Frank E. Baxter

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Frank E. Baxter
Frank E Baxter.jpg
United States Ambassador to Uruguay
In office
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byMartin J. Silverstein
Succeeded byDavid D. Nelson
Personal details
California, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
ChildrenStacey Bell, Matt Baxter, Katey Baxter

Frank E. Baxter (born 1938) is a Republican American businessman and diplomat. He served as the United States Ambassador to Uruguay under George W. Bush, from 2006 to 2009.[1][2][3][4]


Early life[edit]

Frank E. Baxter was born in Northern California in 1936. [1][2][4] He served in the U.S. Air Force for four years.[1][2][4] In 1961, he graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a B.A. in Economics.[1][2][3][4]


From 1961 to 1963, he worked for the Bank of California in San Francisco.[1][4] In 1963, he joined J.S. Strauss and Company, San Francisco.[1][4] From 1974 to 2002, he worked for Jefferies and Company.[1][2][4] By 1987, he became its CEO, and started the Investment Technology Group.[1][2][3][4]

He has served on the Board of Directors of NASDAQ and the Securities Industry Association.[1][2][3][4] He is also Chairman of the Board of Governors of Fremont College.[3][5]

He is also the Chairman of the Board of Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools and After-School All Stars.[1][2][4] He is a Board Member of the California Institute of the Arts, a member of the Board of Councilors at the USC Rossier School of Education,[6] a member of Governor Schwarzenegger's Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth, Vice Chairman of the Board of the Los Angeles Opera, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.[1][2][3][4][7][8] He sits on the Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution.[9] He is a Trustee of the University of California Berkeley Foundation and the LA Chapter of the I Have A Dream Foundation.[1][2][4][10] He is a member of the Council of American Ambassadors.[4] Baxter is a member of the Board of Directors of the Pacific Council on International Policy.[11]

He is a member of the California Club, the Los Angeles Country Club, the Siwanoy Country Club, and the University Club of New York.[3] He is the recipient of the Bet Tzedek award.[1][2][4]

US Ambassador to Uruguay[edit]

Baxter served as US Ambassador to Uruguay from 2006 to 2009, bringing considerable business experience to the exercise of his role. His period of service coincided with heightened legal and political efforts in Uruguay to investigate human rights violations in the country, which had particularly occurred during the period of civilian-military rule from 1973 to 1985. During his period of appointment, the strategy of the US Embassy under Ambassador Baxter appeared to combine an attempt to 'bury' information about which the Uruguayan government at the highest level enquired in relation to possible US linkages with a high profile assassination in 1978, while trying simultaneously to preserve 'unburied' — indeed, to create — supposed linkages between the 1978 assassination and that of US enhanced interrogation operative Dan Mitrione in 1970. The effectiveness of such a strategy under Ambassador Baxter thus came under scrutiny.

Mission coincides with Uruguayan investigations into a 1978 assassination and assassination attempts[edit]

Among these cases of human rights violations were incidents of attempted poisoning of Uruguayan opposition figures in September 1978, one of which resulted in the death of Cecilia Fontana de Héber, the wife of Mario Héber Usher, a prominent National Party figure. Official interest in this case in Uruguay led subsequently to the US Government's reported stance on the shedding of light on these issues, expressed through Ambassador Baxter, which was regarded by some observers in Uruguay as unsatisfactory.[12] Family, political and press comment speculated upon CIA involvement in the protection of a person or persons involved in this assassination; while this remained speculation, a document released by the CIA, following a request to President Bush by Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez omitting heavily redacted information served to heighten impressions that this speculation had somewhat of a factual basis.[13][14] By the 1970s, CIA operatives had already a long record of extensive security and intelligence collaboration with their opposite numbers in Uruguay, with one of the Agency's station chiefs having been the later discredited Watergate figure E. Howard Hunt, Jr. (described by American diplomatic contemporary in Uruguay Samuel F. Hart as 'totally self-absorbed, totally amoral and a danger to himself and anybody around him')[15]. Indeed, it has been notably alleged by Senator Luis Alberto Héber, son of assassinated Cecilia Fontana de Héber, that the US Embassy in Montevideo was playing a 'double game' in 1978, talking human rights but simultaneously working with Uruguayan secret intelligence figures in order to preserve in office President Aparicio Méndez, alleged again by Senator Héber to have been a CIA asset.[13]

