
    After the founding of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency 25 years ago, arms control is a far larger and more complicated enterprise than it was in those early years, and in some ways a more difficult one. But 25 years after ACDA’s start, the effort to achieve a real reduction in the nuclear danger has really just begun, and all of us are conscious that we have a long way to go.
  • Quick March to Disarmament by Paul C. Warnke
    March 1992
    The nuclear artillery shells and short-range missiles based in Western Europe were intended to offset the presumed conventional superiority of the Warsaw Pact. That pact no longer exists, and its leader, the Soviet Union, has disintegrated. The objective of eliminating all tactical nuclear weapons is no longer unrealistic.
  • Leashing the Nuclear Menace: India’s Position and First World Responsibilities by General K. Sundarji
    June 1992
    It is simplistic to believe that the nuclear problem in South Asia is an Indo-Pakistani phenomenon, which could be sorted out between these two countries. India’s primary concern is China, not because of any inherent hostility, but because sturdy fences beget good neighbors. China’s signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a nuclear power does not in any way reduce the Chinese nuclear threat to India, and the impact of the signing on India’s stand will be marginal.
  • Lowering the Nuclear Threshold: The Specter of North Korea by William Beecher
    June 1992
    If the United States and other concerned governments conclude that North Korea is attempting to evade its commitments under the NPT or its pledges to South Korea not to acquire either nuclear weapons or reprocessing facilities, a daunting decision will confront the world community.
  • Almost a Success Story by Lawrence Scheinman
    February 1998
    The transition from authoritarian to democratic structures, while having an important positive political impact, also has entailed a deterioration of control over nuclear material. Reflecting on a half century of living with nuclear weapons, it is remarkable that despite the broad access to nuclear technology, there exist today only five declared nuclear weapon states, three nuclear-capable states and a few others whose nuclear intentions remain uncertain.
  • Needed: A New Nuclear Contract by James E. Goodby
    July-August 2007
    From the beginning of the nuclear era, the U.S. government recognized that in the arena of nuclear weapons, it has no permanent friends, only permanent interests.
  • U.S. Policy: Interlocking and Reinforcing Elements by Christopher A. Ford
    July-August 2007
    The Bush administration’s multifaceted approach has contributed significantly to preventing further nuclear weapons proliferation.
  • Turnabout is Fair Play by Leon V. Sigal
    July-August 2007
    Washington has put the brakes on North Korea’s nuclear program by opting for talks.
  • Nukes in Russia: Situation Terrible, But Much Improved by Bob Guldin
    July-August 2007
    The Cooperative Threat Reduction program has helped Russia and other states make rapid and valuable strides toward securing their at-risk materials and facilities.
  • Activists and Analysts: The Role of NGOs by Mark Fitzpatrick
    July-August 2007
    Nongovernmental organizations often do not get much respect, but the global nonproliferation regime would be the poorer without them.
  • Organizing for Arms Control: 1945-2009 by Pierce S. Corden
    December 2009
    In the half-century since the failure of the Baruch Plan, the world has witnessed a U.S.-Soviet arms race in which each side deployed tens of thousands of weapons, ready to be launched on short notice—just a single one of which could spell the destruction of a city, its people and its civilization. But it has also witnessed, mainly pursuant to negotiated agreements, rapid reductions in these deployments.
  • A Nuclear Reductions Primer by Sally K. Horn
    December 2009
    The significance of the START follow-on Treaty extends beyond the bilateral military relationship between the United States and Russia. The deep reductions that it envisions and the concomitant commitment to seek even deeper reductions in the future also respond to international calls for demonstrated progress toward nuclear disarmament.
  • The Importance of Verification by Paula A. DeSutter
    December 2009
    No arms control agreement can succeed unless each party is satisfied with the others’ compliance.
  • The Case for the CTBT by Daryl G. Kimball
    December 2009
    Prospects for ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty are much improved. Here is why.
  • What the Iran Nuclear Deal Says about Making Foreign Policy Today by Dennis Jett
    October 2017
    Whether driven by ideology, money or both, the debate over the Iran nuclear issue marked a new low in relations between the Republican majorities in Congress and the Obama administration. It also prompted a remarkable, perhaps unprecedented, level of involvement by groups outside of government. … It was a foreign affairs food fight, with positions both for and against the agreement arguing with great passion and intensity.


  • 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

  • The Golden Sunshine by John Bovey
    May 1975
    Campaign contributions have produced one interesting change since Hawthorne's day: the golden sun of wealthy aspirants now outshines that of the White House. Only an ambassador of the most flagrant dishonesty could find his job lucrative enough to amortize the outlay, and even the detachment of Henry James would be shaken by the scale of bidding in the quadrennial auctions that pass for the selection of plenipotentiaries.
  • Report of the AFSA Committee on Presidential Appointments
    December 1976
    A qualified professional who has served in various foreign posts and has experience in policy formulation in Washington should be better prepared for these responsibilities than the non-career envoy. It makes little sense to recruit and train a corps of foreign service professionals, to give them years of experience at their trade and then to shunt them aside to make room for unqualified political ambassadors.
  • 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.
