U.S. Diplomacy Stories

Philip C. Habib is shown speaking as chief negotiator for the United States at the Peace Talks between the U.S. and North Vietnam in Paris, France, 1970.
Philip Habib: America’s Diplomat
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Philip Habib: America’s Diplomat Born to parents who immigrated to the United States from Lebanon, Philip C. Habib grew up in New York and joined the Foreign Service in 1949. Habib became a renowned diplomat over his 30+ year career, first for his service and expertise in Southeast Asia — including a prominent role in…

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African American History Diplomacy Frederick Douglass
African American History Month
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Honoring African American Trailblazers in Diplomacy These African American pioneers shaped American history. Read on to discover more about trailblazing ambassadors, influential activists, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Ambassador David Bolen First African American Ambassador beyond the Iron Curtain U.S. diplomat, Olympic athlete, United States Air Force WWII veteran, and University of Colorado Boulder…

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Patti Morton Meritorius Honor Award
Patti Morton: The First Female Diplomatic Security Special Agent
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May 30, 1935 – October 16, 2019 (age 84) As the first female Diplomatic Security special agent, Patricia Anne (Patti) Morton was very aware of the legacy she would leave for women.  Originally from Washington State, Patti joined the State Department as a Foreign Service staff officer in 1965 and during nearly 30-year career served…

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Freed hostage Bruce Laingen makes ?V? signs as he steps from the first of four planes carrying the freed hostages from West Point, N.Y., to their official welcome in Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 1981 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Laingen was the charge d?affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Iran.
Veterans in Diplomatic Service: L. Bruce Laingen, 1922-2019
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We salute our nation’s veterans! An estimated 7,100 military veterans serve our nation in diplomatic capacities at the Department of State. Throughout our nation’s history, the branches of the military and the Department of State have worked closely together to promote our national security and protect Americans at home and abroad. Building upon this partnership,…

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Flags of the US - American Polish exhibit
Poles and Americans: A Centennial of Friendship
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America played an important role in Poland’s regaining its independence following World War I. On January 8, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson, inspired by the Polish statesman and virtuoso Ignacy Jan Paderewski, announced his famous “Fourteen Points” before a joint session of Congress. Today, the U.S.-Poland partnership is expressed in many concrete ways, from the Warsaw…

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Original image of old newspaper
Chronicle of Freedom
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This original August 3, 1789 issue of The Independent Gazetteer or the Chronicle of Freedom provides notice of and complete text of the July 27, 1789 act establishing the Department of Foreign Affairs. This legislation enacted what is the core law for the Department of State today. The original Department of Foreign Affairs (with the…

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Crowd of soldiers walk by citizens in a black and white photo with Austrian Alps in background
Medal of Freedom
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The Consulate General had its windows and doors blown in or out several times, and all of us had narrow escapes, but no one was actually hit, a miracle in view of the thousands of flying and rocket bombs directed our way. We owe our lives to Divine intervention and to the efficiency of the…

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Photograph of Wolfgang J. Lehmann (far left) in Austria in the early 1950s, sitting with former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt (far right) and fellow embassy staff member B.J. McGuigan (center) for a press conference.
Evacuation under pressure
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Wolfgang J. Lehmann served as a Foreign Service Officer from 1951 to 1983, experiencing significant events in diplomatic history during the cold war era. The Diplomacy Center recently collected several artifacts representing his distinguished career that spanned eight presidential administrations. Lehmann’s Foreign Service assignments included: Political Officer U.S. Embassy Vienna; supervisor of the U.S. Refugee…

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Document of Martin Van Buren's Secretary of State Commission
Signed by President Jackson, and Hamilton’s son
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Martin Van Buren served as the 10th U.S. Secretary of State and the 8th President of the United States. He entered politics in 1813 and served as a New York state senator, a U.S. Senator, and later as New York governor. He resigned to join President Andrew Jackson’s cabinet as U.S. Secretary of State, serving…

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U.S. Special Passport Issued to Sheldon Whitehouse (Sr) 1914
A very “special” passport
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Sheldon Whitehouse, a career Foreign Service Officer, served as U.S. Minister to Guatemala (1929-1933) and to Colombia (1933-1934). Prior to these posts, he used this Special Passport to travel to his post at the U.S. Legation for Greece and Montenegro. The passport is signed by Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan. It was issued on…

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