The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2017
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FORUM sent out 9,000 questionnaires,

asking people overseas to assess the

impact of the Foreign Service on family

members in those five clusters of concern.

Based on the replies, the “Report on the

Concerns of Foreign Service Spouses and

Families” was presented to Secretary of

State Cyrus Vance in March 1977.

The report contained 11 recommenda-

tions, the second of which was to establish

the Family Liaison Office. Sec. Vance

responded personally to the recommen-

dations, the FLO proposal in particular:

“The concept is a good one and I support

it... I believe that we should establish FLO

or its equivalent with all deliberate speed.”

Mrs. Dorman understood that the goal

of AAFSWwas to insert a non-bureau-

cratic office into a bureaucratic structure.

As Mette Beecroft recalls in a September

tribute from the AAFSWBoard: “We used

to say, ‘The FLO is in the bureaucracy but

not of the bureaucracy.’”

Further reflecting her keen under-

standing of State Department bureau-

cratic realities, Mrs. Dorman insisted that

the new Family Liaison Office be admin-

istratively placed directly under the Under

Secretary for Management, rather than at

a lower level.

She pursued numerous conversations

with the Secretary of State, the Under

Secretary for Management, the Director

General of the Foreign Service and the

Directors of USAID and USIA to ensure

that their agencies’ concerns were taken

into consideration.

FLO opened officially in March 1978.

From the outset, and to the surprise of

some inside the Department of State, the

new office was a resounding success.

Mrs. Dorman’s engagement on behalf

of the Foreign Service community did not

stop there. While AAFSW president she

also supported creation of the Overseas

Briefing Center, to provide a source of

information that employees and families

could consult on posts overseas before

they completed their bid lists and before

actually arriving at post.

In 1979, under Mrs. Dorman’s leader-

ship, the FORUM contributed two more

special reports based on information col-

lected by members. “Legal and Economic

Implications of USFS Life for Wives”

discussed the realities of credit, property

rights, widowhood and divorce for FS

wives and their families. It was the first

such document ever produced.

The second FORUM report addressed—

again, for the first time ever—the issue of

spousal employment.

In the late 1970s, when the administra-

tion decided to revise the Foreign Service

Act of 1946, Mrs. Dorman steered AAFSW

to a seat at the table, registering the group

as a bona fide lobbying entity and, with

others, gave testimony to the Senate

Foreign Relations Committee, the House

Foreign Affairs Committee and the White

House Conference on Families.

The result was a clause in the Foreign

Service Act of 1980 stipulating that the

“…Foreign Service pension be equally

divided by spouses upon divorce unless

an agreement or court order existed to the


During the last two years of Mrs. Dor-

man’s AAFSW presidency, a new area

of concern appeared. During the Iran

hostage crisis from 1979 to 1981 it became

obvious that the U.S. government needed

to establish better support for diplomatic

families in times of international emer-

gency. The FORUM started work on a

report, “Families in Situations of Interna-

tional Crisis.”

In addition, withMrs. Dorman’s

encouragement, AAFSW established fruit-

ful cooperation with the Overseas Briefing

Center to produce

What Do I Do Now? A

Sourcebook on Regulations, Allowances

and Finances

—a volume still in use today.

After her term in office, Mrs. Dorman

remained deeply loyal to AAFSW and later

co-authored a history of the association

from 1960 to 1990. In 1993, the association

created the Dorman Award in her honor

to recognize AAFSW volunteers who had

given exceptional, sustained support to

the AAFSW in all its endeavors.

In addition to serving as president,

she served as the AAFSW program chair,

the housing office chair and the public

relations chair. Even when it became dif-

ficult for her to move about, she insisted

on remaining engaged and often attended

AAFSWBoard meetings.

Lesley Dorman’s friends and col-

leagues remember her with admiration

and affection as an unfailingly loyal and

fascinating friend with a wonderful sense

of humor. Even when she was involved in

thorny discussions, they recall, she was

never “all work and no play.” She loved

tennis, both as player and spectator—

especially the matches at Wimbledon.

From time to time, they recall, she

would say: “We need a good giggle!”This

would mean no shop talk and going out

for lunch—or even, on one memorable

occasion, for high tea at the Mayflower


Friends and colleagues also remem-

ber her as an irreplaceable driving force

whose legacy is an inspiration to all.

Through AAFSW, Mrs. Dorman did an

enormous amount to improve the qual-

ity of life of Foreign Service spouses and


Mrs. Dorman is survived by her hus-

band of 65 years, Philip Dorman, and two

sons, Mark and Tim, of Washington, D.C.


Joske Y. Duffield,

93, the widow of

former FSOThomas Jefferson (Jeff) Duff-

ield Jr., died on Oct. 10 in Denver, Colo., of

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.