  • A Diplomat’s Viewpoint: Career/Noncareer by Jack Perry
    October 1980
    I have seen articles by intelligent men arguing that since all ambassadorial appointments are “political,” that is since all ambassadors serve a political function, then there is nothing wrong in making political (i.e. non-career) appointments. This is similar to saying that war is too important to leave to the generals, and has some truth in it; but it suffers from the failure to distinguish between making policy and carrying it out.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • How to Get Better Ambassadors by Dennis Jett
    July-August 2014
    There was also a flurry of stories in the media about the qualifications (or lack thereof) of these nominees, which raised the hope that higher standards might be possible in the future. Presidents appoint people as ambassadors for many reasons, however, and campaign contributions is one of them. Still, money does not have to speak louder than foreign policy credentials.
  • 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.
  • Career Diplomats Matter by Julie Nutter
    May 2019
    Two of the most distinctive characteristics of career diplomats, especially at the senior level, are the ability to understand a country or a region well enough to detect diplomatic opportunities and the ability to turn these opportunities into successful policies.
  • There Is No “Complacent State” by Andrew Kelly
    October 2019
    Foreign Service officers have an obligation to stay out of politics. This is not complacency. It is professionalism.
  • In Support of Professional Nonpartisan Diplomacy
    December 2019
    During this time of unusual attention to diplomacy in connection with the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, we want to call attention to some of the strong voices speaking out in support of professional diplomacy and the U.S. Foreign Service. Here are just a few of them.
  • The Case Against Political Ambassadors by Edward L. Peck
    June 2021
    At managerial levels, the fixed prerequisite to qualify is extensive, job-related experience. The rationale is clear: You must know the work yourself if, as ambassadors must, you are going to direct others who are doing it.
  • Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game? by Eric Rubin
    November 2022
    No other country that I know of fails to fill its key diplomatic positions to this extent. In some cases, we have had ambassadorial positions vacant for as long as five years.
  • Schedule F: Let’s Deprofessionalize Government and Make America Irrelevant Again by Dennis Jett
    January-February 2023
    To vastly increase the number of government officials who obtained their job solely because they helped get the president elected would confirm in the eyes of the world that America should not be taken seriously.
  • Why Senior Leaders Cannot Reform the State Department by John Fer
    March 2023
    In an organization in which one can become a deputy chief of mission or ambassador after only three weeks of mandatory leadership training in a career, how could we possibly develop, unless by accident, into effective leaders?

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.


  • Foreign Service Changes Worldwide
    May 1921
    The diplomatic services of nations around the world are undergoing change and reform, and legislation has been introduced to do the same for the United States.
  • 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.
  • Suggestions for Improving the Foreign Service and its Administration to Meet its War and Postwar Responsibilities by James Orr Denby
    February 1945
    The existing Service is presented with an unparalleled opportunity for helping immediately to remake a whole new world. There is a great deal going on now that the American government has to know about, and the activities of the Foreign Service must be further developed on a modern basis of urgency and scope.
  • The New FSI Training Program by Harold B. Hoskins
    November 1955
    For some time, the institute has had the legal backing to perform its part of this job. The President and the Secretary are giving the reorganized institute the tremendous impetus of their support, and the Congress has voted the program the financial sinews required to get results. With the backing and cooperation of the Foreign Service itself it is our belief that the new training program can be of considerable benefit to every officer and to the government which it is our privilege to serve.
  • 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.
  • Breakout: A Plan for Reforming Our Foreign Policy Institutions: Part 1 by William Cleven Veale
    January 1981
    For over three decades the turbulent winds of a changing world have tested the mettle of the Department of State and the Foreign Service. The record of those years suggests to many that both institutions are severely wanting. Well-intended measures for reform have invariably peaked and faded away after a few years, feeding expectations that future measures are doomed to a similar lack of lasting impact.
  • Diplomats & Terrorism: A Former Hostage Looks at the Need For Physical Safety and Multilateral Accords by Bruce Laingen
    September 1981
    Shortly before I was taken hostage in Teheran, a cartoon appeared in the newspapers. The agent was handing an American couple tickets for an overseas vacation and saying: “By the way, here’s the address of the American embassy. In case of trouble, don’t go there.” Amusing but true. And a sad commentary on the circumstances in which the Foreign Service carries out its work at many of our missions.
  • 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.
  • Five Years After the Act: The Fate of the Service by Thomas Boyatt and William Bacchus
    February 1986
    Since then, feelings about the act and its effect have run high, especially as the Service has attempted to address such questions as promotion rates, the shape of the average career, and the effect of overseas service on families. Whether fairly or not, the act has been seen as central to these controversies.
  • Give Up Visas? By Diane Reimer Bean and Frances T. Jones
    July 1993
    With a popular mandate to make government less expensive and more responsive, the president’s team has moved to streamline the State Department. Among the ideas being debated is the proposal to merge the visa function of Consular Affairs with the functions of the Immigration and Naturalization Service to combat gridlock in the enforcement of immigration laws
  • The Death of Crisis-Management Exercises by Alan W. Lukens
    September 1993
    Over the past eight years, 330 crisis-management exercises have been held in our overseas missions. Almost without exception, consulates and embassies have given high marks to these crisis-management exercises. Now the State Department, under the gun to economize, has decided to wind up this important program at the end of the current fiscal year.
