FSJ Special Collections



  • Escape from Mogadishu by James K. Bishop
    March 1991
    An ambassador recalls the harrowing experience of evacuating from Mogadishu as the Somali city experienced a violent uprising.


  • The Service’s Only Samurai by George P. Waller
    December 1922
    Watari Ebiharah served the American consulate in Kobe, Japan for 39 years, but earlier in life he served a liege lord as a samurai in the waning days of feudal Japan.
  • Jesuit Technical Assistance to the Emperor of China by Martin F. Herz
    February 1958
    For many years Jesuits cultivated diplomatic and scientific relationships with Imperial China to enable cultural exchange and missionary work.


  • The Line Forms to the Left by Earl J. Wilson
    March 1950
    In this case history of Shanghai, find a step-by-step account of how the Iron Curtain is systematically drawn tight around a city and how, with each step, its people are more helplessly enmeshed by their own liberation.
  • American Foreign Policy and China by James Ramsey
    October 1966
    As the United States now finds itself engaged in Asian areas where it possessed only marginal interests before, what will happen when the Chinese are strong enough to force a solution on their own terms?
  • The Future Between America and China by William Stokes
    January 1968
    No one can foresee what will follow the Maoist interregnum that clings to uncertain power, yet important clues about underlying attitudes toward the United States can occasionally be discerned.
  • The U.S., China and the UN by Jonathan Bingham
    February 1972
    With China now in the United Nations—and Taiwan out—where do we go from here, so far as our relations are concerned?
  • The Succession to Mao Tse-tung by Robert Rinden
    February 1972
    One solution to the transfer-of-power problem is for the incumbent leader-with-charisma to choose and anoint his heir.
  • The Chou Demarche by Edwin Martin
    November 1981
    New evidence suggests that the secret 1949 message purportedly from Chou Enlai to Western leaders was not actually an opportunity for rapprochement.
  • Why Most Favored Nation Won in China by Anne Stevenson-Yang
    November 1994
    The U.S.-China business bloc wields considerable power that is felt in Washington policymaking.
  • A City Facing Turmoil
    March 1997
    As Hong Kong’s handover nears, policy conflicts loom between China, the United States and the U.K.
  • A City Built on Prosperity by Ross H. Munro
    March 1997
    A successful “formula” for Hong Kong—U.S. capitalism wed to U.K. rule of law.
  • A City Bullish on Itself by Dan Kubiske
    March 1997
    As funds flow back into Hong Kong, the future for business is predicted to be robust.
  • A City Rises in Asia by Jose Armilla
    March 1997
    With the transport of opium dominating early U.S.-U.K. ties, now Hong Kong is a rising city.
  • China’s Economic Growth: Source of Disorder? by Robert Wang
    May 2005
    Beijing’s rapid rise has raised concerns about the economic ramifications for the status-quo powers in Asia—and the global community overall.
  • Congressional Pressures and U.S.-China Policy by Robert Sutter
    May 2005
    As the Bush administration seeks to manage Sino-American relations, it would be wise to keep in mind congressional sensitivities.
  • China’s New Diplomacy in Asia by David Shambaugh
    May 2005
    A proactive PRC is transforming international relations throughout Asia. Here is a look at the four pillars of Beijing’s new regional posture.
  • Deepening Sino-American Ties At the Grass Roots by Carol Lee Hamrin
    May 2005
    Improvements in China’s human rights record will not come overnight from the top down, but they will develop gradually through social activism.
  • Four Decades After the Opening to China: An Interview With Henry Kissinger
    September 2012
    The former Secretary of State shares his thoughts on the state of U.S.-China relations and the importance of diplomacy.
  • Human Rights, China And 21st-Century Diplomacy by Michael R. Posner
    September 2012
    Developments in China offer new opportunities to reframe our approach to bilateral discussions of human rights.
  • The 100,000-Strong Initiative by Stanton Jue
    September 2012
    After just three years, this people-to-people program is already bringing the United States and China closer together.

Development & Aid

  • AID’s First Year by Frank M. Coffin
    January 1963
    The first Deputy Administrator of USAID discusses standing up the new agency, its goals and where progress is already being made.

Diplomatic Security


  • Morality and Foreign Affairs by Howard Trivers
    September 1956
    The U.S. must strike a tenuous balance between idealist aspirations and realist groundings as it aims to make foreign policy that is both pragmatic and progressive.
  • The Question of Foreign Service Resignations by Dino J. Caterini
    July 1970
    The debate on whether FSOs should resign when serving policies they cannot accept centers on how the department’s culture handles dissenting views, professional conformity and the balance between policy implementation and formulation.

