Page 70 - Foreign Service Journal - February 2013

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70
FEBRUARY 2013
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
Asia, Mr. Stubbs in his later years actively
sought to promote a better understanding
of that area among Americans. He served
for six years as a member of the executive
committee of the World Afairs Council of
Jacksonville, and was a frequent lecturer
on Asian studies at numerous educational
institutions in the region. He was often a
guest lecturer on cruise ships in Asia and
other parts of the world.
During his years in Hong Kong, Mr.
Stubbs served as vice president of the
Foreign Correspondents Club. He was also
a member of the Bangkok Foreign Cor-
respondents Club, the American Foreign
Service Association, Diplomatic and Con-
sular Ofcers, Retired and the Association
of Former Intelligence Ofcers.
William Stubbs is survived by his wife
of 29 years, Antoinette Atienza Stubbs of
Ocala; two sons, Christopher of Cam-
bridge, Mass., and Robert of Shillinglee,
U.K.; three stepchildren, Miriam Smith,
Marie Sison and Peter Sison; four grand-
children; six step-grandchildren; one step
great-grandchild, Nicholas Rodillas; and
two sisters, Rachael “Binky” Farris and
Carolyn Aschemeyer.
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Viron Peter (“Pete”) Vaky,
87,
a career FSO and ambassador to three
countries, died on Nov. 22 of pneumonia at
Collington Episcopal Life Care Community
inMitchellville, Md.
Born in Corpus Christi, Texas, to Greek
immigrant parents, Mr. Vaky graduated
fromGeorgetown University’s School of
Foreign Service in 1947 and received a
master’s degree in international relations
from the University of Chicago in 1948.
During WorldWar II he served in the U.S.
Army Signal Corps.
Mr. Vaky joined the Foreign Service in
1949, beginning a distinguished 31-year
diplomatic career focused primarily on
South and Central America. His overseas
assignments included Guayaquil, Buenos
Aires, Bogotá, Guatemala, San José and
Caracas. He also attended the National
War College, class of 1964.
InWashington, Mr. Vaky served as a
member of the State Department’s Policy
Planning Council (1967-1968), and as
senior stafmember for Latin America on
the National Security Council (1969-1970).
From 1970 to 1972 he was diplomat-in-res-
idence at Georgetown University’s School
of Foreign Service.
He served as United States ambassa-
dor to Costa Rica (1972-1974), Colombia
(1974-1976) and Venezuela (1976-1978).
In July 1978, Ambassador Vaky was
appointed assistant secretary of State for
inter-American afairs, a position he held
until his retirement from the Foreign Ser-
vice on Jan. 1, 1980.
Amb. Vaky was known for promot-
ing a far-reaching vision of hemispheric
relations based on American values and
for eschewing opportunistic shortcuts.
He guided U.S. policy during periods of
volatility in relations with Nicaragua, El
Salvador and Guatemala. In particular,
he helped coordinate the transition of the
Panama Canal fromAmerican to Pana-
manian control, and helped negotiate the
release of U.S. Ambassador Diego Asencio
and other diplomats taken hostage in
Colombia in 1980.
A year before, in 1979, he had tried to
persuade Nicaraguan strongman Anasta-
sio Somoza Debayle to give up power dur-
ing what became known as the Sandinista
Revolution. Somoza refused, and the rest
is history.
Earlier, in 1968, as DCM in Guatemala,
Amb. Vaky had written a memo to his
superiors at the State Department, oppos-
ing U.S. support for the counterterrorist
practices of the Guatemalan government.
At the time, kidnapping, brutal interroga-
tions and political assassinations of sus-
pected communists by state-sanctioned
security forces were all common.
In the memo, which remained clas-
sifed for 30 years, Vaky wrote that it was
morally wrong to ignore “the violence of
right-wing vigilantes and sheer criminal-
ity” of the Guatemalan regime. “In the
minds of many in Latin America, we are
believed to have condoned these tactics, if
not actually to have encouraged them.”
As the
Washington Post
’s Matt Schudel
reports, the memo became known as a
touchstone of diplomatic conscience and
courage. And in 1999, after it was declassi-
fed, President Bill Clinton visited Guate-
mala and apologized for U.S. support of the
country’s repressive regimes in the past.
Following his retirement, Amb. Vaky
served as associate dean and research
professor in diplomacy at the Georgetown
University School of Foreign Service until
1985, and as adjunct professor of diplo-
macy until 1994.
From 1985 to 1992 he was a senior
associate at the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace, and senior fellow at
the Inter-American Dialogue from 1994
to 2010. He was a charter member of the
American Academy of Diplomacy, and
was a member of the Board of Directors of
the Una Chapman Cox Foundation.
Formerly a member of the Commis-
sion on Peace of the Episcopal Diocese of
Washington, Amb. Vaky chaired its Com-
mittee of Inquiry, which produced two
studies on the nuclear dilemma and the
post-ColdWar world. He was a member of
the Washington National Cathedral Chap-
ter from 1986 to 1994.
Amb. Vaky is survived by his wife of 63
years, Luann Colburn Vaky of Mitch-
ellville; three sons, Peter Colburn Vaky
of Atlanta, Ga., Paul Stephan Vaky of
Bogotá, Colombia, and Matthew Alex-
ander Vaky of Gaithersburg, Md.; and 10
grandchildren.
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