  • Train, Reward More FSOs as Multilateral Negotiators by Stephanie Smith Kinney
    February 1997
    In the primarily bilateral world of the Foreign Service, embassies and geographic bureaus have little interest in issues, processes or players that further overload or weaken their bilateral prowess. As a result, the Foreign Service is missing an opportunity to carve out new areas of expertise in multilateral relations, which severely limits FSOs’ career options.
  • The DRI Rides to the Rescue by Niels Marquardt
    April 2004
    Arguably the most important and successful human resource management initiative undertaken at State in decades, the Diplomatic Readiness Initiative has not only revitalized the department’s operations but has enhanced our readiness for coming challenges.
  • Pursing the Elusive Training Float by Shawn Zeller
    July-August 2012
    The goal was to create a surplus “float,” or reserve, of officers that would allow full staffing of posts overseas even as a sizable contingent underwent long-term education and training in Washington. Unfortunately, the demand for Foreign Service personnel grew so voraciously that allowing them to stay in Washington became a luxury most posts couldn’t afford.
  • Paying the Price of Expeditionary Diplomacy by James Stephenson
    October 2013
    U.S. diplomacy and development are increasingly conducted from fortress embassies, from which diplomats sally forth, protected by shooters who intimidate and alienate the very people the diplomats are trying to help and influence. That constraint on the work of diplomacy and development is a sword of Damocles hanging over the necks of decision-makers.
  • The Greening Diplomacy Initiative: Capturing Innovation by Caroline D’Angelo
    April 2014
    The Greening Council provides a forum for cultivating, aligning and enacting employee ideas; developing and implementing department-wide policies; and driving innovation and coordination across all bureaus and diplomatic missions abroad. With senior support behind them, individuals are free to explore, design and implement greening programs, both inside missions and with local community groups.
  • A Diplomacy for the 21st Century: Back to the Future? by Marc Grossman
    September 2014
    To imagine a 21st-century diplomatic philosophy, we must start with an examination of first principles: What ideas and values do we bring to diplomacy?
  • Building a Foreign Service for 2025 and Beyond by Arnold Chacon and Alex Karagiannis
    May 2015
    It’s more important than ever to attract and prepare a workforce for the future, bearing in mind that critical attributes are often best learned and honed through real-life experience. The reforms we are launching are designed to do just that: build capacity, experience and perspective.
  • Toward a Foreign Service Reflecting America by Lia Miller
    June 2015
    Historically, and for the bulk of its existence, the U.S. Foreign Service was comprised of upper-middle class white males. This trend held true until the mid-to-late 1970s, when the State Department developed programs and launched various initiatives designed to ensure that U.S. embassies and consulates around the world look like America: diverse and multicultural. The goal remains an ambitious one, and the results so far have been mixed.
  • Challenging Tradition Excerpts from Elinor Constable, Phyllis Oakley and Mary Olmsted
    March 2016
    From the oral history collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, this selection features voices of three retired female Foreign Service officers revered for their ambition and tenacity.
  • A Selection of Articles on Constructive Dissent Compiled by Shannon Mizzi
    September 2016
    The Foreign Service Journal continues to focus each year on the role of dissent in democracy and in the Foreign Service. Here we call your attention to a selection of articles we have published on this topic.
  • Foreign Assistance: Time to Sharpen a Vital Diplomatic Tool by Thomas Adams
    January-February 2017
    In the last three decades we have returned to a highly fragmented system of foreign assistance. The next administration has a good opportunity to rationalize the way the United States administers its foreign assistance and greatly increase its effectiveness.
  • Blue-Ribbon Blues: Why So Many Great Reports and Good Ideas Go Nowhere by Harry Kopp
    September 2018
    History may be depressing, but it is also instructive. Change is difficult, but possible. Reforms must be well thought out and supported by evidence. They must attend to the desire of members of the Foreign and Civil Services to carry out their missions, excel at their work and secure their futures. And they must be driven by a leadership that values the department as an institution.
  • E-Hell: Is There a Way Out? by Jay Anania
    September 2018
    Efficient and secure information technology processes and platforms are the primary requirements for State’s operational modernization. Here is a candid look at the challenges and suggestions for a way forward.
  • What Is It We’re Doing again? Time to Rethink How the State Department Communicates by Peter Lohman
    October 2018
    Ineffective communication patterns between leadership and subordinates as well as among offices at State deserve renewed attention.
  • Radically Simple Ideas for a Better State: Foreign Service 2.0 by JC Windham
    November 2018
    None of the above changes are easy, and many will rail against them as at best naïve or, at worst, malicious. My intent is to generate conversations and effect changes with these ideas that will both make our organization more effective and improve the lives of Foreign Service officers.
  • Reforming State’s Personnel System Could Work This Time by Ron Neumann
    July-August 2019
    Our proposals will not fix all the problems of personnel, some of which are government-wide and emanate from outside State. But we believe they mark significant steps toward a stronger American diplomatic tool. They are designed to help employees and their professional development, and to assist management in fulfilling its responsibilities to its people and its national security mission.
