Distinguished American Diplomats
Issue Date: May 30, 2006
City: Washington, DC
Quantity Issued: 3,000,000
Printed by: Avery Dennison
Printing method: Photogravure
Perforations: Die cut 10 ¾
Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams were early American diplomats. At that time, it was the wealthy and well-connected who entered the foreign service. In the 20th century, education and intellectual ability became the main criteria for selection.
The Distinguished American Diplomats honored in 2006 served their country in many areas of the world. Posted in France in World War II, Hiram Bingham IV (1903-88) saved thousands of refugees’ lives by issuing U.S. visas to them, contrary to existing national policy.
Charles E. Bohlen (1904-74) worked on the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II. He helped shape U.S. foreign policy on the Soviet Union during and after the war. An expert in Southeast Asia, Philip C. Habib (1920-92) also served as a peace negotiator in the Middle East. Robert D. Murphy (1894-1978) is remembered chiefly for his role in planning the Allied invasion of North Africa during World War II.
Two of these diplomats broke barriers. Clifton R. Wharton, Sr., (1899-1990) was the first African-American Foreign Service Officer. President Kennedy appointed Wharton ambassador to Norway in 1961. Frances E. Willis (1899-1983) became the first female Foreign Service Officer to rise to the position of ambassador.