Page 28 - Foreign Service Journal - April 2013

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April 2013
the foreign Service journal
Ever since the 1970s, AFSA has been
ready to fght for the Service. Tanks to
the eforts of about 20 AFSA presidents
and Governing Boards over the past
four decades, the organization today has
enormous capacity to fght any McCar-
thyist efort. It has millions of dollars
in an operational reserve and a strong
balance sheet on which to borrow even
more if necessary; well-developed
mechanisms for reaching out to the
media, Congress and the public at large;
and more than 16,000 dues-paying members willing to fght, if
necessary, to vouchsafe AFSA’s power.
So I pity any future McCarthy
who goes after our Service. Te
most he or she could hope for
would be a bloody political and/
or legal standof. Te more likely
outcome would be the demagogue’s
“Never Again” is not an idle
boast. We should think about that,
as well, as we celebrate our 40th
anniversary—and look ahead.
Tomas D. Boyatt, an FSO from 1959
until 1985, served as ambassador to
Colombia and to Upper Volta (now
Burkina Faso) and chargé d’afaires
in Chile, among many other post-
ings. Currently the treasurer of AFSA’s
political action committee, AFSA-PAC,
Ambassador Boyatt was AFSA’s presi-
dent in 1975, and has also served as its
State vice president, treasurer and as
a retiree representative. He is currently
president of the Foreign Afairs Council, chairs the Academy of Ameri-
can Diplomacy’s “Foreign Afairs Budget for the Future” project, and
lectures, teaches and consults.
I would like to take this opportunity
to highlight one dimension of that era
which did not emerge fully in the earlier
coverage, but ties together past, present
and future. I call it: “Never Again.”
Don’t Tread on Us
It’s worth keeping in mind that virtu-
ally all of us “Young Turks” who led the
struggle to reform the Foreign Service
during the 1960s and 1970s had been
junior ofcers, or college students con-
templating a diplomatic career, during the 1950s. Tat decade
began with the destruction of the lives and careers of the “China
hands,” and continued with the ram-
page of Senator Joseph McCarthy,
R-Wis., against the State Department
and the Foreign Service.
We’d also witnessed the dam-
age done to the careers of excellent
ofcers by the efciency reports of
politically appointed ambassadors.
It seemed that the State Department
and Foreign Service were convenient
punching bags for whoever came
along with a complaint.
We were committed to changing
those terms of reference. Experi-
ence had proved that the concept of
a benign political leadership of the
State Department protecting career
ofcers was a myth, so we were
determined to make AFSA so strong
that we could protect ourselves with-
out reliance on others.
My wife, Maxine, captured our
sentiments when she made me a
needlepoint battle fag. It depicted a coiled snake ready to strike,
with the letters AFSA on its coils. Below was a legend stating,
“Don’t Tread On Me.”
“Thanks to the eforts of about 20 AFSA presidents and Governing Boards
over the past four decades, the organization today has enormous capacity.”
—Retired Ambassador Thomas D. Boyatt (AFSA President, 1975)
Ambassador Boyatt testifying on behalf of AFSA on
Capitol Hill in 2007.