  • How to Strengthen Human Rights Diplomacy by Samuel Downing
    September 2019
    The management structure for human rights work at the State Department disempowers and marginalizes those who work on these issues. Here are five proposed adjustments that could restore both the priority and effectiveness of human rights work.
  • We Have To Be There by Anne Woods Patterson
    September 2019
    I have seen our capacity to prevent conflict and build institutions sharply erode. This makes it more difficult for us to foresee problems, much less shape solutions. Our aversion to risk means that we know less—in fact, we are blind in critical countries. The growth of risk aversion at the State Department has diminished U.S. diplomacy.
  • USAID Transforms by Chris Milligan
    December 2019
    USAID established a Transformation Team in June 2017 to lead the agency’s reform efforts. The resulting Transformation initiative positions USAID to better meet the challenges of this evolving world. Through a series of interconnected, employee-led reforms, we are changing how we are structured; how we work; and how we support our people to better achieve our national goals.
  • Balancing Act’s Formula for Driving Institutional Change by Lillian Wahl-Tuco
    April 2020
    Employee advocacy group Balancing Act “put work-life balance on the map at State” in 2012, learning valuable professional lessons along the way.
  • Evaluation Reform at State: A Work in Progress by Alex Karagiannis
    April 2020
    While improvement efforts in the State Department’s performance management system should remain ongoing, a series of research-backed adjustments in 2015 set the stage for long-term change.
  • Lessons from Silicon Valley: Practical Suggestions for a Modern Workplace by Andrew Moore
    June 2020
    Here are a few recommendations, developed during my stay in California’s innovation hub, aimed at improving how the department supports employees, builds a usable knowledge base, learns from feedback and eases barriers to interoperability.
  • Rethinking Public Diplomacy for a Post-Pandemic World by Jay (Jian) Wang
    July-August 2020
    Today profound, influential societal shifts are reshaping public diplomacy. They compel us to rethink the fundamental assumptions underlying current practices, creating new openings and possibilities.
  • The Future of the Foreign Service facilitated discussion with AFSA President Eric Rubin, Ambassadors (ret.) Nicholas Burns, Marc Grossman and Marcie Ries
    Jan-Feb 2021
    On November 19, 2020, AFSA hosted a conversation with the co-authors of a special report by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, titled “A U.S. Diplomatic Service for the 21st Century.”
  • On State Reform by Dennis Jett
    March 2021
    One of the recommendations in 2001 urged the crafting of a clear plan of action to modernize the State Department, including the transformation of its outdated culture, the embrace of new managerial techniques, and better resource management. In other words, 2021 sounds a whole lot like 2001, leaving one to wonder whether State will ever really be ready for reform.
  • Changing a Risk-Averse Paradigm at High-Threat Posts Abroad by Greg Starr and Ronald Neumann
    March 2021
    Many officers—senior, midlevel and entry-level alike— have concluded that the call to make the security of our officers the highest priority has seriously undermined our ability to carry out what must be our highest priority—fulfilling the national security and foreign affairs goals of the United States. They believe this is a problem that needs to be addressed urgently.
  • Revitalizing State—Closing the Education Gap by David C. Miller Jr., Thomas R. Pickering, and Rand Beers
    May 2021
    The unstructured approach to professional development is inadequate. The lack of leadership support for, and investment in, formal education must change. State cannot depend on excellence at the time of recruitment as a substitute for continuing professional education. It can no longer rely on on-the-job training or mentoring without strategically planned formal professional education at all levels.
  • State U—A Proposal for Professional Diplomatic Education and Outreach to America by Joel Ehrendreich
    July-August 2021
    The State Department does an excellent job of providing entry-level orientation, language training, area studies and deputy chief of mission/ambassadorial training. But when it comes to broader development of foreign affairs knowledge, generally speaking, we are left to pick it up while on the job. For the State Department to win in the years ahead, its leaders need to learn more than languages and writing skills; we need a culture of learning.
  • On CSO’s 10-Year Anniversary: Stabilization Operations in Perspective by Robert J. Faucher and John H. Mongan
    October 2021
    Building on an organization formed specifically in response to events in Iraq and Afghanistan, CSO has evolved over the past decade from what originally was envisioned as a whole-of-government czar for Reconstruction and Stabilization into a functional bureau within State’s J family of civilian security offices and bureaus.
  • Q&A with USAID Administrator Samantha Power
    November 2021
    For too long, we’ve asked too much from too few. Our Foreign Service officers work in some of the most difficult places in the world, often at great risk and at great distance from their homes and loved ones. They are beyond committed; but commitment can only get you so far. Over the next three years, I’m seeking to significantly increase our Foreign Service staff so we can meet the complex challenges we face.
  • On Moves to Modernize: An Interview with Secretary of State Antony Blinken
    January-February 2022
    I committed on my first day in office to leave behind a State Department that is organized and equipped to meet the tests of the 21st century—an even stronger, more effective, agile and diverse institution that can lead America’s engagement in a more crowded and competitive world. That, ultimately, will be the measure of my success as Secretary.
