The Foreign Service Journal - May 2017
Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  59 / 76 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 59 / 76 Next Page
Page Background



MAY 2017


attended Harvard Law School. He also

spent a year at the University of Vienna,

which helped him develop a lifelong

interest in Eastern Europe.

Mr. Fischer joined the Foreign Service

in 1961. His first assignment was to U.S.

Consulate General Frankfurt, where

he performed consular services and

perfected his already strong German

language skills.

He was subsequently selected for

Polish-language training and assigned to

Warsaw in 1964. It was his first experi-

ence living in a communist-controlled

country, but he was able to develop many

good contacts and friendships, including

with students and dissidents.

In 1968 Mr. Fischer was posted to

Washington, D.C., where he worked in

the Bureau of Intelligence and Research

on Eastern European affairs. He later

joined the Arms Control & Disarmament

Agency and was seconded to the Strate-

gic Arms Limitation Treaty negotiations

in 1969, where he remained until com-

pletion of the agreement in 1972. He was

particularly proud of being part of these

and subsequent arms control efforts.

Mr. Fischer went next to Sofia as head

of the political-economic section. This

was followed by an “out of area” post-

ing in Kathmandu where, among other

things, he and his wife, Pam, indulged

their strong interest in mountain climb-

ing, joining at least one expedition to

Mount Everest during their stay.

In 1977 he returned to arms control

for the SALT II negotiations, and was then

assigned to Dar es Salaam as the deputy

chief of mission. As chargé d’affaires for

an extended period between ambas-

sadors, he was the key U.S. contact with

Tanzania’s President Julius Nyerere.

In 1982 President Ronald Reagan

appointed Mr. Fischer ambassador to

the Republic of the Seychelles. He was

the first resident U.S. ambassador to that

country, which was particularly impor-

tant to our missile-tracking program

during that period.

In 1985 Ambassador Fischer returned

to Washington, D.C., as director for East

African affairs, responsible for 13 African

countries. In that position he helped

manage the massive Ethiopian famine

relief effort, as well as dealing with strife

in Somalia and Sudan.

He returned to Germany in 1989 as

consul general in Munich, then one of

our largest and most important consular

posts, where he managed U.S. interests

during a critical time as the Cold War

faded and German reunification took


Fluent in German and a skilled com-

municator, he had a legendary network

of contacts, including Franz Josef Strauss,

one of Germany’s top postwar lead-

ers. Along with his arms control efforts,

Fischer considered his work in Munich

to be the most satisfying of his Foreign

Service career.

Amb. Fischer retired from the Foreign

Service in 1990 and went to San Fran-

cisco as president of the World Affairs

Council of Northern California, one of the

country’s most influential foreign affairs

organizations. He boosted its member-

ship substantially and hosted important

speakers, including many heads of state,

academic leaders and opinion-makers

from around the globe.

In 1998 he took up a career in aca-

demia as a faculty member at San Fran-

cisco State University. Highly respected

as a teacher, his innovative courses in

arms control, intelligence and terrorism,

and national security decision-making

were always full.

He was a member of the Council

on Foreign Relations and was awarded

the Foreign Policy Association’s Medal

of Highest Achievement. In 1994 he

received the German Service Cross,

Germany’s highest civilian honor, for his

contributions to U.S-German relations.

Amb. Fischer is survived by Pamela,

his wife of 55 years, who accompanied

him to all his posts; his sons, Mark and

Keith; daughter-in-law, Stephanie; a

daughter, Anne, and son-in-law, Nathan-

iel Gleason, M.D.; as well as three grand-

sons; and a brother, Keith Fischer.


Russell Frost (Rusty) Graham,


a retired Foreign Service officer, died on

Jan. 24 in Greenwich, Conn., after a brief


Born in Norwalk, Conn., Mr. Gra-

ham attended the Hotchkiss School in

Lakeville, Conn., and Beloit College in

Wisconsin. He received his MBA from the

University of Connecticut.

He served in the U.S. Army before

joining the State Department as a Foreign

Service officer in 1974. There he met

his wife, fellow Foreign Service Officer

Virginia Lancina Graham.

Mr. Graham served overseas in Costa

Rica, Morocco, Pakistan and Peru before

returning to Washington, D.C., to study

at the National War College. He served

at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations

in New York City for the remainder of his

career, retiring as minister counselor for

host-country affairs in 2012.

An avid traveler, Mr. Graham is

remembered as a consummate diplomat

and a master storyteller. He was passion-

ate about cartography, had an encyclope-

dic knowledge of the world’s geography

and was fluent in French and Spanish.

Mr. Graham was predeceased by his

wife of 40 years, Virginia.

He is survived by his daughter, Eliza-

beth Graham Field (and her husband,

James) of Annapolis, Md.; his son, Russell

Frost Graham Jr. (and his wife, Adriane)