Economic Diplomacy and Trade

  • The Trade Policy Crisis by Willis C. Armstrong
    November 1971
    As the U.S. employs protectionist means it hampers fundamental tenets of the global economic order it has strived to integrate.
  • What Is Economic Diplomacy and How Does It Work? by Tony Wayne
    January-February 2019
    The U.S. Foreign Service is at the forefront of crafting policy and carrying out economic diplomacy to advance the strategic and security interests of the United States.
  • Economic Officers for the Future by Charles Ries
    January-February 2019
    New appreciation for the centrality of economics in foreign policy makes it an ideal time to throw light on the making of an economic officer.
  • Six Elements of Effective Economic/Commercial Diplomacy by Shaun Donnelly and Daniel Crocker
    January-February 2019
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made commercial diplomacy a foreign policy priority. Here’s how to get it right.
  • From Guitars to Gold: The Fruits of Economic Diplomacy
    January-February 2019
    This selection of first-person accounts showcases the work members of the Foreign Service do around the world every day to promote U.S. business.


  • Jefferson’s NATO by Carl Charlick
    July 1954
    Thomas Jefferson had his own challenging experiences in organizing a coalition of states to deal with a common threat.
  • The USRO and American Foreign Policy by Staff Members of the USRO
    February 1955
    The USRO coordinated and navigated the surge in diplomatic activity in the early years of the NATO alliance.
  • Europe’s Stride Towards Unity: Accents Need for U. S. to Maintain Liberal Trade Policy by Guy Wiggins
    January 1958
    In the immediate post-war period six European nations sought to closely coordinate their economic activity and break down the barriers between them.
  • European Defense: A Return to Brussels by Colin Gordon
    November 1971
    European nations have often struggled to harmonize economic integration with defense integration.
  • The Atlantic Alliance by Charles R. Foster and Richard Albright
    June 1981
    New administrations have often taken office with hopes to reinvigorate NATO, but alliance politics guarantee challenges to any reform-minded agenda.
  • The European Question by Robert K. Olson
    November 1982
    The fate of Europe has been a central concern of the United States for decades, and the extent to which common interest dictates trans-Atlantic unity is debatable.

