The Foreign Service Journal, May 2020

74 MAY 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Larger Than Life His many friends would say, “Tex is big- ger than life,” thinking of his ebullience, good nature and unselfish consider- ation for others more than of his great, prepossessing physical stature. He cared deeply about people, most particularly, of course, the people of the Foreign Service, but really all people. This identification with humanity led to his now-celebrated achievements in Buenos Aires—a perfor- mance bold and career-threatening at the time, but later appreciated as a vindica- tion of Jimmy Carter’s vision of American responsibility for global human rights. Tex was an activist for human rights throughout his life, as well as for the Foreign Service. He was a competent lawyer and a passionate, persuasive advocate. These were significant assets as AFSA struggled to shape the executive order that would determine the relation- ship of the Department of State to its Foreign Service employees. Once, as chairman of AFSA, I was meeting with Under Secretary for Management Bill Macomber to hash out a critical issue. Finally, Macomber said, “OK, I’ll agree with your position—but on condition you not send Tex Harris over here again to argue with us. It is too exhausting.” Lannon Walker, leader of the “Young Turk” reformmovement that changed AFSA and the Foreign Service forever, once said of Tex: “There is not a substantive bone in that great body.” He meant that Tex was concerned with the welfare, family support, fair treatment, career ladder and effectiveness of America’s professional diplomats more than the foreign policy they conducted. That, in fact, is AFSA’s mandate, although the rest of us were more involved in policy issues aside from our AFSA responsi- bilities. Tex wanted all points of view to be heard on every question. He wanted everyone to be informed and engaged, to have a say. First of all a communi- cator, he maintained an active email listserv with scores of recipients. Once in a while his admirable support of comprehensive democracy could prove awkward for negotiations or decision-making, and his colleagues on the AFSA Governing Board would worry about including Tex in the gestation of a sensitive issue not yet ripe for general debate. Anything Tex knew was soon available to the world. The most loyal, patient and thoughtful friend imaginable throughout his too-short life, optimistic, considerate, warm- hearted. If you were interested in gossip or bad-mouthing of others, of anyone, Tex was not your man. I loved Tex Harris and am not reconciled to losing him. —William Harrop P lease help AFSA perpetuate one of the signature legacies of this giant of our profession by donating to permanently endow the Tex Harris Award for Constructive Dissent by a Foreign Service Specialist. Tex championed the creation of this award in 1999 at a time when AFSA dissent awards honored only Foreign Service officers. Since then, 14 specialists have been rec- ognized. Funding for the $4,000 cash award is currently taken from the general AFSA budget; but in memory of Tex, AFSA seeks to raise funds to permanently endow the award. With a generous seed donation of $10,000 from the Help Honor Tex Harris Nelson B. Delavan Foundation, thanks to Ambassador (ret.) William Harrop and Mrs. Ann Delavan Harrop, AFSA hopes to raise an additional $50,000 so that this important award can be funded in perpetuity. Toward that goal, the Foreign Affairs Retirees of Northern Virginia have pledged $1,000 and the Foreign Affairs Retirees of Maryland and Washing- ton, D.C., pledged $500. We hope AFSAmembers and retiree groups will join us to support a fitting living memorial to our friend Tex. To donate, please go to or send a check (“Tex Harris Award” on memo line) to AFSA, c/o Tex Harris Award, 2101 E Street NW, Washington DC 20037. F. Allen “Tex” Harris, State Department, in the 1980s. DEPARTMENTOFSTATE