Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  42 / 108 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 42 / 108 Next Page
Page Background







Cecile Shea, AFSA’s 2003 post representative of the year, is the State Department Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Her

previous postings include Canada, Thailand, Israel, Scotland, Pacific Command and Japan. The views presented in this article are

her own and not necessarily those of the State Department or U.S. government.

Richard C. Longworth reported from more than 80 countries during his career. After retiring from journalism in 2013, he became a

distinguished fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, where he has focused on globalization’s effects on the Midwest and on

the role of global cities in the 21st century. Longworth’s books include

Global Squeeze

(1998) and

Caught in the Middle: America’s

Heartland in the Age of Globalism

(2009). Cecile Shea interviewed Mr. Longworth in Chicago on Aug. 21.


Chicago Tribune

foreign correspondent Richard C. Longworth

discusses his 1977 “Primer for Diplomats,” a concise and still timely survey

of the duties of diplomats and the importance of diplomacy.




from January 1977 through September 1979,

Reverend Andrew Young—a former executive

director of the Southern Christian Leadership

Conference, a former member of Congress and

a hero of the Civil Rights Movement—served as

the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Young, who had spent his life speaking

bluntly and, as a member of Congress, independently, was

ill-suited to the life of a circumspect administration official.

He garnered attention overseas and caused heartburn in

Washington with blunt, not-always-aligned-with-U.S.-policy

statements. He described Zimbabwe’s 1979 election as

“neofascist” and referred to the government of South Africa as

“illegitimate,” a sentiment no doubt shared by many Americans

but not accurate as a matter of U.S. foreign policy. His musings

that Cuban troops in Angola could be viewed as a force for

stability angered many in the United States.

Six months into Young’s tenure as ambassador, and in

response to the civil rights icon’s apparent difficulties adapting

to his new job,

Chicago Tribune

foreign correspondent Richard

C. Longworth wrote his

“Primer for Diplomats.”

Appearing in

the July 10, 1977,


, Longworth’s remarkably timeless

piece was both an explanation of why diplomacy mattered

and a concise survey of the duties and responsibilities of an

American diplomat.

Intrigued both by Longworth’s forceful opinions on what

makes a good ambassador and his obvious familiarity with

how embassies operate, I sat down this past summer with the

two-time Pulitzer finalist to ask what inspired him to write the

primer almost 40 years ago.

Cecile Shea:

A theme of your piece seems to be that even

extremely accomplished individuals may not be cut out for diplo-


Richard C. Longworth:

Not everyone is cut out to be an

ambassador, any more than good businessmen make good poli-

ticians or good journalists make good managers. Some do, most