Charles W. Freeman, Jr.

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Charles W. Freeman, Jr., former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, was identified in a July 15, 2003 Wall Street Journal article as one of five sponsors of the Committee for the Republic. Purportedly, the Committee is calling for examination of the nation's rush to empire.

Freeman is President of the Middle East Policy Council (MEPC). According to his Council biography:

"Ambassador Chas. W. Freeman, Jr. succeeded Senator George S. McGovern as President of the Middle East Policy Council on December 1, 1997.

"Ambassador Freeman was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs from 1993-94, earning the highest public service awards of the Department of Defense for his roles in designing a NATO-centered post-Cold War European security system and in reestablishing defense and military relations with China. He served as U. S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm). He was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during the historic U.S. mediation of Namibian independence from South Africa and Cuban troop withdrawal from Angola.

"Chas. Freeman served as Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d'Affaires in the American embassies at both Bangkok (1984-1986) and Beijing (1981-1984). He was Director for Chinese Affairs at the U.S. Department of State from 1979-1981. He was the principal American interpreter during the late President Nixon's path-breaking visit to China in 1972. In addition to his Middle Eastern, African, East Asian and European diplomatic experience, he served in India.

"Ambassador Freeman earned a certificate in Latin American studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, certificates in both the national and Taiwan dialects of Chinese from the former Foreign Service Institute field school in Taiwan, a BA from Yale University and a JD from the Harvard Law School. He is the recipient of numerous high honors and awards. He was elected to the Academy of American Diplomacy in 1995. He is the author of The Diplomat's Dictionary (Revised Edition) and Arts of Power, both published by the United States Institute of Peace in 1997. Ambassador Freeman is Chairman of the Board of Projects International, Inc., a Washington-based business development firm that specializes in arranging international joint ventures, acquisitions, and other business operations for its American and foreign clients. He also serves as Co-Chair of the United States-China Policy Foundation and Vice Chair of the Atlantic Council of the United States. He is a member of the boards of the Institute for Defense Analyses, the regional security centers of the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Washington World Affairs Council (World Affairs Council, Washington, DC).

Previous Positions

  • 1995 - Present Chairman of the Board, Projects International, Inc.
  • 1994-95 Distinguished Fellow, United States Institute of Peace
  • 1993-94 Assistant Secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs
  • 1992-93 Distinguished Fellow, Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • 1989-92 U S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • 1986-89 Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, African Affairs

Recent Honors

  • 1995 Elected to American Academy of Diplomacy
  • 1994 Distinguished Public Service Award (Policy innovation in Europe)
  • 1994 Distinguished Public Service Award (Contributions in Defense Policy)
  • 1994 Order of 'Abd Al-'Azziz, 1st Class (Diplomatic Service)
  • 1991 Defense Meritorious Service (Desert Shield/Storm)
  • 1991 CIA Medallion (Desert Shield/Storm)
  • 1991 Distinguished Honor Award (Desert Shield/Storm)

Recent Major Publications and Writings

  • Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy, U.S. Institute of Peace Press, Washington, D.C., 1997.
  • The Diplomat's Dictionary, Second Edition, revised, U.S. Institute of Peace Press, Washington, D.C. 1997

A March 1991 interview, published in the April edition of theWashington Report, provides substantial background information as to Freeman's familiarity with the Middle East and Saudi Arabia in particular. For example, speaking about post-war Iraq, Freeman said that "By moving rapidly to increase its own oil production after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait last August, Saudi Arabia prevented the US recession 'from becoming far worse,' ...The Saudis did it with remarkable speed and efficiency, to such an extent that the war ended with world oil supplies in a state of glut,..." His perspective on Saudi-U.S. relations at the time comes through clearly in the article.

The article describes Freeman as being "considered one of the 'whiz kids' of the State Department after he entered the foreign service in 1965, is brilliant at painting the big picture by sketching in the details."

Freeman's "foreign service career was remarkably varied even before he arrived in Saudi Arabia in November 1989. In fact, because of an unusual education and his family's emphasis on learning foreign languages, he might have seemed 'over-qualified' at the time he chose a diplomatic calling.
"Born in Rhode Island, his elementary schooling was in a newly established and highly innovative school in the Bahamas, where his father was in business.
"'One of my teachers was an avowed communist, a World War II Royal Air Force flying ace taught me Greek and Latin, and another of my teachers was arrested as a Nazi war criminal while I was present in his classroom,' Freeman recalls. When he returned with his family at age 13 to the United States, he was admitted to the 12th grade of an American high school. He chose to drop back, however, and as a result had two complete secondary educations, one British and one American. They qualified him for four years on scholarship at Yale University, studies at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and the Harvard Law School.
"After foreign service assignments in India and Taiwan, Freeman was assigned to the State Department's China desk. He was the principal interpreter during President Richard M. Nixon's ground-breaking visit to the People's Republic of China in 1972. After a year as resident scholar at Harvard's East Asian Legal Research Center, he served as State Department Deputy Director for Republic of China (Taiwan) affairs; and in two directorships in the State Department's Bureau of Public Affairs.
"This led to a year with the United States Information Agency as Director of Program Coordination and Development, then to his assignment as Deputy United States Coordinator for Refugee Affairs. This was followed by two overseas assignments as deputy chief of mission in Beijing and then Bangkok. In 1986, he was named principal deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, where he served until he was named US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
"Along the way, Ambassador Freeman acquired formal ratings in Chinese, French and Spanish and a working knowledge of Portuguese and Italian. 'I've always made a practice of trying to learn the language wherever I've been,' he explains. 'I didn't do as well as I would like to have done with Tamil, in South India, but I did learn Mandarin at the interpreter level, Taiwanese, and Thai, although I've lost much of it, and I've worked hard at Arabic.'
"He offers several reasons for his success at languages: 'I like languages and I'm interested and I just worked hard at it. There's also a tradition on my mother's side of the family of speaking a foreign language at the dinner table a couple of nights a week, and that's gone on for six generations. I've tried to continue it with all of my children.'"

Resources and articles


  1. Board, American Academy of Diplomacy, accessed July 30, 2007.
  2. Governance, Stanley Foundation, accessed December 23, 2008.
  3. Members, East West Center, accessed December 11, 2010.

External links