Foreign Service Families

  • Our Foreign Service Wives by Frances Hull
    April 1934
    An appreciation of Foreign Service wives, whose support makes their husband’s jobs easier overseas.
  • On Repatriation of a Foreign Service Wife by Charlottle Littell
    December 1952
    A Foreign Service spouse discusses the problems of returning to the United States after serving abroad with her husband.
  • Wriston Report: The Feminine View by Alice Raine
    May 1955
    Following the Wriston Report, many Civil Service wives did not want their husbands to join the Foreign Service. The author asks, “can Foreign Service wives reassure them”?
  • A Service Teenager Reflects by Don Emmerson
    November 1955
    A teenager in the Foreign Service discusses what makes teenage TCKs different and why, based on his own experiences.
  • Stop Feeling Sorry for your Children by Ann Miller Morin
    September 1960
    A recent survey of Foreign Service kids shows the advantages and difficulties of growing up overseas.
  • The Foreign Service Wife by Jack Perry
    February 1969
    The wives of American diplomats have unique social advantages and exhibit strong personalities not only due to the great freedom they enjoy, but also the trials such freedom incurs.
  • Who’s the Kids’ Advocate by Thomas Kelly
    September 1973
    With the usual Stateside support systems unavailable, who at the Department of State is advocating for children’s welfare overseas.
  • Resolution of the Wives’ Dilemma by Carroll Russell Sherer
    October 1973
    “I didn’t join the Foreign Service, my husband did”, is a common complaint. What to do when you want to be divorced from your spouse’s career, but not your spouse.
  • Freshman Fears by Nancy Piet-Pelon
    July 1990
    How do Foreign Service kids returning to go to college cope with a new country, as well as the increased workload and independence that comes with a “typical” college experience?
  • Coming in for a Landing: How Families Can Prepare for the Rude Shock of Returning Home by Genie Gratto
    September 1990
    Returning to the U.S. can be rough, especially for young children. Here, the author offers tips for kids and their parents, based on her own experiences as a TCK.
  • One Step Ahead for Spouses by Katrina Ecton
    May 1991
    A great deal has to be done to assist spouses overseas, but also at home as they struggle with gaps in their resumes and unintelligible job titles.
  • The Great Divorce by Jewell Fenzi
    June 1992
    Following a 1972 directive on the role of Foreign Service spouses, the department has been losing its representative family make-up overseas, argues Jewell Fenzi.
  • Unwilling Unemployment by Barbara Frechette
    June 1992
    Unwilling to do unpaid “support” work, but unable to find paid roles overseas, what other options are there for Foreign Service spouses?
  • Helping a Spouse Find Work Abroad by Francine Modderno
    September 1994
    More than ever, both partners in dual-income families are demanding meaningful jobs. How does this work with the Foreign Service lifestyle?
  • Growing up with a World View: Nomad Children Develop Multicultural Skills by Norma McCaig
    September 1994
    Whether you call them “nomads”, “cultural chameleons” or “third-culture kids”, the children of Foreign Service members have a unique opportunity to develop multicultural skills.
  • A Chat with FLO
    September 1994
    U.S. Embassy populations are more diverse than 20 years ago, with more single parents, tandem couples and dependent parents. The Journal speaks with the director of the Family Liaison Office about what those changes mean for FS families.
  • Caring for Mom and Dad by Louise Belanger
    September 1994
    For those living abroad, the struggle of trying to care for both the young and the old is both tempered and intensified by distance.
  • A Mother Copes with Separation by Karen Krebsbach
    September 1994
    A Foreign Service officer discusses her experience losing custody of her children–because she was moving abroad for her job.
  • FS Families’ Health Tracked by Francine Modderno
    April 1996
    For more than 10 years, the Medical Services unit gathered data on the health of Foreign Service members and families overseas. This article discusses some of the outcomes of the survey.
  • Reflections from a Stay-at-home Man by Richard Gilbert
    April 1996
    At most embassies overseas, “spouse” is gender-specific. But what about the increasing number of male “trailing spouses”?
  • The Learning-Disabled Child Abroad by Sally L. Smith
    December 1998
    Living abroad, especially in less developed countries, can be a real problem for parents of learning-disabled children. This article presents some tips on making the best of the resources available.
  • Caregiving from 10,000 Miles Away by Ronald Trigg
    March 1998
    How can Foreign Service officers cope with elder care considerations when posted overseas? The author shares his experiences.
  • Marriage Across the Miles by Francine Modderno
    July-August 1999
    How do Foreign Service employees cope with physical separation?
  • Homeschooling FS Kids? It Worked For Us by Pat Olsen
    December 2000
    Homeschooling is a viable option for keeping your children’s grades up, even in the farthest-flung postings.
  • In Search of That Special School by Melanie Kerber
    June 2001
    For children with learning difficulties, finding the right school (whether overseas or in the United States), can make a world of difference.
  • A Career Built for Two by Tatiana C. Gfoeller and Michael Gfoeller
    May 2002
    A tandem couple since 1984, the authors offer their tips on making Foreign Service careers work, together.
  • Deathwatch by Herbert L. Treger
