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Amb. Dean Bio

John Gunther Dean’s Foreign Service Career

inserted separately as part of article in Afrique-Asie

Translation from French:


“ A lucid diplomat “



John Gunther Dean was born in Breslau, Germany, in 1926 of Jewish
parents who fled the Nazis and moved in 1938 to the United States. His
name at birth was Dienstfertig. He became an American citizen in 1944
and served in the secret service of the American army until 1946.
Graduated from Harvard in international relations, doctor of law from
the Sorbonne, John Gunther Dean started a diplomatic career which took
him to France, Asia [Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia] and to Africa [Togo,
Mali]. In 1964-1965 he worked on NATO at the State Department being
responsible for political consultation among NATO members. Again in
Vietnam in 1972, he is seconded to the American Military Commander of
Military Region I [Central Vietnam] as Regional Director for Civilian
Cooperation and Development [CORDS] until 1971. Thereafter he served as
chargé d’affaires in Laos where he contributed to the establishment of a
coalition government.

Ambassador to Cambodia, Denmark, Lebanon, Thailand, and in India, John
Gunther Dean leaves the US Foreign Service in 1989 because his efforts
to convince the Reagan Administration to change its policy toward
Afghanistan, Pakistan and India failed and only resulted in his
attracting the wrath of top officials in the White House. Dean,
nevertheless has played a decisive personal role in the liberation of
the American hostages in Teheran, and in the agreement which led to the
withdrawal of Soviet Troops from Afghanistan.


In May 2004, Dean co-signed with some 60 other American diplomats an
open letter to G.W. Bush in which they expressed their opposition to the
unconditional support for the Sharon Plan for the occupied territories
in Palestine. They accused Mr. Bush for having abandoned the policy of
impartiality, that characterized until then America’s policy in the
Near/Middle East and to support Sharon despite Israeli infractions of
international law and violations of the resolutions of the United Nations.
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