AFSA Statement on the Tragic Deaths of American Diplomatic Personnel in Libya

We are deeply saddened and mourn the tragic loss of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service Information Management Specialist Sean Smith, and their colleagues in the outrageous and cowardly attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. We extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the families and loved ones of those killed. Their service and example are an inspiration to us all.

The violent attack on U.S. diplomatic compounds once again underscores the dangers that American diplomats face in service to our country.

AFSA deplores attacks and use of violence against diplomats and diplomatic missions. We oppose intentional efforts to offend religious feelings. We firmly believe in diplomacy and commitment to sustained dialogue to resolve differences of whatever sort and for better mutual understanding among peoples of differing faiths, ideologies and cultures.

Susan R. Johnson
AFSA President

American Academy of Diplomacy Mourns Loss of Colleagues

WASHINGTON, DC - Sept. 13, 2012 - The American Academy of Diplomacy mourns the tragic loss of Ambassador John Christopher "Chris" Stevens, Foreign Service Information Management Specialist Sean Smith, and their colleagues in the outrageous attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Each of these individuals served America with distinction in a profoundly complex and dangerous environment. We extend our most sincere and deeply felt condolence to the families and loved ones of those killed. We totally condemn those who carried out this attack against all norms of civilized behavior and international law.

We are saddened by their loss and honor their memory. Diplomats around the world are the first line of American security. From Lebanon to Kenya, Cyprus to Afghanistan, and Tanzania to Iraq they have repeatedly paid the ultimate price for their service to the nation. Despite the risks they will continue to pursue the foreign policy goals of the United States.

The Academy salutes the courageous men and women of the Foreign Service and their colleagues from USAID, other agencies and cabinet departments who represent the United States abroad. In particular we recognize those in Libya who will carry on the diplomatic work despite these shocking losses. At this time of sorrow we encourage all Americans to come together in support of these brave civilians just as, together, we mourn those who have fallen.

Ambassador Ronald E. Neumann (ret.)

Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering (ret.)

More information can be found on the State Department Historian FAQ page on Ambassadors:

Since 1950 eight U.S. ambassadors have died in the line of duty:

  • Laurence A. Steinhardt, who was Ambassador to Canada, was killed in a plane crash near Ramseyville, Ontario on March 28, 1950.
  • John Gordon Mein, in Guatemala, on August 28, 1968
  • Cleo A. Noel, Jr., in Sudan, on March 1, 1973
  • Rodger P. Davies, in Cyprus, on August 19, 1974
  • Francis E. Meloy, Jr., in Lebanon, on June 16, 1976
  • Adolph Dubs, Afghanistan, on February 14, 1979
  • Arnold L. Raphel, who was Ambassador to Pakistan, was killed in a plane crash near Bahawalpur on August 17, 1988. (Arnold L. Raphel's plane crash was suspected to be caused by terrorist activity but not proven.)
  • John Christopher Stevens, September 11, 2012. Stevens was killed by a mob who attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Here’s the link, to AFSA’s plaque wall in the State Department: which has an additional link to all the names on the wall. There have been 165 deaths inscribed on the wall since 1950.

AFSA Press Releases




Other Related Links

Congressional Statements and Reactions

Signed Condolence Boards and Posters

Click on an image below to view as a full-size, high-res pdf.