    May 2002
    It can be tough to be away from family during times of crisis at home…the author discusses one of the disadvantages to working overseas.
  • The Reality of Foreign Service Spousal Employment by Shawn Dorman
    May 2002
    Employment for Foreign Service family members has become an increasingly critical issue for recruiting and retaining employees. But how can it be done.
  • The Foreign Service Spouse Network: A Global Resource by Pat Olsen
    May 2002
    Networks of spouses at each post are expanding to create a global community, offering support from wherever they are.
  • Going with the FLO…A Talk with Director Faye Barnes by Susan Maitra
    May 2002
    With a small staff and a broad client base, the Family Liaison Office are getting down to business, helping Foreign Service members and their families posted abroad.
  • Letter to a Foreign Service Spouse on Life Insurance by Edward J. Michal
    December 2002
    Reviewing life insurance often falls to the bottom of people’s to-do lists; in an open letter, the author discusses why it should be a priority.
  • FLO: Point of Contact for Employees & Families, An Interview with Director Faye Barnes by Susan Maitra
    February 2003
    The department’s Family Liaison Office is playing an ever-greater role in assisting employees and their families during crises. In this article, the FLO director discusses lessons learned and improvements for the future.
  • Christmas in July: Holidays as a Foreign Service Child by Mikkela Thompson
    June 2003
    A child raised in the Foreign Service can appreciate new and diverse cultures, while retaining a sense of tradition–especially around the holidays.
  • Dip Kids Fill Void at U.S. Colleges by Antje Schiffler
    June 2005
    With international students decreasing, American universities are looking to youth who grew up overseas to provide a global perspective in the classroom.
  • Family Member Employment: At Work in the Mission by Shawn Dorman
    July/August 2005
    A comprehensive look at the employment options available to family members inside U.S. missions overseas.
  • FLO is Here to Help with Career-Employment Issues by Donna Ayerst
    November 2005
    The Family Liaison Office explain how they advocate on behalf of family members and bring their employment concerns to the State Department.
  • Learning to Drive as an FS Kid by Ingrid Ahlgren
    June 2007
    A collection of personal stories and practical advice from Foreign Service kids who learn to drive while their parents are posted overseas.
  • Going It Alone: Family Life in the ‘New’ Foreign Service by Kelly Bembry Midura
    June 2008
    Most Foreign Service employees will serve an unaccompanied tour during their careers. This article examines the kind of support their families can expect.
  • Support For Unaccompanied Assignments by Bridget Roddy
    March 2009
    A look at just what the State Department can do to help during an unaccompanied tour.
  • Coping with Separation: Tandem Couples by Annie Simpkins
    March 2009
    Besides the obvious personal difficulties, separated tandem couples face an expensive tour with minimal financial aid.
  • An Evacuation Survival Guide by Kelly Armstrong
    March 2009
    Chances are that most Foreign Service families will undergo an ordered departure. Former FSO Kelly Armstrong provides some tips on how to make the best of it.
  • When an FS Spouse Comes “Home”: A Study by Sharon Maybarduk
    April 2009
    Re-entry to the U.S. after living overseas involves adjustments that are not always easy. This study identifies some of the fault lines between success and failure.
  • ‘Virtually’ There: FS Spouses Build Careers Without Borders by Katherine Jacobs and Carolyn Ho
    September 2009
    More than ever before, Foreign Service spouses and partner are pursuing successful careers in their own right. Here, two FS spouses explain how.
  • Sharing Custody, Diplomatically by Victoria Hirschland
    May 2011
    A divorce settlement gave these Foreign Service children time with both parents and the unexpected gift of travel skills.
  • Forever Tandem by Teresa Chin Jones
    May 2011
    Achieving work-life balance is like personal engineering, and comes with the same trade offs that all engineers face in getting things done.
  • Trailing Tandem by Clayton Bond
    May 2011
    Perhaps one day no trailing tandem who wants to work will have to take leave without pay to join a spouse or partner at post.
  • Going Solo: Single in the Foreign Service by Shawn Dorman
    May 2011
    Singles comprise about one-third of the Foreign Service and have their own unique challenges.
  • Navigating Life’s Unexpected Realities by Jen Dinoia
    May 2011
    No matter how carefully a family prepares for an unaccompanied tour, life has a way of throwing curves at them.
  • When Boarding Schools are an Option by Leah Wallace
    December 2011
    Boarding schools often provide much needed continuity for Foreign Service families.
  • FS Spousal Employment: Slow But Steady Progress by Shawn Zeller
    April 2012
    It’s getting easier for Foreign Service family members to find meaningful employment overseas, but there is still a long way to go.
  • Patience: The Key to Successful EFM Employment by Jen Dinoia
    April 2012
    Eligible Family Members can land amazing jobs with the right combination of flexibility, preparation and, yes, luck.
  • Local Employment in Mozambique and Brazil by Raquel Lima Miranda
    April 2012
    Is it possible to live and work overseas, pursuing a professional career, despite frequent moves? Absolutely!
  • HOC Rocks! (Husbands of Chennai) by Aileen Crowe Nandi
    April 2012
