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Father and son/daughter statesmen

By Laurie Bennett

May 28, 2014 at 7:58am

Political dynasties get plenty of attention in this age of Bushes and Clintons.

But dynasties aren’t only about elected office. Diplomacy can also be a family business.

It’s an American tradition dating back to John Quincy Adams. Before moving into the Oval Office, the son and the father were statesmen.

John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams

Both were U.S. minister to the Netherlands and the Court of St. James’s. The elder John Adams also was minister to Russia.

Other multi-generational diplomats include:

  • Robert O. Blake Jr., ambassador to Indonesia. His father was ambassador to Mali during the Nixon administration.
  • Avis T. Bohlen, former ambassador to Bulgaria in the Clinton administration. Her father, Charles E. Bohlen, was ambassador to France, the Philippines and the Soviet Union. Her great-grandfather, former Sen. James B. Eustis, was also ambassador to France.

  • Peter W. Galbraith, former ambassador to Croatia. His father, economist John Kenneth Galbraith, was ambassador to India in the Kennedy administration.
  • Amory Houghton Sr., former ambassador to France. His father, Alanson B. Houghton, a congressman and descendant of the founder of Corning Inc., served as ambassador to Germany and the United Kingdom. The elder Houghton, like his grandson Amory “Amo” Houghton Jr., was a member of Congress.

  • Ronald E. Neumann, former ambassador to Afghanistan, Algeria and Bahrain (and current critic of the Obama administration). His father, Robert G. Neumann, was ambassador to Afghanistan, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.
Jean Kennedy Smith
Jean Kennedy Smith
  • Charles H. Rivkin, currently assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs and former ambassador to France. His father, William R. Rivkin, was ambassador to Luxembourg, Senegal and Gambia.
  • Jean Kennedy Smith, the last surviving child of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., was ambassador to Ireland during the Clinton administration. Her father was ambassador to the United Kingdom at the beginning of World War II.
  • Joe Kennedy’s granddaughter, Caroline Kennedy, is now ambassador to Japan.

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