Judicial investigations in Uruguay in 2008 into victims of repression during the country's civilian-military period of dictatorship period are widely and correctly seen as being in the broad context of seeking justice for leftist victims of Operation Condor (or, the Condor Plan), which to a substantial degree pooled the so-called anti-subversion efforts of a number of Latin American governments especially in the 1970s. The murder of Cecilia Fontana de Héber, however, shows that the apparent scope of lethally repressive measures was not limited to those seen as Marxist-Leninists and leftists: Mrs. Fontana de Héber was not even an overtly political figure, and her husband Senator Mario Héber Usher was a conservative committed to market economics, as were other National party personalities targeted in 1978. Similarly, recent scholarly activity on this period of repression has also included the Fontana de Héber assassination within the broader Condor Plan's general scope.[16]

Relationship to withholding information on 1978 assassination[edit]

The wording of a Spanish language press report by El País de Madrid, translated freely from English, quoted Amabssador Baxter as having cabled the State Department expressing the hope that the assassination of Cecilia Fontana de Héber in 1978 and the other attempted assassinations, had been 'definitively laid to rest'. The force of the disseminated Spanish version ('enterrado') of this phrase 'laid to rest' can strongly convey the sense 'buried', only serving to reinforce — whether justified or not — the impression of intent at concealment in this action and to suggest to an Uruguayan readership following the case that the US authorities continued to wish not to cooperate fully with the Uruguayan investigation and to withhold information held by the CIA relevant to Cecilia Fontana de Héber's assassination.[17]

Admits Mitrione case 'pushback' equivalence in response to Uruguayan assassination investigation[edit]

These impressions given to an Uruguayan readership were further reinforced by Amabssador Baxter's cabled claim on May 27, 2008 of having used 'pushback' in raising before the Uruguayan authorities the issue of the unresolved death of FBI operative and torture adviser Dan Mitrione, who died in Uruguay in 1970.[18] The death of Mrs. Fontana de Héber had not previously been particularly linked in the public mind with the death of Dan Mitrione.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m State Department biography
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Embassy biography
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Fremont College biography
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Council of American Ambassadors
  5. ^ Fremont College Board of Governors
  6. ^ "Frank Baxter joins USC Rossier Board of Councilors - Rossier School of Education". Rossier School of Education. 2017-01-11. Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  7. ^ LA Opera Board of Directors
  8. ^ LA Museum Board
  9. ^ Hoover Institution Board of Overseers
  10. ^ University of California Berkeley Foundation
  11. ^ "Board of Directors". Pacific Council on International Policy. Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  12. ^ (in Spanish) Soledad Gallego-Díaz El pasado de guerrilla y dictadura se interpone hoy entre EE UU y Uruguay El Pais, 14 December 2010, [1]
  13. ^ a b (in Spanish) Heber - fueron los servicios de inteligencia Caras Y Caretas, 12 January 2016, [2]
  14. ^ CIA Skullduggery in Uruguay? … The Case of the Poisoned Wine Watching America, 4 August 2007 [3]
  15. ^ Tim Weiner, Obituary: E. Howard Hunt, Agent Who Organized Botched Watergate Break-In, Dies at 88, New York Times, 24 January, 2007 [4]
  16. ^ Fernando López, The Feathers of Condor: Transnational State Terrorism, Exiles and Civilian Anticommunism in South America, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016, p. 8, Note 20, [5]
  17. ^ (in Spanish) Kladario, 14 December, 2010
  18. ^ (in Spanish) El Muerto, 15 December, 2010

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Martin J. Silverstein
United States Ambassador to Uruguay
Succeeded by
David D. Nelson