  • Exploring the Secretary’s Modernization Agenda: A Q&A with Policy Planning Director Salman Ahmed
    March 2022
    We are delighted to offer this Q&A with Director of the Policy Planning Staff Salman Ahmed to dig deeper into the specifics of the new Policy Ideas Channel and revitalization of the Dissent Channel.
  • Major Advocacy Milestones Achieved by Kim Greenplate
    March 2022
    The passage of two bills in 2021 – the Foreign Service Families Act and the Department of State Authorization Act – marks a long-awaited turning point for Foreign Service community.
  • Learning the Ropes Through Rotations by Beatrice Camp
    March 2023
    The rotational proposal echoes a practice that those of us who were part of the now-defunct U.S. Information Agency benefited from.
  • Why Senior Leaders Cannot Reform the State Department by John Fer
    March 2023
    A close look at aspects of State Department culture that stand in the way of professional development and leadership training.
  • Towards A More Modern Foreign Service: Next Steps by Marc Grossman and Marcie Ries
    March 2023
    The return of great power competition, preparation for the next pandemic, climate change, rules for new frontiers such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, space, and the Arctic are among the challenges that must be met by focused and vigorous American diplomacy.
  • From Instinct to Evidence in Foreign Policy Decision-Making by Dan Spokojny
    March 2023
    Reforming the State Department and building a more modern policymaking process will take small but meaningful interventions at every stage of the decision process. Let’s examine four stages: knowledge management, analysis and decision-making, tools for learning, and curriculum for vital skills.
  • Meritocracy at State: Who Deserves What by Marshall Sherrell
    March 2023
    How do we know who “deserves” to be admitted into the U.S. Foreign Service? An entry-level officer explores the question.

Russia, the Soviet Union, and Ukraine

  • We Recognize the Soviet Union by Walter A. Foote
    January 1934
    Now that normal relations have been established, historians for generations to come will search for details of Mr. Litvinoff’s visit to Washington and for all possible background regarding his historic conversations with President Roosevelt, Secretary Hull and others.
  • The Soviet Ukraine: Its Resources, Industries, and Potentialities by E.C. Ropes
    August 1941
    The Ukraine, the “bread basket” of the USSR, is chiefly notable for its production of foodstuffs, principally grains, grown mainly in the strip of black soil which stretches across the republic in the south.
  • Visit to a Russian Check Point by Avery F. Peterson
    September 1951
    Just then the Russian soldier clicked the door open with his key and pointedly held it open. I took the knob and pulled it closed—but obviously any plans of paper destruction or paper-hiding were foolhardy. There was only one course, namely, to play it easy and bluff it through as if my luggage consisted of one nylon shirt and a toothbrush.
  • Contacts with the Soviets by Frederick T. Merrill
    March 1959
    All these and many other proposals are being hatched in the chinook of the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Exchange Agreement signed January 27, 1958, which provides on the U.S. side that its citizens be encouraged to engage in cultural, technical, and educational exchange, not only persons but also such media as books, scientific journals, films, radio and TV programs.
  • Scenes from the Soviet Countryside by Marvin L. Kalb
    March 1959
    The Baptist Church on a Sunday morning is an unforgettable scene. It is overwhelming, because it is so real, so true, so unaffected, so sincere.
  • The Voices of Moscow by Don Emmerson
    August 1960
    Others soon realized that their Russian “adventure” was not simply a paid vacation, but a personal responsibility, both to the Russians, to ensure that the picture they received of American life was accurate and complete, and to the American people, to ensure that they were portrayed frankly and fairly.
  • The Soviet Diplomatic Game by Gordon A. Craig
    April 1962
    What is clear, and disturbing, is that the Soviet approach to diplomacy has proved highly effective in promoting Soviet state interest, often to the disadvantage and even humiliation of the West. Because this is so, Soviet diplomatic methods deserve more serious study in our own country.
  • Russia and the West by J.W. Fulbright
    October 1963
    The task of Western policy is not directly to destroy communism as an ideology—an enterprise which the erosions of time and history rather than acts of statecraft will accomplish—but to demonstrate the futility and danger of its misconceptions, while our major energies are dedicated to the strengthening and improvement of our own society.
  • Mission to Moscow by Wallace Carroll
    October 1963
    Khrushchev, with his earthy ways, his peasant shrewdness, his political flair, knew what the Soviet people were feeling and thinking, and he knew that their wants and desires could not be eternally suppressed. And Khrushchev, as Thompson saw him, had the stature and the foresight to move—to ease the terror, to open the doors and windows at least a little.
  • Life as a Russian Worker by Richard H. Sanger
    June 1971
    The few tourists allowed in Russia in those days saw only what the Communists let them see. I decided that the only way to find a clear answer was to go to the USSR as a worker. I therefore “resigned” from the Foreign Service, checked with friends high up in the United States Government, and began contacting left-wing acquaintances.
  • 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.
  • Life as a Russian Worker, Pt. II by Richard H. Sanger
    July 1971
    For the next three months I rose in the pitch darkness at 5:30 a.m., ate a hurried breakfast of cereal, tea, and black bread, and joined a column of silent figures moving to the gate of the zinc plant, urged forward by repeated blasts of the factory whistle which boomed through the fog like the voice of a hungry animal waiting to be fed.
