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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

In Loving Memory of John J. Harter

My Dad died Saturday, January 5, 2013.  My little brother was able to find Dad's summary autobiography, and update it - so the following is written by John & Lal Harter.  I embedded links where I could find them. -tonia 
John James Harter, 86, a retired diplomat and declassifier, died of natural causes on Saturday, January 5th at 7:45 A.M. at the Forest Henrico Doctor’s Hospital in Richmond, Virginia.

Mr. Harter was preceded in death by his wife Irene Teresa “Mickey” of 45 years and his eldest daughter Dorothea Elizabeth “Bobby”.  Survivors include his second wife, Evelyn Bland Harter; two sons, Tian Harter of Mountain View, California, and Lal Harter of Blacksburg, Virginia; a daughter, Tonia Vaughn of Box Springs, Georgia; and six grandchildren,  and two great-grandchildren.

Mr. Harter was a WWII veteran.  He received a B. S. degree in History from the University of Southern California in 1948, a Master's degree in Library Science from USC in 1953, and a Master's degree in Economics from Harvard University in 1963.
He was a history instructor at USC in the late 1940s and early 1950s and a librarian at the D. C. Public Library immediately before entering the Foreign Service.
Mr. Harter was a career Foreign Service Officer from 1954 to 1983. 

He began his diplomatic career as a consul in South Africa, where he met his first wife. He subsequently served as an administrative officer in Chile, a financial policy analyst in Thailand, a trade policy negotiator in Geneva, and an expert on U. N. economic and social affairs at the Department of State. At various times he was dispatched on special missions to Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Kenya, India, Argentina, and Colombia. He spoke and read French, Spanish, and some Bulgarian.

His studies of U. N. technical assistance programs encouraged the Kennedy Administration to take the lead in establishing the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in 1961. In the early 1970s he headed a U. S. Delegation to the Organization of American States (OAS) that negotiated special trade arrangements with Latin American countries.

From 1973 to 1981 Mr. Harter was a writer/editor with the United States Information Agency, which distributed through U. S. Embassies overseas his articles on international trade and Third World development. More than one hundred of those articles reflected his interviews with prominent individuals such as David Rockefeller, Herman Kahn, and Senators Howard Baker, Frank Church, and Jacob Javitz. USIA also printed and disseminated English, Spanish, and French editions of his popular reference book entitled The Language of Trade, a glossary of special terms widely used in international commerce and trade negotiations.

Following his retirement from the Department of State in 1983 Mr. Harter was a free-lance oral historian. In that capacity, he chronicled the lives and careers of dozens of prominent individuals including; Howard Head, who invented the Head Ski and the Prince tennis racket, and William Heffelfinger, who rose from a position as messenger at the Treasury Department during World War I to a top fiscal policy position at the Treasury after World War II. Mr. Harter also served as official oral historian at the National Gallery of Art in the late 1980s until he was elected, for the second time, to the Board of Governors of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA).  (He previously served on the Board in the early 1960s.)

Between 1989 and 1996 Mr. Harter organized and managed conferences for AFSA at the Department of State. The conferences were designed to highlight the increasing importance of the economic dimension of foreign policy and to promote dialogue between career diplomats and the business community. Each conference focused on a different aspect of the global economy, such as; climate change, sanctions, privatization, oil and foreign affairs, American pharmaceuticals in the global village, and the role of R&D in determining the comparative advantage of American exports.

Since 1989 Mr. Harter was a declassifier for the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In that capacity, he represented USAID in regular inter-agency meetings regarding declassification of government documents.

In 2011 Mr. Harter published his book Pieces of History, The Life and Career of John J. Harter.

Services to be held Saturday, January 12, 2013, at 11:30 AM, Bliley’s Funeral Home, Staples Mill Chapel, 851 Staples Mill Road, Richmond, VA  23228.

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