The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2011

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 1 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 57 ican citizens for property seized by the communist govern- ment of Czechoslovakia and the return to Prague of gold re- serves stolen by Nazi Germany, which had been held in New York and London since their recovery at the end of World War II. In 1985, Amb. Ridgway returned to Washington from her post in East Berlin to praise from President Ronald Reagan for the “careful, clear-eyed dialogue which you were able to establish in this sensitive post.” He noted “the breakthroughs [you] accomplished after patient, difficult negotiations in such areas as religious freedoms, the reunification of divided fam- ilies, and the payment of American claims.” And he added that he looked forward to her “wise counsel and expertise” as assistant secretary of State for European and Canadian af- fairs. For the next four years, Amb. Ridgway led the interagency team supporting Pres. Reagan and Secretary of State George Shultz through all five Reagan-Mikhail Gorbachev summits, was the lead negotiator for all of the summit joint statements, and chaired the summit working groups dealing with human rights. She worked closely with Secretary Shultz to obtain the release of Soviet dissidents and spoke out on behalf of So- viet Jewry. Assembling a talented team of colleagues as deputies, of- fice directors and desk officers, Amb. Ridgway ensured that the rich agenda of European, Canadian and international or- ganization issues that comprised the bureau’s concerns and responsibilities at that time were addressed in a manner that served U.S. interests. After retiring from the Foreign Service in 1989, she served as president, chief executive officer and co-chair of the At- lantic Council of the United States from 1989 to 1996. In 1994, President Bill Clinton named her as chairman of the Board of the Baltic-American Enterprise Fund which, over the next 16 years, worked to assist the strengthening of democracy in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. As required by law, the Fund sold its successful enterprises in 2010 and fi- nanced the creation of the Baltic-American Freedom Foun- dation, a legacy institution dedicated to preserving and enhancing ties between the United States and the three Baltic countries. Amb. Ridgway retired from both the Fund and the Foun- dation in 2011. She is at present chairman of the Board of Trustees of the CNA Corporation, an Alexandria-based not- for-profit organization engaged in operations analysis and so- lutions for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and a variety of federal, state and local agencies. She also served on many corporate boards of directors be- tween 1989 and 2009, including Boeing, 3M, Sara Lee, Man- power, Citicorp/Citibank, Berlitz and Nabisco, and on the boards of the National Geographic Society and the Brook- ings Institution. She was selected as one of Corporate Amer- ica’s Outstanding Directors in 2001. At present she is a di- rector of the Emerson Electric Company, the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs and the Senior Living Founda- tion of the American Foreign Service. Amb. Ridgway received the American Academy of Diplo- macy’s Annenberg Award for Excellence in Diplomacy in 1989, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award in 1989, and the Presidential Citizen’s Medal, also in 1989. She was elected to the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998. She and her husband, retired Captain Theodore E. Deming, USCG, reside in Arlington, Va. Foreign Service Journal Editor Steve Honley interviewed Amb. Ridgway on April 20. FSJ: Who were some of the people you admired or were inspired by during your Foreign Service career? RR: At every stage of my career, whether junior, mid-level or senior, there was always someone on the horizon of my ac- tivities whom I admired. In my first assignments, which tended to be in educational exchanges and other things that women were doing in the late 1950s, there was a group of women who had entered government service during World War II and had segued into the Foreign Service. They were very talented and, I must say, very willing to help a junior of- ficer — after all, I was only 21 when I came into the Service — sort of grow up. Next, there are names like George Vest, Ron Spiers, Mar- garet Tibbets, Joan Clark — and John Hugh Crimmins, a wonderful figure in Latin American affairs, and particularly important because he taught me how to write for, and work with, Congress. And then when you get to the end of my career, you’re looking at George Shultz. FSJ: Growing up in Minnesota, did you meet any diplo- mats? RR: No, though there were some there. I lived at home in a very family-oriented setting, and had never even consid- ered the Foreign Service until an FSO on home leave turned up at one of my university classes to talk about diplomatic ca- reers and handed out application forms. FSJ: About this time, you also read a magazine profile of a female FSO that inspired you, right? RR: Yes, a piece in Life magazine profiling Pat Byrne, a talented officer. FSJ: When did you take the Foreign Service exam? RR: When I was 20, which was the earliest you could take it then.