The Honorable Raymond George Hardenbergh Seitz is a former career diplomat and U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 8, 1940. He graduated from Yale University in 1963 with a BA in history, following which he spent 2 years teaching in Dallas, Texas. He joined the US Foreign Service in 1966. He was the first career diplomat in modern history to be made Ambassador to the UK - the post is usually given to a political appointee.
Since retiring from the foreign service, he has held numerous directorships, governorships, and trusteeships. He was Senior Managing Director at Lehman Brothers International from 1995-1996, and Vice-Chairman from 1996-2003. He has held non-executive directorships on the boards of British Airways, Hong Kong Telecom, Marconi, General Electric Co, Rio Tinto Group and Cable & Wireless. As of November 2004, he is currently on the boards of the Chubb Group, PCCW, and Hollinger International.
He was a trustee of the National Gallery between 1996 and 2001. He is a current governor of the Ditchley Foundation.
He is a former trustee of the Royal Academy of Arts and the World Monuments Fund. He is a former member of the Advisory Council of the Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.
He is married with three children.
He has received a number of honorary degrees, among them:
He has also received honorary degrees from the universities of Bath, Buckingham, Heriot-Watt, Royal Holloway, Leeds, and the Open University.
He has written several articles for the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, The Times and The Literary Review, as well as broadcasting several essays for the BBC. He published his first book, Over Here in 1998, an autobiographical review of his time as Ambassador and life in the UK.
writes that Raymond G. H. Seitz: "had a very good reputation as a
rational, responsible and highly sophisticated man. He was greatly
respected in diplomatic circles"..
However, he also adds the following details of a conversation
between Seitz and himself at a meeting at the US embassy in London
in the late 1980s.:
The United States Congress was about to decide whether to give more money to the Contras in their campaign against the state of Nicaragua. I was a member of a delegation speaking on behalf of Nicaragua but the most important member of this delegation was a Father John Metcalf. The leader of the US body was Raymond Seitz (then number two to the ambassador, later ambassador himself). Father Metcalf said: 'Sir, I am in charge of a parish in the north of Nicaragua. My parishioners built a school, a health centre, a cultural centre. We have lived in peace. A few months ago a Contra force attacked the parish. They destroyed everything: the school, the health centre, the cultural centre. They raped nurses and teachers, slaughtered doctors, in the most brutal manner. They behaved like savages. Please demand that the US government withdraw its support from this shocking terrorist activity.' Raymond Seitz had a very good reputation as a rational, responsible and highly sophisticated man. He was greatly respected in diplomatic circles. He listened, paused and then spoke with some gravity. 'Father,' he said, 'let me tell you something. In war, innocent people always suffer.' There was a frozen silence. We stared at him. He did not flinch. Innocent people, indeed, always suffer. Finally somebody said: 'But in this case "innocent people" were the victims of a gruesome atrocity subsidised by your government, one among many. If Congress allows the Contras more money further atrocities of this kind will take place. Is this not the case? Is your government not therefore guilty of supporting acts of murder and destruction upon the citizens of a sovereign state?' Seitz was imperturbable. 'I don't agree that the facts as presented support your assertions,' he said. As we were leaving the Embassy a US aide told me that he enjoyed my plays. I did not reply.
Ambassador to the United Kingdom
William J. Crowe, Jr.