The U.S. has 59 ambassadors and twelve ministers accredited to the world's sovereign nations. To those nations, the face and voice of each ambassador is the voice and face of the U.S.

The faces and voices are important, though not as important as they used to be. A hundred years ago, when new instructions had to wait for the next packet, an ambassador had to make major decisions on the spot. Today, a diplomat's freedom of action is no greater than his distance from a Teletype. But if the words he speaks are not...

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