Chicago Journal of International Law


This article is not a primer for those who aspire to a career in diplomacy. It is instead a report by a lawyer-political scientist who was called out of private life and into public service. It is not unusual in our country for American ambassadors to be selected from private life. Indeed, there is a continuing competition underway between the State Department, which looks to advance the careers of its professionals, and the White House, which seeks to reward the President's supporters and friends. I was appointed in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter, and later reappointed by President Ronald Reagan, to serve as a United States ambassador and negotiator for the Madrid meeting of the thirty-five nation Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe ("CSCE"). The Madrid meeting was convened in 1980 under the terms of the Helsinki Final Act, an agreement signed in 1975. I was informed that the meeting would last two to three months. It lasted three years. A previous CSCE meeting in Belgrade in 1977 ended in short order without an agreement and after much internal strife. The Madrid meeting ended with an agreement that strengthened Europe's commitment to human rights, and was considered by many European leaders as the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.