  • To Moscow—With Nostalgia by Peter Semler
    July 1971
    All the more rewarding were those evenings when we could be with the Muscovites at their most relaxed—when they were neither travelers, nor guests, nor out on the town but at home. One does not forget arriving for the first time at a Russian home on a bitter November evening, nostrils signaling their frozen state, to be greeted by a roaring fireplace and generous “riumkis” of medicinal vodka.
  • Eastern Europe: The Unstable Element in the Soviet Empire by Robert F. Byrnes
    July 1971
    Soviet control of most of Eastern Europe has given it forward military bases and possession of the traditional invasion routes into Europe. The Soviet position constitutes a kind of pistol at the head of the West.
  • Fouling Out at Moscow U.: An Athletic Misadventure in Russia by William Shinn Jr.
    September 1976
    I began to be apprehensive when I saw posters appearing around the University advertising the “Soviet-U.S. match.” Disaster seemed all but certain when, on the eve of the game, the Embassy let us down and failed to supply the fifth man we needed.
  • Our Man at Stalin’s Funeral by Jacob D. Beam
    May 1978
    In presenting my ‘personal and official condolences’ orally, I mentioned that Stalin would be remembered in our country as an ally and great wartime leader. With tears in his eyes Molotov rose from his chair to shake my hand, leaving little doubt that his affection for Stalin was genuine
  • Negotiating with the Soviets: Goals, Style, and Method by collected authors
    November 1985
    With the summit between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev approaching and the arms control talks in Geneva heating up, the topic of negotiating with the Soviets has been placed square on the table. Last year the Roosevelt Center for American Policy Studies conducted a series of seminars in which experienced negotiators shared their views on the special characteristics of superpower conversations.
  • Pre-war Moscow: Red Tape and Purges by H.W. Brands Jr.
    May 1987
    With the others of that promising class of 1934 — such as George Kennan and Charles “Chip” Bohlen — Henderson learned the diplomatic ropes in Stalin’s capital, and he acquired opinions and attitudes—especially regarding the untrustworthiness and hostile intentions of Soviet communism—that he would carry for the rest of his life.
  • Cold War Moscow: Diplomacy of Enmity by Walter L. Hixson
    May 1987
    Foreboding gave way to confidence once Kennan arrived in Moscow on May 6. He hoped that his mission would spark a fresh start in U.S.-Soviet relations. Kennan believed that Stalin, having abandoned hopes of world conquest as a result of American displays of resolve, might be ready to forge a settlement in Europe and Asia.
  • Moscow Today: A Conversation with Amb. Arthur Hartman
    May 1987
    The U.S.S.R. is a closed society, and our purpose in being in Moscow is to understand and report on it as fully as possible. So we have to balance the risk and the opportunities. We want our people to know how to handle themselves and to engage, to get out and talk to Soviets and to do what you can only do on the spot in Moscow.
  • The Perils of Perestroika by Daniel N. Nelson
    November 1987
    Gorbachev’s style of “openness,” his criticisms of many Soviet traditions and methods, and his proposed solutions, if implemented, will result in profound changes for Soviet society. Gorbachev has set for himself a surprisingly difficult agenda: reinvigorating economic performance, civic consciousness, and, most broadly, public morality. The outcome of this program, however, is very much in doubt.
  • Helping Russia Reform by Thompson R. Buchanan
    April 1993
    We should be content to watch the yeast of democracy and freedom work slowly, in its Russian way. The ultimate decision—whether Russia earns its place as a responsible power in the family of nations is one that only the Russian people can make.
  • Russian Fallout by Vladimir Shlapentokh
    February 1994
    The same cannons that pounded the Moscow White House into submission on October 4 cannot guarantee that Russia will not endure an authoritative regime in the near future. The election emphasized the pitfalls in trying to gain the support of the people and parliament in promoting economic reform.
  • Helping Russians to Help Themselves by Terry F. Buss
    February 1994
    What I admire most about Russian officials is that they have forgotten past animosities with the United States; they have asked for advice from outsiders; and they have exposed their society’s good and bad to foreigners.
  • New Era Beckons for Ukraine by Roman Popadiuk
    June 1994
    The end of the Soviet Union brought Ukraine its independence, but it also dislocated its economic relations with the former republics and, in particular, with Russia.
  • The Plummeting of Yeltsin’s Star by Vladimir Shlapentokh
    April 1995
    The escalating Chechen war, criticized by the general public as well as the Kremlin’s political enemies, is deflating President Boris Yeltsins popularity, decentralizing his power and seriously jeopardizing his 1996 reelection hid.
  • In Russia: The Kremlin vs. the People by Dmitry Sidorov
    October 2004
    Although definitely not willing to engage in a direct confrontation with the U.S., the Kremlin is trying hard to convince the Russian people that it can stand up to the imagined U.S. threat. In the Kremlin’s view, this “toughness” should serve as verification to the Russians that their nation’s strength, last experienced in the old Soviet Union, has been revived.
