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

Final Tribute to ‘My’ Ambassadors

January 2016

by Mark Wentling What is an embassy? What is an ambassador? ‘Embassy’ and ‘Ambassador’ were practically new words for me in 1967 when I encountered them firsthand in Tegucigalpa. Way back then, I and other members of 8th group new … Continued

Old Times on the Soviet Desk

January 2016

by Peter Bridges Back in the late 1950s, when Stalin was not long gone and the Soviet state remained our militarily powerful and dangerous adversary, the State Department’s basic office for dealing with the Russians was a Soviet desk composed … Continued

London Christmas Staff Party

December 2015

by Bob Baker Each Christmas, the London American staff threw a play and a bibulous feast for the British staff and their families in the Embassy’s big staff room. In 1972 PAO Bill Weld wore a white Stetson and cowboy … Continued

A Most Unusual Christmas Feast

December 2015

by Michael Cotter The summer of 1984, my wife Joanne and I headed off for assignments—our first as a tandem couple—to Kinshasa, capital of what was then Zaire and is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. My parents, inveterate … Continued

Christmas Action at the Vatican

December 2015

by Jim Creagan It was Christmas eve of 1988. Gwyn was dressed in her long black gown complete with mantilla and I was in white tie and tails (these were the “uniforms” for US officials accredited to the Holy See). … Continued

The Wedding Gifts

November 2015

by Ambassador James Rosenthal Diplomacy is more than high-level foreign policy-making and execution, formal negotiation of treaties and other agreements, carefully-crafted representations to foreign governments, and fancy parties and ceremonies. The mundane day-to-day issues a diplomat at a foreign post … Continued

Early Days at London Embassy

November 2015

by Bob Baker I had always loved my imagined picture of London, drawn mostly from English essayists like Steele, Addison and Lamb, or novelists like Charles Dickens, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, etc. I was about fifty to a hundred years … Continued

1930s American Films at Embassy London

October 2015

by Bob Baker Our film programs at the London Embassy drew annually, thousands of university staff, students, BBC writers, journalists, young politicians, labor leaders, etc. Even the often anti-American underground magazine Private Eye, carried notices of our shows. Terry, my … Continued

Max Kampelman: Arms Control in Sydney

September 2015

by Bob Baker After assignments in London and Germany, I became the Consulate’s public affairs officer in Sydney, Australia. The left wing of the ruling Australian Labor Party wanted to show its displeasure with the Reagan re-armament program, especially its … Continued