Texas Monthly Talks

Former U.N. Ambassador
Richard Holbrooke

Richard Holbrooke


Notes from Evan Smith

"Former Ambassador Richard Holbrooke was nominated by President Clinton to be Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs, in 1994. Prior to becoming Ambassador he was an Assistant Secretary of State, and before that the U.S. Ambassador to Germany. Ambassador Holbrooke began his career in 1962, immediately after graduating from Brown University, as a Foreign Service Officer. After studying Vietnamese, he was sent to Vietnam and, in the following six years served in a variety of posts related to Vietnam -- first in the Mekong Delta as a provincial representative for the Agency for International Development (AID), and then as staff assistant to Ambassadors Maxwell Taylor and Henry Cabot Lodge. In 1966 he was re-assigned to the White House, working on the Vietnam staff of President Johnson. In 1967-69, he wrote one volume of the Pentagon Papers, served as a special assistant to Under Secretaries of State Nicholas deb. Katzenbach and Elliot Richardson, and simultaneously served as a member of the American Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks on Vietnam, Headed successively by Averell Harriman and Henry Cabot Lodge. Following these assignments Ambassador Holbrooke spent a year as a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. In 1970 he was assigned as Peace Corps Director in Morocco. In 1972, he resigned from the Foreign Service to become Managing Editor of the quarterly magazine Foreign Policy, a position he held until 1976. In 1977, President Carter appointed him Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, a post he held until 1981. During his tenure, among other major events, the United States established full diplomatic relations with China. In 1981, he became Vice President of Public Strategies, a consulting firm based in Washington, DC and a consultant to Lehman Brothers, eventually assuming a full-time position as Managing Director at Lehman Brothers. He also served as a member of the Carnegie Commission on America and a Changing World (chaired by Winston Lord), and chairman and principal author of the bipartisan Commission on Government and Renewal, sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation and the Institute for International Economics in 1992. Ambassador Holbrooke was born on April 24,1941 in New York. He has two sons. One is a producer at NBC News; the other works in a refugee camp in Thailand." - Evan Smith, Texas Monthly Talks, Broadcast 5.1.03