The Foreign Service Journal, September 2017

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | SEPTEMBER 2017 57 U.S. Embassy London in Nine Elms will set new standards for security and sustainability. Here are some insights into how it got there. A New Citizen of Ambassador (ret.) Richard LeBaron served as deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires at U.S. Embassy London from 2007 to 2010. He retired from the Foreign Service in 2012 after a 33-year career. LeBaron was ambassador to Kuwait from 2004 to 2007. Previously he served as deputy chief of mission in Tel Aviv, chief of economic and political affairs in Cairo, and in a variety of other positions abroad and in Washington, D.C. He is currently a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. I n her outstanding 2010 book, Citizens of London , Lynne Olson describes the roles of three Ameri- cans at the outset of World War II. At that time, journalist Edward R. Murrow, banker Averell Har- riman and Ambassador John Gilbert Winant made such an indelible mark on U.S.-U.K. relations that they became iconic figures in Britain’s modern history. Another distinguished citizen of London is emerging today. It is not a statesman or even a FEATURE person, but rather a building—the brand, spanking-new embassy of the United States, located across theThames from Chelsea. As deputy chief of mission in London from 2007 to 2010, I had the privilege of being involved in a small way with the selection of the site for the new embassy, and also played a small role in the architectural competition for the stunning new building that U.S. diplomats are scheduled to occupy at the beginning of next year. In my view, three aspects of the project deserve special mention: the site, the security at the new mission and sustain- ability. Site Selection: A Difficult Process The move was dictated by the inability to properly secure or economically renovate the 1960 Eero Saarinen-designed build- ing on Grosvenor Square in the Mayfair section of London. But the shift to new premises was not certain until an appropriate site could be found for a new diplomatic mission. That process was long and complicated, and very nearly unsuccessful. Some critics of the planned move had convinced themselves BY R I CHARD L EBARON LONDON Shines on the Other Side of the THAMES