  • Understanding Vladimir Putin by Dale Herspring
    April 2007
    While he shares the Kremlin’s traditional preference for centralizing power, Putin’s approach differs from that of his predecessors.
  • Preparing for the Post-Putin Era by Lilia Shevtsova
    April 2007
    There is no reason to assume that Putin intends to remain in the Kremlin beyond the end of his second term, to do so would require a change in the Russian constitution. The leader who dismantles the constitution undermines the legitimacy of his presidency and thereby destabilizes the political system, based as it is on personal leadership.
  • An Impossible Trinity? Resources, Space and People by Clifford C. Gaddy
    April 2007
    Today Russia faces a shortage of one asset that it has in the past possessed in abundance — human beings. It is therefore worth examining Russia’s future in terms of how it deals with the challenge of managing its resources, its space and its people.
  • Russia Confronts Radical Islam by Dmitry Gorenburg
    April 2007
    The attack signaled that, in attempting to deal with Russia’s Muslim minority, the government in Moscow faces a challenge likely to become larger and more difficult in the future.
  • Cold War Lessons by George P. Shultz
    December 2011
    The disappearance of the Berlin Wall is a metaphor for the end of the Cold War, which occurred largely without bloodshed. And the lessons we should learn are potentially useful because security concerns once again threaten the freedom and prosperity of our world.
  • Embassy Moscow: On The Front Lines of History by Jack F. Matlock, Jr.
    December 2011
    The embassy carefully reported the stages of unraveling, based on extensive contacts with government officials and opposition leaders on the one hand and, on the other, the insights derived from deepening involvement with the broader public. Though it conflicted with prevailing opinion in Washington, the embassy’s July 1990 message was not a bolt out of the blue.
  • The View from the Trenches by Thomas Graham
    December 2011
    The unremitting surveillance and harsh physical environment alone would have made Moscow the hardship post it was. But the Soviet authorities tried to make it even harder, to stretch our resources and test our resolve.
  • In the Eye of the Storm: Team Sov by James Schumaker
    December 2011
    Standing at the eye of a growing storm, we could only grasp at the various bits of evidence that came our way to make some sense of what we saw and heard. Our conclusions, at first tentative, became stronger with the passage of time. But neither we, nor anyone else, saw exactly what was coming.
  • Cultural Diplomacy in the Cold War by Yale Richmond
    December 2011
    The end of the Cold War and collapse of communism came after more than 30 years of exchanges between the West and the Soviet Union. The Soviet elite who traveled to the West, as well as many who remained at home, came to realize how far behind their country lagged and how Marxism-Leninism had failed them, and they began to expect more than the communist system could provide.
  • Picking up the Pieces by Michael Lally
    December 2011
    With the crumbling of the Soviet Empire, the demand for economic reporting and commercial diplomacy in the newly independent states soared.
  • The Putin Doctrine and Preventive Diplomacy / The Need for Consensus on American Goals by James E. Goodby
    November 2014
    The USSR is not coming back, but the United States must take a realistic approach to Russia, correctly framing the issues and wielding the tools best suited to strategic priorities.
  • Understanding Russian Foreign Policy Today by Raymond Smith
    December 2016
    U.S.-Russia relations are in disarray, with talk of a new Cold War pervasive. Fortunately, framing the conflict in terms of national interests points to a way forward.
  • The Rise of the New Russia by Louis D. Sell
    December 2016
    This tour d’horizon from the fall of the Soviet Union to today puts U.S.-Russia relations into perspective.
  • Something Happened on the Way to the Market: The Economic State of the Former USSR by Michael A. Lally
    December 2016
    While Soviet successor states have achieved varying levels of economic independence in the past quarter-century, many have, more or less, repudiated the central planning of the past, and look instead to a free market model.
  • Four Centuries and Three Decades of Russian Thinking by Justin Lifflander
    December 2016
    Conversations with Russians of different social strata paint a vivid picture of a country grappling with the meaning of the past quarter-century’s upheavals.
  • Communications Behind the Iron Curtain by Timothy C. Lawson
    December 2016
    This firsthand account of a fire in the secure area of Embassy Moscow on March 28, 1991, conveys the importance and drama of Diplomatic Telecommunications Service work during the last days of the USSR.
  • Groundbreaking Diplomacy: An Interview with George Shultz
    December 2016
    George Shultz reflects on his tenure as Secretary of State in the Reagan administration and the process of making foreign policy and conducting diplomacy during the decade leading up to the fall of the Soviet Union.
  • Ukraine in 2016: There’s No Going Back by William Gleason
    December 2016
    Young Ukrainian leaders battle Russian pressure, endemic corruption and a moribund economy in pursuit of a new, independent identity.
  • Oral History in Real Time: The Maidan Revolution by Joseph Rozenshtein
    April 2017
    Embassy Kyiv’s oral history project will prove useful to historians and may be a model for other posts interested in instituting “exit interviews” of departing staff.
  • Remembering 1989: Berlin Wall Stories
    November 2019
    The FSJ reached out to AFSA members to ask, “Where were you when the Berlin Wall came down? What was the impact on your post, your work, the local environment and the U.S. relationship with the host country?” Close to 50 firsthand accounts came in from people who were then serving in East Berlin, in West Berlin, throughout the region and around the world.
