The Foreign Service Journal, March 2020

AFSA NEWS THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2020 53 THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF THE AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE ASSOCIATION Honoring Early Diplomats and Consular Officers At its December meeting, the AFSA Governing Board approved adding the names of 48 early American diplo- mats and consular officers who died overseas in the line of duty to the AFSA memorial plaques. The names are now on a virtual AFSA Memorial Plaque at plaques. They will be inscribed on plaques in the C Street Lobby of Main State when funding is avail- able to do so. These colleagues, with dates of death going back to 1794, were unknown to AFSA when the original memorial plaque was unveiled in 1933. The list grew out of research begun in 2007 by FSO Jason Vorderstrasse who, while serving in Hong Kong, heard that a local cemetery held the grave of an early U.S. diplomat whose name was not on the AFSA Memorial Plaques. Mr. Vorderstrasse visited the cemetery and found the gravestone. He later discovered two 18th-century U.S. envoys buried in nearby Macau whose names were not on the memorial plaque. AFSA inscribed those three names on the plaque in 2009, and Mr. Vorderstrasse continued his research. Over the next decade, utilizing the internet and the archives of the Depart- ment of State’s Office of the Historian, he documented more early consular officers and diplomats who had died overseas in the line of duty. Last summer, AFSA Retiree Vice President John Naland invited Mr. Vorderstrasse to forward his research to the AFSA Awards and Plaques Com- mittee. It included 39 indi- viduals whose names and histories were documented by Mr. Vorderstrasse, plus two documented in collabo- ration with retired FSO Peter Eicher, four documented by Mr. Eicher, and three added by Mr. Naland. One of the 48 is well known to history: Commo- dore Oliver Hazard Perry, a hero of the War of 1812. He was appointed in 1819 as a special diplomatic agent to negotiate an anti-piracy agree- ment with Venezu- elan President Simón Bolívar. He died of yellow fever on a ship nearing Port of Spain, Trinidad. The other 47 names are more obscure, primarily consular officers sent to tropical port cities in the 1800s to facilitate American shipping and com- merce. Causes of death were tropical diseases (32), accidents during official travel (six), murder (five), lost at sea (four) and lost during an earthquake (one). Deaths occurred in 30 differ- ent countries across every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Two died of yellow fever while serving as U.S. chargé d’affaires to the Republic of Texas. AFSA is coordinating with the Department of State’s Bureau of Administration in hopes of adding additional plaque space on which to inscribe these names in time for the annual AFSA Memo- rial Plaque ceremony in May 2021. n March 5 12-1 p.m. Webinar: “The View fromWashington” March 11 12-1:30 pm Next Stage: “Executive Search Firms – What Are They Looking For?” March 16 Deadline: AFSA Scholarship Applications March 18 12-2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting March 26 4:30-6:30 p.m. AFSA Spring Happy Hour March 27 12-1 p.m. Job Search Program Graduation Reception at FSI April 8 12-1:30 p.m. Seminar: “Demystifying the Transportation Process” April 15 12-2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting April 30 AFSA Foreign Service Day Open House May 1 Foreign Service Day/ AFSA Memorial Ceremony May 15 Deadline: Nomination for AFSA Dissent and Performance Awards CALENDAR A painting of Oliver Hazard Perry, by Jane Stuart, circa 1857. WIKIMEDIACOMMONS