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  • Author: Mark L. Asquino
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Almost fifty years have passed since the terrible day in 1971 when one State Department officer brutally killed another in the tiny, African country of Equatorial Guinea. What took place there is a lurid story of sex, madness and murder that almost every foreign service officer has heard about at one time or another. In many ways it’s the State Department’s version of the 1984 classic film, “Nightmare on Elm Street.” However, the murder in Equatorial Guinea is a real-life tale of horror that continues to intrigue foreign service officers. Here are the basic facts of what happened.
  • Topic: Cold War, Crime, Diplomacy, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, North America, United States of America, Equatorial Guinea
  • Author: Bob Baker
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: While many films made by the US Information Agency (USIA) were very useful in Africa to tell about American society and policies, two were not. These two, one about President Kennedy and the other about American agriculture, had the opposite result from that intended. Local African culture distorted the films’ messages.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Film, Soft Power, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ralph Bresler
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: My wife Barbara and I, and our children, were fortunate to work closely with Dr. Jane Goodall during our 1987-1991 tour in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In 1989 Goodall called on Secretary of State James Baker in order to enlist him in her new cause of trying to save chimpanzees in the wild. After discussing her many years of groundbreaking chimpanzee research in Gombe, Tanzania, Goodall explained that, in addition to destruction of habitat, a major problem was the bushmeat trade. She noted that ten adult chimps were killed in the wild protecting every infant captured, and only one out of ten infant chimps survived the journey to the marketplace after being taken from their mothers. Secretary Baker offered the Department’s assistance to her effort. As the largest chimpanzee population was in the DRC, Kinshasa was her first stop in this new endeavor.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Environment, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Africa, North America, United States of America, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Author: Ben East
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: I pictured myself in a Peace Corps-issue hammock on an island somewhere, or crossing high glaciers in the glaring Himalayan sun. Then the recruiter called and offered Malawi. Pointless to remind her what I’d written where the application asked my preference: ‘Anywhere but Africa.’ Before that call, a recruiter—maybe the same recruiter—offered another would-be Volunteer a choice. Would she prefer Nepal, or Malawi? A logical thinker with a Math degree and an Indian heritage, she chose Malawi. ‘I can travel to Nepal on my own any time. When will I travel to Africa outside the Peace Corps?’ So when the recruiter called me, fate was already decided.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Memoir, Peace Corps
  • Political Geography: Africa, Malawi
  • Author: Antonio Pinto da France
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Angola – O dia-a-dia de um embaixador Angola – an ambassador’s daily diary by Ambassador Antonio Pinto da France Edicao de Livros e Revistas, Lisbon 2004 (Translation by Ed Marks). I was the third Portuguese ambassador to Angola and therefore still able to bear witness to some aspects of the early days of independence. I was destined to live a period of Angolan history that will not reoccur. It seemed to me, therefore, that as in Guinea-Bissau, I had an obligation to bear testimony to this unique period.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Portugal, Angola
  • Author: Robert Baker
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Rajat Neogy declared himself referee and demanded a formal exchange of insults contest between Paul Theroux and me. It was the fag end of a very Scotch evening in Rajat’s cluttered, dusty living room up in the green hills of Kampala. Brimming ashtrays and empty beer bottles lay on tables and chairs. Everyone was gone except the three of us. Rajat grinned a brilliant grin as he scribbled down his insult scores as Paul and I exchanged jibes. He grinned and goaded us on. We drank some more. Rajat declared that I had won. Paul was briefly sullen but we had another drink and he came around. Paul is smarter than I but had likely drunk more. We staggered out, leaving Rajat as the rising sun peeped through his windows. Rajat in 1966 was the Indian editor of Transition, Africa’s only literary magazine in English, not run by Europeans. Rajat published most of Africa’s leading writers and many from Europe and the U.S. Paul was then an impecunious English teacher living in a bachelor flat at Makerere University and a commercially unsuccessful novelist. I was Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer at the dusty, run-down American Cultural Center and Library on Kampala Road.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Media, Colonialism, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, United States of America
  • Author: Bob Baker
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Nothing but a bunch of “cookie pushers” is an ancient slur against diplomats who are thus seen as simply sitting at fine tables sipping tea and offering cookies to equally insipid, wealthy and powerful guests abroad. In fact, diplomatic receptions, lunches, dinners, or simple wine and cheese works are intricate payoffs or seductions and very hard work. The pit face of cookie pushing is when the President visits. Everyone at the Embassy turns out to make sure he and his retinue meet or greet in the right order, time and place everyone of use to American interests. The Ambassador works hardest as any slipups are his responsibility. Even the wealthy, politically appointed Ambassador needs to make the President and his visiting staff happy. The career Ambassador’s next post may be in a steaming jungle if mistakes are made or in an important country if all goes well during the “king’s progress”.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Government, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States of America, North America
  • Author: Bob Baker
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Malaria was like having a pain X-ray of all your bones, but after a fever bout, shaking chills diverted attention from your aching bones. I had taken all the anti-malaria pills but had evidently bumped into a new strain upcountry in Mali, West Africa. Catching bugs was also easy in Liberia, and Congo.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Health, Memoir, Peace Corps
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, United States of America
  • Author: Robert Baker
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Until I did my report on the March, 1961 terrorist uprising in Angola, I had done well at my job as an intelligence analyst, especially at the hard slog of scanning thousands of pages of reports to assemble a good picture of communist efforts in Africa. My reports helped guide where and how the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) directed its propaganda efforts. They also helped convince Congress that USIA needed more money to match the communists. They outspent us in propaganda by about ten to one, measured by their output of films, radio broadcasts, books, pamphlets, magazines and exhibits tailored for Africa. Communists also gave more equipment and mass media training to Africans than did the U.S., though the West got the best students and other trainees and had a head start in African mass media and education programs. Few top students really wanted to learn Russian or Czechoslovakian for example, nor to live in those countries and to study communist theory in addition to their technical or academic work. A handful of African students at communist universities were recruited for communist intelligence work when they arrived back in Africa.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Terrorism, Colonialism, Violence, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Africa, Portugal, Angola, United States of America