The Post-Cold War World

The collapse of Soviet-backed communism following the destruction of the Berlin Wall in 1989 created completely new conditions for U.S. diplomats as confrontation and containment of the Soviet Union ceased to be the leitmotif of U.S. diplomacy. Suddenly U.S. diplomats became engaged in helping the countries of Eastern and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union develop viable democracies and market economies.

Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Spokesman Hodding Carter III (March 1977-June 1980) conducts a “noon briefing.”

Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Spokesman Hodding Carter III (March 1977-June 1980) conducts a “noon briefing.”

The United States was called upon to help resolve issues worldwide stemming from ethnic, religious, and regional rivalries, most notably in Somalia, Bosnia, and Haiti. Policymakers were asked to reexamine the U.S. relationship to the United Nations and other international organizations. NATO’s role was recast, as it fired its first shots in anger, not against Warsaw Pact forces, but in Bosnia. The media became more influential than ever before, forcing U.S. policy to focus on these crises.

Perry Shankle, president of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), and Secretary of State George P. Shultz dedicate one of two memorial plaques erected by AFSA in the lobby of the main State Department building “in honor of those Americans who have lost their lives under heroic or other inspirational circumstances while serving the government abroad in foreign affairs.”

Perry Shankle, president of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), and Secretary of State George P. Shultz dedicate one of two memorial plaques erected by AFSA in the lobby of the main State Department building “in honor of those Americans who have lost their lives under heroic or other inspirational circumstances while serving the government abroad in foreign affairs.”

As world events and technology have altered diplomacy, the State Department and other foreign affairs agencies have changed with the times. Nevertheless, the expertise and dedication of their domestic and overseas personnel, including the Foreign Service, continue to provide the nation with an irreplaceable resource.

The Somalis thank Special Envoy, Ambassador Robert Oakley and the American Corps of Engineers in 1993 for completing the bridge that reestablished the road link from Baidoa to Mogadishu, cut off for six months.

The Somalis thank Special Envoy, Ambassador Robert Oakley and the American Corps of Engineers in 1993 for completing the bridge that reestablished the road link from Baidoa to Mogadishu, cut off for six months.

Terence A. Todman (1926—)

Terence A. Todman (1926—)

Career ambassador Terence A. Todman retired in 1993 after 41 years in the Foreign Service. Born in the Virgin Islands, he brought to his State Department service an amazing ability for languages, enormous energy, and an uncanny sense of when to take major risks. Todman’s career included a remarkable 24 years as ambassador to six countries: Chad, 1969-72; Guinea, 1972-75; Costa Rica, 1975-77; Spain, 1978-83; Denmark, 1983-89; and Argentina, 1989-93 . He also served as assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs, 1977-78.

Todman was honored by Congress for his contributions to U.S. foreign affairs at a ceremony in Statuary Hall in November 1993. He was recognized as serving the nation “with dignity, honor, and true professionalism.”

Alexander Meigs Haig, Jr., 1981-1982

Alexander Haig, Jr.
Secretary of State
1981-1982

George Pratt Shultz, 1982-1989

George P. Shultz
Secretary of State
1982-1989

James Addison Baker III, 1989-1992

James A. Baker III
Secretary of State
1989-1992

Lawrence Sidney Eagleburger, 1992-1993

Lawrence Eagleburger
Secretary of State
1992-1993

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