    The “husbands of Chennai” has become a way to forge friendships and build a community among trailing husbands of consulate employees.
  • My So-Called Career by Francesca Kelly
    April 2012
    The career you start with probably won’t be the one you end with, explains one Foreign Service spouse.
  • A Diplomat’s Wife by Kate Matheson
    June 2012
    What does it mean for your own identity and wellbeing to follow your spouse overseas?
  • The Impact of Transitions on Foreign Service Families by T. Dhyan Summers
    December 2012
    Those who work overseas, particularly Foreign Service members, experience frequent transitions. Here are some tips on coping with the disruptions they can cause.
  • Is Adequate Disability Income Insurance Available to FS Families by William Carrington
    March 2013
    Many Foreign Service members mistakenly believe they have more disability income insurance than is actually the case.
  • Thinking Through Educational Options For Your FS Child by Rebecca Grappo
    June 2013
    Choosing a school for your FS child is not just about feeding the mind, but also feeding the young person’s appropriate social and emotional development. This article gives some tips on how to make the right choice.
  • A Practical Guide to International Divorce in the Foreign Service by Elizabeth Fitzsimmons and Richard Seipert
    December 2013
    Navigating a divorce while remaining an effective member of the Foreign Service can feel absolutely overwhelming. This article offers tips on how to survive this massive life change.
  • A Parent’s Guide to Psychoeducational Evaluations by Chad C. Nelson
    December 2013
    The goal of a psychoeducational evaluation is to enhance a child’s ability to be as successful as possible.
  • A “Trailing” Spouse? by Jessie Bryson
    March 2014
    A millennial commentator shares her reaction to joining the ranks of the Foreign Service community.
  • When School is Hard by Michelle Grappo
    June 2014
    What do you do when your child is struggling in school? This article can help get you started on identifying and solving the problem.
  • Child Custody Issues in Foreign Service Divorces by Susan Keogh, Ann La Porta, and Diane Holt
    October 2014
    A primer on the custody issues involved in Foreign Service divorces and how to approach them.
  • Women Who Make a Difference: Reflections of a Foreign Service Wife in 1982 by Patricia B. Norland
    May 2015
    A Foreign Service spouse reflects on her experiences during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, when struggles for independence from colonial rule exploded throughout the developing world.
  • Going Back to Work: A Step-by-Step Guide for FS Spouses by Anna Sparks
    September 2015
    One of the great challenges of Foreign Service life is how an FS spouse can maintain or develop a career. This article provides some practical tips.
  • Raising FS Kids by John K. Naland
    November 2015
    Get to know the nonprofit groups and State Department offices that offer a social safety net for FS youth.
  • Multilingual Matters: How FS Students Can Make the Most of Language-Rich Experiences Abroad by Marybeth Hunter and Christine Brown
    December 2015
    More and more Foreign Service families are choosing to educate their children in a language other than that spoken at home. Regional Education Officer and Office of Overseas Schools resident language expert Christine Brown discusses the advantages and challenges of learning in a foreign language.
  • What About Our Kids? by Kim Deblauw
    January-February 2016
    Foreign Service children are just as at risk of mental health problems as the average American child, if not more so.
  • Mental Health Support for FS Children: Parents Weigh In
    June 2016
    Foreign Service children are just as at risk for mental health problems as the average American child, perhaps even more vulnerable. This is a critical issue for FS families.
  • Supporting FS Families with Special Needs Children by Maureen M. Danzot and Mark R. Evans
    June 2016
    Two parents discuss the Special Needs Education Allowance and the challenges of raising children with special needs in the Foreign Service.
  • Taking on Family Member Employment. Really! by Debra Blome
    July-August 2016
    Family member employment is a critical issue for members of the U.S. Foreign Service. The State Department finally seems to be taking it seriously.
  • Tandem Couples: Serving Together, Apart by Fred Odisho and Whitney Dubinsky
    July-August 2016
    Two Foreign Service Officers discuss some of the unique challenges they face as part of tandem couple.
  • MED’s Child and Family Program, Explained by Kathy Gallardo
    September 2016
    An authoritative account of the aims of the Children and Family Program, presented as part of the Journal’s ongoing discussion of concerns regarding support for children and families overseas.
  • New College, New Culture: Preparing for a Strong First Semester as a Third Culture Kid by Hannah Morris
    June 2017
    Third Culture Kids deal with repatriation issues and reverse culture shock when they attend college in the United States. This article provides some tips for success.
  • Out in the Cold: How the Hiring Freeze is Affecting Family Member Employment by Donna Scaramastra Gorman
    July-August 2017
    Employing family members overseas isn’t just good for morale. It makes financial sense, too, and helps keep our embassies functioning.
  • Raising Multilingual Children in the Foreign Service by Nicole Schaeffer-McDaniel and Jennifer Kirk Dinoia
    December 2017
    Raising children in more than one language is seldom straightforward and can leave parents second-guessing their approach. This article looks at the challenges and how to meet them.

