A US Citizen by Surprise

January 2017

by June Kunsman Consular officers at posts abroad face a range of difficult duties including informing relatives of a death abroad, counseling and helping victims of crime (do NOT go into Moscow’s underground street crossings late at night), visiting citizens … Continued

Why the Peace Corps?

January 2017

by John Coyne On this last day of 2016, I thought I might try and chart the impulses in America that brought about the creation of the Peace Corps–something positive to think about as we wait for 2017–and before all … Continued

Moon Rocks at Home

January 2017

by Robert Baker In 1976, I requested from NASA a special collection of three moon rocks. NASA had offered to send them to U.S. Embassies for public exhibition for one month in each foreign country. I hand carried them all … Continued

Runs, Hikes, & Cops in Bohemia

January 2017

by Peter Bridges After five good years in our Rome embassy, my family and I were transferred in late 1971 to the American embassy in Prague. This was three years after the Soviet army had crushed Alexander Dubček’s “socialism with … Continued

Vienna Snow and Soviet Meltdown

October 2016

by Robert Baker Vienna was snowed in when I first visited there in 1972. Twenty years later I was back in Vienna to relax and to direct the Regional Program Office’ excellent staff. Then Moscow melted and the Office had … Continued

Angola Terrorist Report

May 2016

by Robert Baker Until I did my report on the March, 1961 terrorist uprising in Angola, I had done well at my job as an intelligence analyst, especially at the hard slog of scanning thousands of pages of reports to … Continued

Getting Sick in Africa

March 2016

by Bob Baker Malaria was like having a pain X-ray of all your bones, but after a fever bout, shaking chills diverted attention from your aching bones. I had taken all the anti-malaria pills but had evidently bumped into a … Continued

Uganda—and triggered observations

March 2016

by Robert Baker Rajat Neogy declared himself referee and demanded a formal exchange of insults contest between Paul Theroux and me. It was the fag end of a very Scotch evening in Rajat’s cluttered, dusty living room up in the … Continued

Valentine’s Day Murder of U.S. Ambassador

February 2016

by Bruce K. Byers Thirty-seven years ago in Kabul, Afghanistan U.S. Ambassador Adolph “Spike” Dubs, a career diplomat and U.S. Navy war veteran, was abducted on his way to the embassy in Kabul and taken to a cavernous old hotel … Continued

From the National Archives

February 2016

Department of State Records Relating to Atrocities Against the Armenians During World War I  

Pushing Cookies at the Coal Face

January 2016

by Bob Baker Nothing but a bunch of “cookie pushers” is an ancient slur against diplomats who are thus seen as simply sitting at fine tables sipping tea and offering cookies to equally insipid, wealthy and powerful guests abroad. In … Continued

Call Me Nino

January 2016

by Bob Baker Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia came to address a national convention of Australian lawyers. I had requested a top constitutional lawyer and was delighted when Washington headquarters at the U.S. Information Agency in 1986 told me Justice … Continued

Tijuana: First Assignment—The Good, the Bad, the Bizarre

January 2016

by Keith C. Smith During my long career, I heard many colleagues reflect on their first Foreign Service assignment—usually recalling it as a highly positive experience. Unfortunately, my first post left me disillusioned by the Foreign Service and vowing to … Continued