  • Reflections on Russia, Ukraine and the U.S. in the Post-Soviet World by John F. Tefft
    March 2020
    The struggle between Russia and Ukraine, in which the U.S. has been involved for three decades, reflects the challenges of the continuing post-Soviet transformation.
  • The World Through Moscow’s Eyes: A Classic Russian Perspective by Dimitri Trenin
    March 2020
    Equipped with a basic understanding of Russia’s roots and its physical position, U.S. diplomats need to be able to look at the world, including the United States, from Moscow’s perspective.
  • When Lightning Struck Twice: Drawing Down Mission Russia by Michael A. Lally
    March 2020
    As we approach the anniversary of the March 29, 2018, expulsion of our diplomats, their story of grit, professionalism and patriotism reminds us of the Foreign Service ethos and our direct contributions to the nation.
  • U.S.-Russian Nuclear Arms Control Negotiations—A Short History by Rose Gottemoeller
    May 2020
    When the Russians violated the INF Treaty to the point that it was being hollowed out, it was time for the United States to leave. While New START provides us with predictability about Russian nuclear forces and prevents Moscow from building up its nuclear weapons, it is clearly in our interest to stay. We must be clear-eyed when nuclear arms control is serving us well, but not shy away from admitting when it fails us.
  • Russia’s Return to the Middle East by Angela Stent
    July-August 2020
    The COVID-19 pandemic has not constrained Russia’s activity in the Middle East, but it is unclear whether Moscow has a longer-term strategy for the region.
  • Practical Lessons for Today’s Foreign Service by George Krol
    December 2021
    U.S. diplomats in the former USSR had a unique opportunity to better comprehend the world and practice their craft.
  • The Odd Couple and the End of an Era by James E. Goodby
    December 2021
    Thirty years ago, an improbable U.S.-Soviet partnership took dramatic cooperative security steps to end the Cold War.
  • Before Havana Syndrome, There Was Moscow Signal by James Schumaker
    January-February 2022
    During the Cold War, the Soviets beamed microwaves at our embassy in Moscow for decades. It is uncertain exactly when it started.
  • No One Was Listening: Russia, 1992 by Kristen Loken
    April 2022
    I was a USAID FSO involved in the planning for the U.S. democracy program for Russia in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s dissolution. I submit that the actions we took at the end of the Cold War set the stage for the problems we have today.
  • Serbia and Russia and the Coming Balkan Storm by Denis Rajic and Marko Attila Hoare
    July-August 2022
    In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing crimes against the civilian population in that country, the danger of a Russia-sanctioned incursion into the Western Balkans remains acute as the Russian military machine is bogged down in the Ukrainian steppes.
  • Diplomacy, the Third Strand of War and Peace by Fletcher M. Burton
    July-August 2022
    The great Russian novels, a critic wrote, “added something to the nation’s knowledge of itself” and, during Tolstoy’s reign, were sources not just of pleasure but also “guidance and deliverance.” We should open War and Peace in this spirit, seeking an enlarged knowledge of our diplomatic profession.
  • Helping Refugees in Poland by Lilia Lally
    September 2022
    On Monday, March 14, I received confirmation from the Bureau of Consular Affairs that my nomination as a volunteer to assist U.S. Embassy Warsaw with Mission Poland had been approved. Because I was born in Ukraine, participating in this temporary duty (TDY) assignment was my dream from the moment the war began on Feb. 24, 2022.
  • Understanding Ukraine by William B. Taylor
    October 2022
    Ukraine captured world attention when Russia invaded in February. Here, an FSJ Q&A with a former ambassador to Ukraine sheds light on this vexing international crisis.
  • Did NATO Expansion Really Cause Putin’s Invasion? by Ken Moskowitz
    October 2022
    Having served in U.S. embassies for many years in communist Hungary (1986-1989) and later in post–Soviet bloc Ukraine (1997-1999) and Bulgaria (2009-2012), it is clear to me that Russia has mostly itself to blame for the alienation of its former allies.
  • Should Ukraine Have Kept Nuclear Weapons? by Rose Gottemoeller
    October 2022
    The Russian invasion threw the Budapest Memorandum’s efficacy into question. Here are thoughts from a lead negotiator for that important arms control milestone.
  • Ukraine Reconstruction: Priorities, Institutions, and the Private Sector by Michael A. Lally
    October 2022
    While the war rages in Ukraine’s south and east, another campaign has begun, far from the battlefield. It has existential, long-term consequences for the Ukrainian state, Europe, and democratic governance everywhere: the reconstruction of Ukraine.
  • Up Close with American Exhibit Guides to the Soviet Union, 1959-1991
    May 2023
    The USIA exhibit guides were young and enthusiastic, and they spoke Russian. Here’s what it was like to be on the front lines of the Cold War.
  • Broadcasting Behind the (Opening) Iron Curtain by Mark G. Pomar
    May 2023
    The era of open communication following the end of the Cold War has thrown up new, more complex challenges.



  • 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.