Frontline Diplomacy

  • The FSO’s in Manila by Cabot Coville
    June 1942
    Hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor Japanese forces descended on Manila, and American FSOs struggled to evacuate after being cut off for weeks.
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis by Robert A. Hurwitch
    July 1971
    An FSO recounts high-level policy deliberations that transpired as nuclear missile-ferrying Soviet ships inched closer to Cuba.
  • From Pearl Harbor to Potsdam by Charles W. Yost
    September 1980
    An FSO describes wartime duties that span some of the most consequential discussions and conferences that devised the post-war international order.
  • Escape from Mogadishu by James K. Bishop
    March 1991
    An ambassador recalls the harrowing experience of evacuating from Mogadishu as the Somali city experienced a violent uprising.

Human Rights

  • Morality and Human Rights in Foreign Policy by John L. Washburn
    May 1977
    The Carter administration has just taken office, and is now looking to make human rights a central concern in its conduct of foreign policy.
  • Human Rights and International Order by James Nathan
    February 1978
    A policy of human rights, like a policy which seeks to delimit “aggression,” knows no natural limit. But if a policy geared to the protection of human rights is to be selective, how is the selection to be made?
  • Human Rights and American Policy in Africa by Armistead Lee
    October 1978
    Whether considering quiet diplomacy or public confrontation, linking human rights to other conditions in Africa has proven to be a delicate challenge.
  • Why Bother about Human Rights? by Sandy Vogelgesang
    May 1980
    Some have belittled campaigns to emphasize human rights as “moralistic crusades,” yet there are many legal, cultural and pragmatic incentives for taking a strong stand for human rights.
  • The Unaccepted Challenge by Tom Shannon
    May 1989
    Nothing in my training or experience prepared me for the work I was called upon to do in a country once described as the worst offender of human rights in the world…Aside from the operational problems, human rights reporting differs from most embassy reporting in four significant ways.
  • Diplomacy’s Orphans: New Issues in Human Rights by Tom Shannon
    September 1991
    We are living through a period of quiet but profound change in the international human rights agenda, which will post new diplomatic challenges to the United States. While the principal human rights issue of the 1980s – political repression – will remain our primary human rights concern through this decade, several new issues have emerged that do not easily fit into our traditional understanding of human rights.
  • Improving State’s Human Rights Reports by Julien LeBourgeois
    September 1991
    State’s annual human rights reports have been susceptible over time to faddish public and congressional preoccupations, and to changing Executive Branch criteria.
  • Ideological Warrior: An Interview with Michael Novak by John Harter
    September 1991
    Michael Novak served as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and discusses what it’s like to defend human rights at the U.N.
  • The Feminization of Human Rights by Arvonne Fraser
    December 1993
    An acknowledgement that women, too, have human rights has been long in coming. But the establishment of separate UN commissions on human rights and on the status of women confirmed the distinction between human rights and the equal rights of women.
  • General Pinochet and the Human Rights Conundrum by George Gedda
    December 1999
    What do you do with an ex-dictator with a nasty human rights record? A Spanish judge has forced the world to face up to that thorny problem—whether it wants to or not.
  • Putting Human Rights Back on the Agenda by Ed McWilliams
    April 2003
    For over the past decade, U.S. pro-democracy and human rights leverage has been squandered. If not corrected soon, the results could be disastrous.
  • After Abu Ghraib: The U.S. Human Rights Agenda by George Gedda
    December 2004
    There is no question that the prisoner abuse scandal hurt America’s reputation. But the Bush administration has pushed forward with efforts to expand the U.S. human rights agenda, and enjoyed some successes.
  • Honoring Patt Derian by Diana Page
    January 2010
    Nearly three decades after leaving office, the first assistant secretary for human rights receives a rare tribute.
  • Human Rights, China and 21st-Century Diplomacy by Michael Posner
    September 2012
    Developments in China offer new opportunities to reframe the approach to bilateral discussions of human rights.
  • A Human Rights Dialogue with Congress by Robert McMahon
    June 2013
    Policymaking on human rights issues is sometimes hindered by poor relations between State and Capitol Hill. Fortunately, there are ways to improve cooperation.
  • Promoting an LGBT-Inclusive Human Rights Agenda by Richmond Blake
    June 2015
    The progress of LGBT rights in Europe and the Americas has elicited a backlash in other parts of the world. Strong U.S. leadership can help reverse this alarming trend and mitigate the threat of widespread violence.
  • Human Rights for LGBT Persons: Aiming for Sustainable Progress Q&A w/ Special Envoy Randy Berry
    June 2015
    Protecting the existence and rights of the LGBT community has become a core issue in the U.S. human rights mission worldwide.


  • Jefferson’s NATO by Carl Charlick
    July 1954
    Thomas Jefferson had his own challenging experiences in organizing a coalition of states to deal with a common threat.
  • The USRO and American Foreign Policy by Staff Members of the USRO
    February 1955
    The USRO coordinated and navigated the surge in diplomatic activity in the early years of the NATO alliance.
  • European Defense: A Return to Brussels by Colin Gordon
    November 1971
    European nations have often struggled to harmonize economic integration with defense integration.
  • The Atlantic Alliance by Charles R. Foster and Richard Albright
    June 1981
    New administrations have often taken office with hopes to reinvigorate NATO, but alliance politics guarantee challenges to any reform-minded agenda.


