The Foreign Service Journal, June 2019

10 JUNE 2019 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL The Iraq Tax I couldn’t agree more with Ambassador Stephenson’s April “President’s Views” column on the need to re fund the so-called “Iraq tax” and restore positions tomany of our understaffed, overworked posts. In Riga, where I have been deputy chief of mission (DCM) since 2017, we have seen a tenfold increase in congressional delegations (CODELs) since 2014, and a much larger increase in flag-rank Defense Department visitors. In just the past year, our small political-economic section deliv- ered 152 demarches, 50 percent more than the previous year—we use the equivalent of one entire full-time equivalent (FTE) just delivering routine demarches. We’re lucky here in that whenMis- sion Russia was forced to reduce posi- tions, the European and Eurasian Affairs Bureau (EUR) moved some of the FTEs to Riga. Our neighboring Baltic posts and many others across Europe haven’t been as fortunate in terms of new positions, although they have seen similar increases in workload as Riga. At the recent EUR budget workshop, we heard that over the past decade the Bureau of Budget and Planning has approved exactly zero new overseas positions in EUR. This lack of new positions stands in sharp contrast to an enormous, bureauwide increase in workload, particularly since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. When I was in the DCM class in 2014, then Under Secretary for Management Pat Kennedy told us to forget about getting FTEs because they were too expensive. He urged us to request appointment eligible family member Expanded Professional Associates Programpositions instead. We’ve done that in Riga, but about half our requests for EPAPs have been denied. Nevertheless, we’re thankful for the LETTERS EPAPs we do have—the positions are great for our many qualified family members, and our political- economic teamwould be even more overworked with- out their amazing EPAP. But while EPAPs have an important place inmany missions, they’re not a long-term substitute for U.S. direct-hire positions. It’s time we matched resources with policy goals and began restoring positions to our embassies. Paul Poletes FSO U.S. Embassy Riga Speaking of Father-Son Ambassadors I missed the December FSJ interview with Ambassador Ronald Neumann that referenced father-son ambassador pairs (who had served in the same capitals) from the Neumann and Adams families, but saw Steve Muller’s April letter regarding the Francis family father-son ambassadors. That brought tomind another notable father-son duo: Selden Chapin and his son, Frederic. Selden served as chief of mission in Hungary (as “Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary”), Netherlands, Panama, Iran and Peru. However, his most notable achievement was assembling and herding the 1947 Foreign Service Act through Congress; he was also the first Director General of the FS. Frederic Chapin served as ambassador in Ethiopia and Guatemala. John Treacy FSO, retired Evanston, Illinois The Briggs Father-Son Pair Regarding Steve Muller’s letter in the April FSJ , seven-time Ambassador Ellis O. Briggs (author of the classic mem- oir Farewell to Foggy Bottom ) and his son Everett E. Briggs (also ambassador multiple times, and responsible for help- ing bring Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega to justice) are also an eminent father-son pair of ambassadors. T. J. Morgan FSO, retired Keswick, Virginia Multigenerational Ambassadors I read the letters about the families that have produced father and son ambassadors, and I wanted to report that my family has had three generations of career ambassadors (four individuals). My father, SheldonWhitehouse, was in the Foreign Service for 30 years and served as our chief of mission to Guatemala (1930-1933) and to Colombia (1933-1934). My husband, Robert Blake, was in the Foreign Service for more than 30 years and capped his career as ambassador toMali from 1970 to 1973. My son, Robert Blake Jr., enjoyed his 31-year diplomatic career, during which he served as ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives (2006-2009), and ambassador to Indonesia (2013-2016). Between those two assignments he served as assistant secre- tary of State for South and Central Asia. My brother, Charles Whitehouse, also had a very distinguished career in the Foreign Service, serving as ambassador to Laos (1973-1975) and toThailand (1975- 1978). He also served as president of AFSA (1981-1982). His son, SheldonWhitehouse, is the junior senator fromRhode Island and a great supporter of the Foreign Service. I must add that each of them felt it had been a great honor to serve our country. Sylvia Blake FS Family Member Washington, D.C. n