The Diplomatic Life

James P. Richards, 3rd from the left, in Pakistan as special ambassador to the Middle East under President Eisenhower in 1957.

A new exhibit now graces the South Carolina Political Collections gallery.  Experience The Diplomatic Life through September 1st in the Hollings Library.  Here at Political Collections, we have the papers of a lot of congressmen, governors, judges, and so on, but did you know we have the papers of diplomats?  Dorothy and I thought it about time to shine some light on them.

Invitation sent to Rita Derrick Hayes in Geneva.  Ambassador Hayes was Deputy U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO) from 1997 to 2001.

Invitation sent to Rita Derrick Hayes in Geneva. Ambassador Hayes was Deputy U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO) from 1997 to 2001.

Diplomacy is influenced by representatives in the legislative and executive branches (boy, do we have some congressional travel files we could show you!) but diplomacy is officially the domain of the diplomatic corps: negotiators and delegates, foreign service officers, and ambassadors, all representing their country in a multitude of ways.  In The Diplomatic Life, we attempt to look at this multitude.

Former SC Governor John West with King Khalid of Saudi Arabia. West was U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1977 to 1981.

Former SC Governor John West with King Khalid of Saudi Arabia. West was U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1977 to 1981.

This exhibit examines in brief the careers of six individuals navigating different avenues of American diplomatic service.  We explore the realities and challenges of ambassadorial appointments to Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Canada, and the World Trade Organization, along with a diplomatic career in the U.S. Foreign Service and a unique assignment as a Special Assistant to the President on a Middle East mission in the 1950s.

Every item in this blog post is on display, representing each of the six diplomats.  We want to show you more, though, especially if you can’t visit us in person.  This month and next, we’ll put up posts looking more closely at items in the exhibit and explaining how they represent different facets of a diplomat’s career.

David Wilkins, U.S. Ambassador to Canada from 2005 to 2009, may have been the closest to home of anyone in this exhibit, but as this cover lets on, Canada must have felt like a world away from the beaches of South Carolina.

David Wilkins, U.S. Ambassador to Canada from 2005 to 2009, may have been the closest to home of anyone in this exhibit, but as this cover lets on, Canada must have felt a world away from the beaches back home.

Paul Kattenburg's career in the U.S. Foreign Service began in 1950.  From 1950 to 1962, he and his family lived in Washington, Manila, and Frankfurt.  He eventually became an officer for the State Department’s Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs.  Kattenburg finished his diplomatic career at the Foreign Service Institute’s School of Professional Studies, teaching new Foreign Service workers the trade. Though he performed contract work for the U.S. government for the rest of his life, he officially retired in 1973, taking on a new academic career.

From 1950 to 1962, Paul Kattenburg’s career in the U.S. Foreign Service took him and his family from Washington to Manila to Frankfurt. He eventually became an officer for the State Department’s Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs. He finished his diplomatic career at the Foreign Service Institute’s School of Professional Studies, teaching new Foreign Service workers the trade.

Invitation sent to Richard "Dixie" Walker, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea from 1981 to 1986.

Invitation sent to Richard “Dixie” Walker, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea from 1981 to 1986.  Walker joined the faculty at the University of South Carolina in 1957 and founded the Institute for International Studies in 1961 (renamed for him in 1994).

 

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