Biography

Chas FreemanAmbassador Freeman is a senior fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. He 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 magna cum laude from Yale University and a JD from the Harvard Law School. He is the recipient of numerous high honors and awards. He is the author of three books on U.S. foreign policy and two on statecraft. He was the editor of the Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on “diplomacy.”  He is a sought-after speaker on a wide variety of foreign policy issues.

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. After his retirement from government, he served concurrently as co-chair of the United States China Policy Foundation, president of the Middle East Policy Council, and vice chair of the Atlantic Council of the United States.

Chas Freeman is married to the Hon. Margaret Van Wagenen Carpenter.  He has three children by a previous marriage, and eight grandchildren.

2015-Date Senior Fellow, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University
1997-2009 President, Middle East Policy Council
1996-2009 Co-Chair, United States China Policy Foundation
1996-2008 Vice Chair, Atlantic Council of the USA
1995-Date Chairman, Projects International, Inc.
1994-95 Distinguished Fellow, United States Institute of Peace
1993-94 Assistant Secretary of Defense, Regional, then 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
1984-86 Chargé/Deputy Chief of Mission, American Embassy, Bangkok
1981-84 Chargé/Deputy Chief of Mission, American Embassy, Beijing
1979-81 Director, Chinese Affairs, Department of State
1979 Acting, then Deputy United States Coordinator for Refugee Affairs
1978-79 China Normalization Working Group, Department of State
1978 Director, Program Coordination and Development, United States Information Agency
1977-78 Director, Plans and Management, Public Affairs, Department of State
1976-77 Director, Public Programs, Department of State
1975-76 Deputy Director, Republic of China [Taiwan], Department of State
1974-75 Visiting Fellow, East Asian Studies, The Harvard Law School
1971-74 Economic/Commercial Officer for China, Department of State
1971-74 Principal Interpreter of Chinese, Department of State
1969-71 Language (Mandarin & Taiwanese) and Area Training, Washington and Taiwan
1967-68 Cultural Affairs Officer, South India
1966-67 Vice Consul, Madras [Chennai], India
1965 Entered Foreign Service of the United States

Oral History (Library of Congress Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection compiled by the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training)