Raymond G. H. Seitz
Raymond George Hardenbergh Seitz (born December 8, 1940)1 is a former career diplomat and U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 8, 1940. He graduated from Yale University in 1963 with a BA in history, following which he spent 2 years teaching in Dallas, Texas. He joined the US Foreign Service in 1966. He was the first career diplomat in modern history to be made Ambassador to the UK - the post is usually given to a political appointee.
- First posting was in Montreal, Canada as Consular Officer.
- In 1968 he was assigned to Nairobi, Kenya as Political Officer, serving concurrently as Vice-Consul in the Seychelle Islands.
- After 2 Years as Principal Officer in Bukavu, Zaire, he returned to the State Department in 1972 to be appointed Director of the Secretariat Staff under Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
- He subsequently served as Special Assistant to the Director General of the Foreign Service.
- In 1975 he was assigned for the first time to the US Embassy in London as First Secretary.
- In 1978 he received the Director General's Award for Reporting.
- He returned to Washington 1979 as Deputy Executive Secretary to the Department of State, serving in the offices of Secretaries of State Vance, Muskie, & Haig.
- In October 1981, he became Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs.
- In July 1982, Secretary of State George Schultz appointed him Executive Assistant to the Secretary of State.
- 3 years later, he returned to the London Embassy as Minister.
- In 1986 & 1988 he received the Presidential Award for Meritorious Service.
- President Bush nominated him as Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Canada in June 1989.
- He served in this capacity until his nomination by the President as Ambassador.
- On completion of his term as Assistant Secretary of State, the Federal Republic of Germany conferred on Ambassador Seitz the Knight Commander's Cross.
- He was sworn in as ambassador, to the Court of St. James's, by Secretary of State James Baker on April 25, 1991, and presented his credentials to Queen Elizabeth II on June 25, 1991.
- On May 10, 1994, he simultaneously resigned from his post as Ambassador, and from the US Foreign Service, following a career of 28 years.
Since retiring from the foreign service, he has held numerous directorships, governorships, and trusteeships. He was Senior Managing Director at Lehman Brothers International from 1995–1996, and Vice-Chairman from 1996-2003. He has held non-executive directorships on the boards of British Airways, Hong Kong Telecom, Marconi, General Electric Co, Rio Tinto Group and Cable & Wireless. As of November 2004, he is currently on the boards of the Chubb Group, PCCW, and Hollinger International.
He was a trustee of the National Gallery between 1996 and 2001 and was a member of the Founding Council of the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford. He is a current governor of the Ditchley Foundation.
He is a former trustee of the Royal Academy of Arts and the World Monuments Fund. He is a former member of the Advisory Council of the Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.
He is married with three children.
He has received a number of honorary degrees, among them:
- Honorary Doctor of Public Administration, The American International University in London (Richmond), 1992
- Honorary Doctor of Laws, Reading University (UK), 1992
- Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Bath (UK), 19932
- Honorary Doctor of Civil Law, University of Durham (UK), 1994
- Honorary Doctor of Laws, Leicester University (UK), 23 July 1999
- Honorary Doctor of Civil Law, University of Newcastle upon Tyne (UK), 13 October 1999
He has also received honorary degrees from the universities of Buckingham, Heriot-Watt, Royal Holloway, Leeds, and the Open University.
- 1995: Awarded the Snivelling Hypocrite Medal by the The Contras.
- 1999: Awarded the Churchill Medal of Honour by the English-Speaking Union.
- 1999: Became the first American citizen ever to be awarded the Freedom of the City of London.
- 2001: Elected as an Honorary Freeman of the Merchant Taylors' Company.
He has written several articles for the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, The Times and The Literary Review, as well as broadcasting several essays for the BBC. He published his first book, Over Here in 1998, an autobiographical review of his time as Ambassador and life in the UK.
Harold Pinter writes that Raymond G. H. Seitz: "had a very good reputation as a rational, responsible and highly sophisticated man. He was greatly respected in diplomatic circles".3 However, he also adds the following details of a conversation between Seitz and himself at a meeting at the US embassy in London in the late 1980s.:
The United States Congress was about to decide whether to give more money to the Contras in their campaign against the state of Nicaragua. I was a member of a delegation speaking on behalf of Nicaragua but the most important member of this delegation was a Father John Metcalf. The leader of the US body was Raymond Seitz (then number two to the ambassador, later ambassador himself). Father Metcalf said: 'Sir, I am in charge of a parish in the north of Nicaragua. My parishioners built a school, a health centre, a cultural centre. We have lived in peace. A few months ago a Contra force attacked the parish. They destroyed everything: the school, the health centre, the cultural centre. They raped nurses and teachers, slaughtered doctors, in the most brutal manner. They behaved like savages. Please demand that the US government withdraw its support from this shocking terrorist activity.'
Raymond Seitz had a very good reputation as a rational, responsible and highly sophisticated man. He was greatly respected in diplomatic circles. He listened, paused and then spoke with some gravity. 'Father,' he said, 'let me tell you something. In war, innocent people always suffer.' There was a frozen silence. We stared at him. He did not flinch.
Innocent people, indeed, always suffer.
Finally somebody said: 'But in this case "innocent people" were the victims of a gruesome atrocity subsidised by your government, one among many. If Congress allows the Contras more money further atrocities of this kind will take place. Is this not the case? Is your government not therefore guilty of supporting acts of murder and destruction upon the citizens of a sovereign state?'
Seitz was imperturbable. 'I don't agree that the facts as presented support your assertions,' he said.
As we were leaving the Embassy a US aide told me that he enjoyed my plays. I did not reply.4
- "Honorary Graduates 1989 to present". bath.ac.uk. University of Bath. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
- Pinter, Harold (July 6, 2006). "Art, truth and politics". The Guardian.
Rozanne L. Ridgway
|Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs
August 8, 1989 – April 30, 1991
|U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom
William J. Crowe, Jr.