The Foreign Service Journal, May 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MAY 2020 75 A Constant Inspiring Presence Tex was a Foreign Service guardian. Ever-present, he was AFSA, and AFSA was Tex. I remember well sitting in the tiny closet of a classified reading room at Embassy Bishkek in 1993, reading cables and finding the missives from AFSA President Tex Harris to be most enjoyable. I don’t remember what he said, but his messages made me feel like I was part of something bigger than myself, bigger than my post. Later, throughout my time with The Foreign Service Journal , Tex was there too, as a cheerleader for the Service and for the Journal , always concerned about some new injustice and always advocating for the members of the Foreign Service. He appreci- ated and valued the magazine in a way few others have. I am forever grateful for his support and understanding. When I last spoke with him, in the middle of the October 2019 reception after he’d received AFSA’s Award for Achieve- ment and Contributions to the Association, we had a great talk about the Speaking Out column he was going to write on climate change for an upcoming issue of the Journal . Although he won’t be writing that article, the spirit of his commitment to making the world a better and more equitable place will live on in the Journal , in AFSA and all who knew him. —Shawn Dorman Onward Tex sent me at least 1,000 emails over the 21 years since I first joined the AFSA Governing Board. The last was sent at 9:16 a.m. on the day of his sudden illness and death. Typically, it was not an action request for me, but rather an information copy about a Foreign Service issue that he wanted others to be aware of. That was vintage Tex. He was always working to share information and bring people together toward a common goal. As the first two-termAFSA president (1993-1997), Tex sent almost weekly reports to the field via State Department telegram to keepmembers informed about AFSA’s advocacy on their behalf. His messages often revealed some ill-conceived personnel policy being considered by State or USAID. If agencymanagement persisted in pursuing that policy, they could be assured of reading about it a few days later in the Washington Post ’s “In the Loop” government gossip column. Everyone knewwhere the Post got that information. I was honored to serve with Tex on several AFSA Governing Boards. He cared deeply about diplomacy and the career Foreign Service. It is fitting that the last words of his last email to me were “Onward, Tex.” —John Naland During his second term as AFSA president, in August 1996, Tex Harris (at left) led a demonstration outside USAID Administrator Brian Atwood’s office to demand “better management” at the agency, where reductions-in-force (RIFs) were decimating Foreign Service ranks. AFSA USAID VP Frank Miller is at right. AFSA/ FSJ SEPTEMBER 1996 Joining the Bray Board I was shocked to hear that Tex Harris died less than two weeks after enjoying an email exchange with him that called up memories of our work together in 1970, when I recruited him to an open spot on Charlie Bray’s AFSA Governing Board so that he could help us win the Foreign Service vote turning AFSA into a union to protect our rights. Tex went to work wholeheartedly, a firm support for AFSA over all this time, including his presidency. Although we had been out of touch for years, we picked up a couple of weeks ago, before I wrote this remembrance, where we had left off. I recalled his characteristic gushing warmth as he described his continuing contact and friendship with our mutual AFSA friends. We discovered that we were both alumni of Princeton, and he said he would meet me there at the 70th reunion of my class in 2022. Although he has gone, his memory will long be cherished. —George Lambrakis Australia Days I was a second-tour officer when Tex Harris arrived in Melbourne as our new consul general. “I’m an ideas guy,” he told us. “Most of my ideas will be bad but a few will be good, and it’s your job to tell me the difference.” I took him up on his offer and was tasked straightaway with raising our public diplomacy game. Tex was fond of U.S. Navy ship visits—we put Australia’s top leaders on aircraft carriers and American sailors to work on neighborhood projects. His enthusiasmwas infectious. I remember writing a cable on Australia’s rural-urban divide; it was probably noticed by one bored desk officer and an analyst or two in INR, but Tex heaped so much praise on it I felt like George Kennan. When I screwed up, he didn’t hesitate to tell me that either, and I was always better for it.