Page 10 - Foreign Service Journal - April 2013

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April 2013
the foreign Service journal
We seem to have rushed to inherit the
troubling results from Great Britain.
Britain today may not be what it once
was, but I believe her diplomatic skills
remain sterling. To remove the onus from
our back and to save our lives, treasure,
reputation and good will, I recom-
mend we encourage her to establish
and head an international commission
to resolve the problems of her creation,
perhaps under the auspices of the United
Regarding the Afghanistan conun-
drum, I was very encouraged to learn in
early February about British Prime Min-
ister David Cameron’s imminent talks
in London with Afghanistan’s President
Hamid Karzai and Pakistan’s President
Asif Ali Zardari. Let’s hope there’s some
noteworthy progress prior to this letter’s
I hope
Foreign Service Journal
will take up this debate.
Louis V. Riggio
FSO, retired
Hollywood, Fla.
More Memories of
Reginald Bartholomew
The December 2012 letter by David
T. Jones regarding the passing of Regi-
nald Bartholomew provided a wonder-
ful description of the great confidence
several U.S. presidents and Secretaries
of State had in the ambassador. As Mr.
Jones highlighted, his leadership style
was striking and always energetic.
Yet, in addition to the “dark side of his
brilliance,” there were angels, too—as I
learned while serving under Amb. Bar-
tholomew 30 years ago in Beirut.
Oct. 23, 1983, is a historic day in the
annals of the U.S. Marine Corps. Tat
day, 241 warriors were lost in what has
been called the largest non-nuclear
explosion ever. Tat day was also Amb.
Bartholomew’s frst at post.
I was on temporary duty there as a
junior communications ofcer, alone in
the ofce that morning. While an explo-
sion had been heard earlier, its origins
were not immediately known. Under-
scoring the importance of U.S. govern-
ment diplomatic communications, the
ambassador’s frst briefng was with the
Communications Programs Unit.
As I briefed him, the audible signal
of flash traffic suddenly rang out. The
next thing I knew, the ambassador
and I were trying to decipher a series
of flash cables which, one by one,
screamed out an escalating horror: 20,
53, 125, 180…Marines confirmed dead.
That earlier explosion was now fully,
yet very sadly, understood.
Given the situation, I was nervous. I
was a bit shaky too, dropping one fash
telegraphic tape to the foor. Te ambas-
sador noticed it, I’m sure. It was one of
many moments in my Foreign Service
career that would test my professional
ability and composure.
As he started to leave, Amb. Bar-
tholomew paused at the door and said,
calmly but frmly, “Tim, our work here
has just become a lot tougher. But in
honor of all those Marines, our outstand-
ing team here, including you, will see
it through.” Te ambassador’s words
helped me regain focus. And it was then
that I saw an angel or two.
Timothy C. Lawson
Senior FSO, retired
Hua Hin, Tailand
Professionalism vs.
Foreign Service Specialist Krishna
Das’s paean to diversity (January Let-
ters) prompts me to ask: Which does
Mr. Das consider the higher priority for
State, attracting diversity or attracting
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