15 DECEMBER 2013


A recent entry into the U.S. Congressional Record noted a special tribute to the longest-serving American diplomat at the United Nations. It recorded in detail a distinguished achievement award by the American Society of the French Legion of Honour. At the Annual Meeting of that Society, its President, Mr. Guy Wildenstein, introduced Ambassador Reed. He said:

"In some cases, such as this one, there is an added emotion for me; the one I feel when presenting it not only to someone I profoundly admire, but also to a friend.

Mr. Ambassador, dear Joseph, I have learned that your ancestors arrived by means of a very small boat called the Mayflower.

Little did they know that the land they were setting foot on would become the most powerful country in the world, and that their descendant would be traveling the globe on board Air Force One.

To get back to you, you were born in New York City and after graduating from Deerfield Academy and Yale University, in 1961, you joined the World Bank as Private Secretary to the President.

From 1963 to 1981 you were Vice President and Assistant to the Chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank, Mr. David Rockefeller.

Your brilliant diplomatic career started, when President Ronald Reagan appointed you Ambassador of the United States to the Kingdom of Morocco in 1981.

Upon leaving this post in 1985, you were conferred the prestigious Order of Commander of the Throne, the only time a foreigner had received this honor. President Reagan then appointed you as the Representative of the United States to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and as Deputy Permanent Representative at the United States Mission.

In 1987, you were appointed Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations for Political and General Assembly Affairs, and later President George H. W. Bush appointed you the Chief of Protocol of the White House, where you served until late 1991.

In 1992, the then Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, appointed you Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Special Representative for Public Affairs.

In 1997, his successor, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, re-appointed you as Under-Secretary-General and as President of the Staff-Management Coordination Committee, the highest internal body of the World Organization, on which you served for twelve years.

In 2005, you were appointed Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and re-appointed in 2009 by the current Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon.

This past April you became the Dean of UN Under-Secretaries General, having served at that level with various capacities for almost three decades.

Today, you continue to serve the organization with the same fervor and polished savoir-faire than when you started.

Along your prosperous career, you have also received numerous honors and decorations.

You have been described as courteous, elegant and knowledgeable: in my humble opinion an understatement, when describing the consummate diplomat that you are.

When decorated Officier of the French Legion of Honor in 1991, you were cited for your special talents for the profession of diplomacy.

``Who can say how much diplomacy--and I am thinking, of course, not only of United States diplomacy, but of diplomacy at large--would have been lost if Joseph had not entered its ranks?'' asked the Ambassador of France to the US Jacques Andreani.

Additionally, you have received many decorations from Italy, Spain, Egypt, Jordan, Central and South America and Africa.

You also received several honorary doctorates, and Yale University awarded you their highest honor: The Yale Medal.

You have served on this Society's Board as a Director and Vice President for many years, and in addition currently serve on our Executive Committee.

We could not imagine running this Board without your distinctive expertise and knowledgeable guidance, and the Society is extremely honored to count you among its Life Members.

And today, Mr. Ambassador, dear Joseph, I am very proud to present you with our Society's Medal for Distinguished Achievement."

Upon receipt of the medal, Ambassador Joseph Verner Reed responded:

"I am greatly honored to receive this ``Award for Distinguished Achievement'' from the Society.

I love France. I have great admiration and affection for the People of France.

My spouse of more than fifty years is the daughter of a lady of France.

We have lived in Grasse and enjoyed numerous visits to every part of this noble nation.

My Father was born in Nice at the Hotel Negresco. He lived with his parents in the Loire until a teenager. He later lived in Paris and Senlis.

I was honored to receive the Legion of Honor from President Mitterrand when I served as Chief of Protocol of the White House under President Bush Senior. As Chief of Protocol I organized more visits between President Bush and President Mitterrand than Mr. Bush had with any other Head of State.

In my youth I had the privilege of having a Governess from France.

Soon after the close of World War Two I had the pleasure of being with a French Family for a Summer near the City of Tours. That started my love affair with ``La Belle France''.

It was France that turned the American quest for Independence into a reality.

France's legendary culture has spread her elegant language (the language of Diplomacy) across the globe with 73 French speaking nations forming the Francophonie.

France shapes global tastes.

Everyone's second country is France.

I have worked at the United Nations for thirty years. France is a powerhouse at the Parliament of Man being a Permanent Member of the Security Council.

France is at the peak of success with her Couture, Painting, Music, Film, Drama, Cuisine, Wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy, Champagne (who wouldn't love a country with 640 types of cheese?).

My mind turns to -

The City of Lights, the Statue of Liberty, La Cote D'Azur, Versailles, the Tricolor, Normandy and the bluffs of the beaches of Utah and Omaha, Talleyrand, Le Musee D'Orsay, Napoleon, La Marseilles, Chartres, The Chateaux of the Valley of the Loire, President Wilson, General De Gaulle, General Eisenhower, Francois Mitterrand.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for bestowing on me this great honor. I am touched, humbled and proud.

Encore, Bon Soir

Bon Thanksgiving and Dieu Vous Benisse."