  • The Service’s Only Samurai by George P. Waller
    December 1922
    Watari Ebiharah served the American consulate in Kobe, Japan for 39 years, but earlier in life he served a liege lord as a samurai in the waning days of feudal Japan.
  • RIF and Return by Melville E. Blake, Jr.
    September 1954
    An FSO receives an unexpected separation notice, and after a year of life out of government, receives an invitation to return to the Foreign Service.
  • Jesuit Technical Assistance to the Emperor of China by Martin F. Herz
    February 1958
    For many years Jesuits cultivated diplomatic and scientific relationships with Imperial China to enable cultural exchange and missionary work.
  • Post Report From Mars by Buck Dodger
    April 1958
    An update from Embassy Mars reveals the lifestyle and challenges of a hardship post on the red planet.
  • The Diplomatic Costume Revolution by Richard B. McCornack
    May 1958
    In 1853 Secretary of State William Marcy issued a circular establishing new guidance for diplomatic dress that proved controversial with foreign courts abroad.
  • A Yankee at the Court of the Tsars by Jerome Blum
    June 1960
    John Quincy Adams was in such dire financial straits while representing the U.S. in Russia that his mother felt compelled to write a letter to President James Madison requesting relief.
  • Automation and the Foreign Service by Thomas M. Tracy
    March 1971
    Technology will create new efficiencies in diplomatic work but will require a reexamination of personnel policies and customary methods of doing business.
  • Interstellar Negotiation by Michael A.G. Michaud
    December 1972
    Given the sheer likelihood of encountering sentient life amongst the stars in the future, what are the considerations for establishing relations with another intelligent, space-faring species?
  • Leaks – A Reporter’s Viewpoint by Jim Anderson
    November 1980
    A diplomatic correspondent describes how leaks happen, the cautions journalists must exercise in sourcing those speaking on background and the relationship between the press and the public.
  • Confessions of a Washington Ghost Writer by Burke Wilkinson
    June 1980
    Often at Secretary John Foster Dulles’ command, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Burke Wilkinson would drop everything to help top administration officials prepare speeches, articles and testimony.

Political Appointees

  • Political Appointee: A Case Study by Winston Smith
    January 1980
    While the administration has not reached the level of its predecessors in truly egregious appointments, it has appointed ambassadors of obvious—and in at least one case, stunning—unsuitability for the job. This is the tale of one unqualified ambassador – and how to prevent future failures among our political appointees.
  • Malcolm Toon interview
    April 1982
    The retired U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union shares his thoughts on problems with using the Foreign Service as a “dumping ground” for political appointees and the importance of maintaining a professional diplomatic corps.
  • Politics or Merit? by Sen. Charles Mathias Jr.
    April 1982
    U.S. Senator Charles Mathias Jr. (R-Md.,) explains why he introduced a bill limiting the number of noncareer ambassadors in 1981.
  • Staffing State: Three Dilemmas by William Bacchus
    December 1982
    The evolving nature of international relations will necessitate changes in how the Foreign Service personnel system is designed and run.
  • Training Future High-Level Political Appointees: Interview with William B. Macomber
    September 1985
    Is there a place for political appointees within the foreign affairs agencies in Washington?
  • Foreign Service Heresy by David T. Jones
    June 1989
    It is the Foreign Service equivalent of Holy Writ that political appointees are the bane of the professional, career Foreign Service. The corollary is that Foreign Service officers, particularly at senior levels, are more capable than political appointees. Unfortunately, comfortable as these assumptions are, they fall into the category of unproven—and perhaps unproveable—assertions.
  • Do Political Appointees Need Limits? by Peter Frederick
    January 2001
    There will always be political appointees in government. However, that does not mean that managerial improvement at FCS is impossible.
  • Differences in Style: Brandon Grove Talks about Career vs. Non-Career Ambassadors
    December 1992
    One of the toughest things for non-career people to understand is that holding the line, in terms of the American/foreign country relationship, can itself be a good outcome, that surviving real stresses and strains can be a reflection of success in a relationship. People who don’t know this are often shocked that they can’t get more done quickly and achieve the public recognition they are used to having, for their work as an ambassador.
  • Political Appointees: A Cost-Benefit Analysis by William F Davnie
    November 2006
    Most political appointees face massive culture shock when they enter government and arrive at an embassy.
  • Notes to the New Administration: Please End Political Corruption by Steve Kashkett
    January-February 2017
    You have a golden opportunity to fulfill your campaign pledge to put a stop to corruption, cronyism and “business as usual” in Washington: End the disgraceful practice of rewarding personal friends and donors with ambassadorships.
  • Why U.S. Ambassadors Should be Career Professionals by Ed Peck
    January-February 2017
    The ability to raise millions of dollars for a presidential campaign is a valuable skill. But rewarding a fundraiser with the job of heading a U.S. embassy reveals total ignorance of what the job entails. An ambassador’s responsibilities are numerous, complex and important—sometimes critical. And, as with any and all top management positions, they cannot be effectively carried out by beginners.

