Sometimes Ambassadors Resign

It doesn’t happen very often, but when a foreign service officer disagrees fundamentally with US policy, the option of last resort is to resign.

Ambassador Robert E. White, a noted Latin Americanist, passed away in January 2015. His career was devoted to the principles of human rights and democracy–at a very high personal cost.

“I was fired by the Nixon White House for opposing politicization of the Peace Corps, reprimanded by Henry Kissinger for speaking out on human rights, and finally, definitely dismissed by Alexander Haig for opposing a military solution in El Salvador,” Mr. White recalled.

Via NYT Obit

His early diplomatic posts were located in Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Later, he served with the Peace Corp and the OAS before becoming ambassador to Paraguay and then, notably, to El Salvador.

He continued to call himself a diplomat and a democrat, drawing on the “quotient of idealism”, as he called the force that led him into the foreign service.


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