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AFSA’s New Book Captures Foreign Service History

The American Foreign Ser-

vice Association held a book

launch on July 13 for its latest


The Voice of the

Foreign Service: A History of

the American Foreign Service


, written by

author and former diplomat

Harry W. Kopp.

From the early history of

diplomacy and the begin-

nings of the professional

Foreign Service and AFSA in

1924, the book takes readers

from Benjamin Franklin to

the Rogers Act of 1924, and

the Foreign Service Acts of

1946 and 1980, and on into

the 21st century.

The author also traces

AFSA’s transformation from

a benevolent society to an

independent professional

organization and exclusive

employee representative

of all members of the U.S.

Foreign Service.

Outgoing AFSA President

Robert J. Silverman and

Ambassador (ret.) William

C. Harrop, a major figure in

AFSA’s history who helped

get the project going, offered

remarks to an audience of

current and former diplo-

mats, AFSA staff and Foreign

Service associates.

Kopp followed by explain-

ing his motivation for writing

the historical account: “I hope

that this book will help AFSA

and the Service understand

the past. When you know how

you got to where you are, you

have a better chance of figur-

ing out how to move on to

where you want to be.”

He also made a spe-

cial plea to the new AFSA

Governing Board to create

a digitized collection of


Foreign Service Journal,


Author Harry Kopp addresses the gathering at the July 13 launch of


Voice of the Foreign Service.

Attendees had a chance to purchase copies of the book during the reception.



of the primary sources for

the book.



has produced

news and commentary on

diplomacy and foreign affairs

by the country’s leading

practitioners since 1924, but

can be found in its entirety

only in the Library of Con-

gress, the department’s

Ralph J. Bunche Library and

AFSA headquarters. Kopp

implored that it be preserved

in digital format so that more

historians could access its

content worldwide.

The former diplomat

admitted his initial expecta-

tion, that documenting the

concurrent histories of AFSA

and the Foreign Service

would be simple, turned out

to be a gross miscalculation.

“The Foreign Service is small.

But it is the most carefully

examined, picked over,

x-rayed and MRI’d institution

in the government, maybe in

the country.”

Kopp is the author of

two previous books,





Diplomacy and the National


. During his Foreign

Service career he served as

deputy assistant secretary

of state for international

trade policy in the Carter and

Reagan administrations and

as deputy chief of mission at

Embassy Brasilia.

AFSA thanks the Nelson

B. Delavan Foundation for its

financial support of the book

project. Published by Foreign

Service Books, AFSA’s book

publishing division,

The Voice

of the Foreign Service

is now

available through AFSA and

all major book retailers.

For more information

and to order, please go to

AFSA’s website:




—Amy Jones,

Communications Intern