Presidents & Foreign Policy

  • My Day with JFK by Jack Sulser
    November 1968
    An FSO offers a story about personally facilitating an interaction between President John F. Kennedy and Austrian Federal Chancellor Dr. Alfons Gorbach in Washington.
  • State and Presidential Leadership by I.M. Destler
    September 1971
    What can State do to repair trust with an administration that doubts its ability to lead foreign policy formulation?
  • Presidents and Bureaucrats by Dean Rusk
    May 1973
    Former Secretary of State Dean Rusk comments on the often challenging relationship between the White House and State, and how professionalism should ultimately guide the Foreign Service through contentious times.
  • The Foreign Service and Presidential Control of Foreign Policy by Nathaniel Davis
    March 1980
    The president’s influence on foreign policy is subject to the complexity of managing career professionals and political appointees at the senior-most levels of policymaking.
  • Truman’s Secret Thoughts on Ending the Korean War by Barton J. Bernstein
    November 1980
    Recently declassified documents provide crucial insights into policy deliberations during the Korean War as American leadership contemplated escalation and its tenuous relationship with China.

Public Diplomacy

  • Publicity in Foreign Affairs by H.R. Wilson
    July 1926
    The intrinsic relationship between State and the media is invaluable in communicating policy and earning support for diplomacy.
  • Propagandists in World Affairs by Orville C. Anderson
    February 1953
    In a world where competitors masterfully deceive and influence by distorting reality, how can State hold its own?
  • Democratic Diplomacy and the Role of Propaganda by Monteagle Stearns
    October 1953
    Diplomats must carefully manage messaging and public relations, yet when does the diplomat begin to look like a propagandist?
  • Diplomacy and the Press by Henry B. Cox
    January 1954
    The relationship between diplomat and reporter is a delicate one where serving the national interest may mean very different things for sharing certain information with the public.
  • A More Open Diplomacy vs. Greater Secrecy by Elmer Plischke
    April 1957
    Diplomacy must manage a balance between openness and secrecy in its conduct, yet diplomatic functions have trended toward more openness.


  • Mr. Carr Surveys the Rogers Bill by Wilbur J. Carr
    July 1924
    Assistant Secretary of State Wilbur Carr gives an optimistic assessment of the Rogers Bill that will institute sweeping reform to the Foreign Service.
  • Reform or Withdrawal by Seymour Maxwell Finger
    June 1984
    As the United States ponders leaving UNESCO due to frustration with its direction, it must deliberate on how withdrawal may lessen its ability to influence reform from within.
  • The Foreign Service Act of 1980
    December 1980
    Undersecretary of State for Management Ben Read and AFSA President Ken Bleakley speak on a panel about the recently passed Foreign Service Act of 1980 and its benefits.


  • Life as a Russian Worker by Richard H. Sanger
    June 1971
    After leaving the Foreign Service, Richard Sanger left to see what life was like in the 1930s Soviet Union, and whether the workers’ paradise was real.
  • Our Man At Stalin’s Funeral by Jacob D. Beam
    May 1978
    Following Josef Stalin’s sudden death, future Ambassador to the Soviet Union Jacob Beam travels to Moscow to express official condolences.



  • Our Tongue-Tied Foreign Service by Leon and Leila Poullada
    June 1957
    State faces a deficit of language expertise and training methods are in need of dire review.


  • The FSO’s in Manila by Cabot Coville
    June 1942
    Hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor Japanese forces descended on Manila, and American FSOs struggled to evacuate after being cut off for weeks.
  • The New Duties of Our Foreign Service by Christian M. Ravndal
    July 1942
    At the outbreak of WWII some declared that diplomacy would be irrelevant during conflict, yet diplomats perform indispensable and highly consequential roles in times of war.
  • From Pearl Harbor to Potsdam by Charles W. Yost
    September 1980
    An FSO describes wartime duties that span some of the most consequential discussions and conferences that devised the post-war international order.