Posted by: JWP | 11/19/2009

Obama names envoys to RP, Singapore

Agence France-Presse

First Posted 09:25:00 11/20/2009

WASHINGTON – (UPDATE) US President Barack Obama on Thursday named two ambassadors to Southeast Asia, tapping a close political ally as envoy to Singapore and nominating a career diplomat to the Philippines.

For the Philippines, Obama named Harry K. Thomas, Jr., a career foreign service officer who served as ambassador to Bangladesh from 2003 to 2005. He has also been posted in India, Nigeria, Peru and Zimbabwe. read more


Harry K. Thomas

AKA Harry K. Thomas, Jr.

Born: c. 1956

Gender: Male

Race or Ethnicity: Black

Occupation: Diplomat

Nationality: United States

Executive summary: US Ambassador to Bangladesh, 2003-05

University: BA, College of the Holy Cross (1978)

University: Columbia University

US State Department Director General, Foreign Service (2007-)

US Official Executive Secretary, Office of the Secretary of State (2005-)

US Ambassador to Bangladesh (2003-05)

US National Security Council Director for South Asia (2001-02)

US State Department (1984-)



Harry K. Thomas Jr.

By Michael Reardon

“I don’t think they were expecting much from me,” says Harry Thomas, remembering the time of his graduation from Holy Cross. “I was an average student and not a star in any capacity.”

Whoever “they” were could not have been more wrong.

Thomas has forged a distinguished career at the State Department, serving throughout the world in places like India, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Peru. He was elevated to ambassador to Bangladesh in 2003, an assignment he loved.

“We had 600 great people working there, a $100 million aid program, and great counterterrorism and democracy-building work,” Thomas says of the post he held until 2005.

As a Foreign Service officer, Thomas has not only been a witness to some of the most important global events of the past two decades, he has also been a participant. From 2001-02, he served under Condoleezza Rice as the National Security Council’s director for South Asia. In December 2001, he briefed President George Bush as the United States was negotiating to prevent India and Pakistan from going to war—the first of several meetings that the two would have while Thomas worked at the NSC.

“Post-9/11, I worked closely with President Bush and Dr. Rice,” Thomas says. “For anybody to have the opportunity to brief the president, it’s a great thing. Dr. Rice would leave you alone to brief him one-on-one. That’s why we would run through walls for her. She trusted you.”

At the time of his nomination as director general of the Foreign Service, Thomas was serving as special assistant to the secretary and executive secretary of the Department of State, where he ran Secretary Rice’s office. more

The Long View

The next proconsul

By Manuel L. Quezon III

Philippine Daily Inquirer

First Posted 23:01:00 07/12/2009

There will, undoubtedly, be a lot of sniffing around for signs concerning Washington’s message to the President in the wake of CIA chief Leon Panetta’s Palace visit Sunday. Babe Romualdez, for one, is widely considered a kind of oracle concerning Washington’s intentions and he framed the issue by pooh-poohing the Palace’s statement that it was an ordinary meeting. To be sure, the Palace was forced to react to a scoop by The Daily Tribune which first broke the story of Panetta’s visit, subsequently fleshed out by the Philippine Star which prides itself on its being in-the-know as far as the US Embassy and Washington are concerned.

The Press Secretary waxed cryptic—“His visit is self-evidently related to the ongoing war on terror of which the bombings here may well be a part”—blathered Cerge Remonde, adding that it was upon the request of the Americans and what’s more, was scheduled a month ago. Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro on July 9 confessed himself out of the loop, saying he didn’t know the agenda, though reporters failed to ask why he seemed content with not knowing or preparing for such a high-level visit. But then Remonde was contradicted by the Department of Foreign Affair’s own spokesman, Ed Malaya, who did say it was purely a “courtesy call” but that “the visit is unrelated to certain developments in Mindanao.” read more

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