Skip to main content

William Norris Dale
February 7, 1919 – February 24, 2014


I became aware of American Diplomacy in 2000 when I was assigned to UNC Chapel Hill as the State Department Diplomat-in-Residence. I was introduced by one of he initial founders, Dr. Henry Mattox and at the time I met Ambassador Bill Dale as well as other founding members. Ambassador Dale was a well-informed, thoughtful retired career Foreign Service Officer dedicated to American Diplomacy Publishers and its continued success. I recall attending meetings at Bill’s home as he chaired a review panel of the board’s direction and approach. I recall that it was Bill Dale, who a few years ago, urged me to put my hat in the ring for Vice President of the American DiplomacyBoard of the Directors and it was Bill who later endorsed me for President. Having the trust and support an eminent founding member has meant a lot to me.

Bill was fervent about bringing new blood and new ideas to American Diplomacy in his quest to keep our publication vibrant, relevant and current. Following in his footsteps, I continue to strive for the same goals. I think Bill would be proud of at our present publication.

Brenda B. Schoonover
Ambassador, Retired
American Diplomacy Publishers

Bill was one of the founding board members of our journal, and a frequent contributor. We will all miss him.

Michael W. Cotter
Ambassador, Retired
American Diplomacy

I was very sorry to get the news of Bill’s passing. He was a good man, and a good friend. I had not
seen him nor been in contact with him since moving to Wilmington in Jan. 2013. I will miss him.


J. Edgar Williams

Senior Foreign Service Officer, Retired
Secretary Emeritus,
American Diplomacy Publishers

My memories of Bill at the beginning of American Diplomacy and the years after, are very strong: an elegant gentleman of great charm and perfect manners who nevertheless expressed himself with force and persuasiveness. Yes, he had a “diplomat’s way,” insofar as an outsider without much professional contact with Foreign Service officers before moving to this area might imagine a typical diplomat’s style. And he was typical in his intelligence, broad perspective, consideration for others, and depth of thinking. But he stood out, too. There was a twinkle to his eye that made its way into his discourse–a keen sense of humor, an attention to irony, and a rhetorical shrug of his shoulders, especially when he rather pungently commented on politicians and their “inconsistencies.” With Curt Jones and Henry Mattox, Bill cut quite a figure. I remember Henry egging the two of them on to speak frankly about the Liberty attack in 1967, when LBJ rather clearly (to them) dissembled in order to deflect American anger over the attack on the US ship by the Israelis. Bill had a penchant for the truth. He could be discreet and indirect, I suppose, but he seemed to me to be able to communicate to his listeners the full understanding that what he was saying might not be the whole story. He could teach and communicate by innuendo, or parable, or implication, or indirection, or even without words–by an expression or body language of some kind. He struck me as a kind man of real strength, and while years have gone by since I’ve had the pleasure of his company, I always knew that he represented the very best our diplomatic service had–and that we Americans were fortunate to have a man like Bill Dale–Bill Dale himself–standing for our country in dealings with other nationals.

We all shall miss him.

Richard H. Kohn
Professor Emeritus of History and Peace, War, and Defense
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

AuthorAmerican Diplomacy’s Board of Directors in 2005. Bill Dale is at center, front.

Comments are closed.