The Foreign Service Journal, October 2019

52 OCTOBER 2019 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL I did not know Bruce Laingen before I had the honor and privilege of working for him as a political officer in Tehran, where he was chief of mission. I first met him there on Aug. 18, 1979. In my first days at post, I saw that Bruce Laingen represented the best of our Service. For him the Foreign Service meant: take care of your people; listen to your host country; report the truth; and carry out American policy with honor, humanity and principle. He told me, “You know what you need to do. Do it.” Then he added, “I’m jealous. I wish I was, like you, free to travel everywhere and talk to everyone.” His assignment in Tehran was to maintain some kind of orderly relationship with what- ever system was going to succeed the monar- chy. Despite the history of close U.S.-Pahlavi family relations, Washington could not abandon Iran after its revolution. Iran remained important to the United States for its The Perfect Professional APPRECIATION John Limbert is a retired Foreign Service officer and academic. During a 34-year diplomatic career, he served mostly in the Middle East (includ- ing two tours in Iraq) and Islamic Africa, was ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and president of the American Foreign Service Association. He served with Ambassador Bruce Laingen at U.S. Embassy Tehran, where both were held hostage from 1979 to 1981. Lowell Bruce Laingen 1922-2019 BY JOHN L I MBERT Ambassador Laingen at the White House following his return from Iran with Vice President George H.W. Bush, First Lady Nancy Reagan and President Ronald Reagan, Jan. 27, 1981. COURTESYOFTHELAINGENFAMILY oil, as a customer for U.S. exports and, most important, as a key part of an anti-Soviet alliance.