Thomas O. Enders

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Thomas Ostrom Enders (1932–1996) was a United States diplomat.


Thomas O. Enders was born on November 28, 1932 in Hartford, Connecticut. He was educated at Yale University, where he was a member of the Scroll and Key society, receiving a B.A. in 1953; at the University of Paris, receiving a M.A. in 1955; and Harvard University, receiving a M.A. in 1957.[1]

In 1958, Enders joined the United States Foreign Service as an intelligence research specialist. From 1960 to 1963, he was a visa officer and then an economic officer in Stockholm. From 1963, he was supervisory international economist at the Bureau of European Affairs. In 1966, he was a special assistant in the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. In 1968, he became Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Monetary Affairs.

From 1969, he was deputy chief of mission in Belgrade. From 1971 to 1973, he held the same position in Phnom Penh. In 1974, Enders became Assistant Under Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs.

In 1976, US President Gerald Ford nominated Enders as United States Ambassador to Canada; Enders held this post from February 17, 1976 to December 14, 1979. From 1979, he was United States Ambassador to the European Communities.

President Ronald Reagan nominated Enders as Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs; Enders held this office from June 23, 1981 to June 27, 1983. The Reagan administration made the decision to reduce the emphasis that the Carter administration had put on human rights issues in dealings with allies and this new policy had been made clear to Ambassador Jack R. Binns, a Carter appointee, following his repeated reports of human rights abuses by the Honduran Military.

In a June 1981 cable, Binns reported that he was deeply concerned about increasing evidence of officially sponsored or sanctioned assassinations of political or criminal targets and repression.

Binns was summoned to Washington by Thomas O. Enders.

I was told to stop human rights reporting except in back channel. The fear was that if it came into the State Department, it will leak, Binns recalled. They wanted to keep assistance flowing. Increased violations by the Honduran military would prejudice that. [2]

Reagan then named Enders US Ambassador to Spain, with Enders presenting his credentials to the Spanish government September 15, 1983 and representing the U.S. in Spain until July 6, 1986.

Enders retired in 1986. He died in New York City on March 17, 1996. He is buried in Waterford, Connecticut.


  1. ^ "Thomas Enders, Diplomat In Cold War, Is Dead at 64 - New York Times". 1996-03-18. Retrieved 2011-02-16. 
  2. ^ "Unearthed: Fatal Secrets, A carefully crafted deception". 1995-06-18. Retrieved 2013-01-29. 


Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
William J. Porter
United States Ambassador to Canada
February 17, 1976 – December 14, 1979
Succeeded by
Kenneth M. Curtis
Preceded by
Deane R. Hinton
United States Ambassador to the European Communities
1979 – 1981
Succeeded by
George S. Vest
Preceded by
Terence Todman
United States Ambassador to Spain
September 15, 1983 – July 6, 1986
Succeeded by
Reginald Bartholomew
Government offices
Preceded by
William G. Bowdler
Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs
June 23, 1981 – June 27, 1983
Succeeded by
Langhorne A. Motley