Frederic L. Chapin

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Frederic L. Chapin
United States Ambassador to Guatemala
In office
September 3, 1981 – February 28, 1984
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Frank V. Ortiz, Jr.
Succeeded by Alberto Martinez Piedra
United States Ambassador to Ethiopia
In office
July 21, 1978 – July 29, 1980
President Jimmy Carter
Preceded by Arthur W. Hummel, Jr.
Succeeded by Marc Allen Baas
United States Ambassador to Chad
In office
January 1961 – May 1961
President John F. Kennedy
Preceded by W. Wendell Blancke
Succeeded by John A. Calhoun
Personal details
Born Frederic Lincoln Chapin
(1929-07-13)July 13, 1929
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died September 8, 1989(1989-09-08) (aged 60)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Spouse(s) Cornelia Clarke
(m. 1952; his death 1989)
Relations Hope Cook (cousin)
Children 4
Parents Selden Chapin
Mary Paul Noyes
Education St. Paul's School
Alma mater Harvard College

Frederic Lincoln Chapin (July 13, 1929 – September 8, 1989) was a United States diplomat. He was the ambassador to Ethiopia and Guatemala.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Chapin was born in New York City on July 13, 1929.[3] He was the son of Mary Paul (née Noyes) Chapin (1902–1984) and Selden Chapin (1899–1963),[4] who served as the United States Ambassador to the Netherlands, Peru and Iran,[5] who married in 1927.[6] His sister was Helen Chapin (1928–2011),[7] who married Ronald Irwin Metz (1921–2002) in 1951.[8]

His maternal grandparents were Helen (née Humpstone) Noyes and Winchester Noyes, the president of J. H. Winchester & Co., an international shipping brokerage firm. His cousin Hope Cook (b. 1940), who was a ward of his parents following the death of her parents, married King Palden Thondup Namgyal (1923–1982) in 1961 and became the Queen of Sikkhim until their divorce in 1980. She later married Mike Wallace.[9][10] His paternal grandparents were Frederic Lincoln Chapin (1863–1913)[11] and Grace Card (née Selden) Chapin (1864–1941).[12]

Chapin attended St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire,[13] and graduated from Harvard College, where he received a bachelor's degree in history, in 1950.[14]


Following his graduation from Harvard, he worked in Washington, D.C. and in Paris as an economic analyst with the Economic Cooperation Administration, which directed the Marshall Plan.[15] He joined the Foreign Service in 1952.[14] Chapin served as the Chargé d'affaires ad interim in Chad for four month following the establishment of the Embassy in Fort Lamy (now N'Djamena) on February 1, 1961.[16][17] Following his service in Chad, he was a special assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, W. Averell Harriman, until 1965.[15] Harriman later served as the United States Secretary of Commercein the 1940s and Governor of New York in the 1950s.

Chapin then worked for the Agency for International Development, a Foreign Service examiner, was head of the country desk for Bolivia and Chile, and from 1970 to 1972, he was consul general in Sao Paulo, Brazil.[15] On June 27, 1978, Chapin was appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia by President Jimmy Carter to succeed Arthur W. Hummel, Jr. He presented his credentials on July 21, 1978,[2] and served until he was recalled from his post on July 29, 1980 during a dispute about human rights[15][18] where Ethiopia requested the withdrawal of Chapin.[19][20]

Following his service in Ethiopia, he was a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, charged with international security affairs in Latin America. In 1981, he was the interim charge d'affaires in the American Embassy in El Salvador after the removal of Ambassador Robert E. White.[21] On July 30, 1981, Chapin was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala,[22] to succeed Frank V. Ortiz, Jr.[23] He presented his credentials on September 3, 1981 and served until February 28, 1984 when he left his post.[2] While in Guatemala, there was much unrest and at least one foiled coup d'état.[24]

Until his retirement from the Foreign Service, with the rank of career minister, in 1988, he served as a senior inspector in the State Department.[14] Chapin was a secretary treasurer of the American Foreign Service Protective Association and a member of the editorial board of the Foreign Service Journal.[25]

Personal life[edit]

On August 2, 1952,[26] Chapin was married to Cornelia Bonner Clarke (1931–1990) at the Christ Episcopal Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey.[26] Cornelia, an alumnus of Miss Fine’s School in Princeton and a Vassar College graduate, was the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Francis Mann Clarke.[13] Together, they were the parents of one son and three daughters: John Chapin, Anne Chapin, Edith Chapin, and Grace Selden Chapin,[14] who married Thomas Charles Ruska, the CFO of the Colonial Packaging Company in Norcross, Georgia, in 1986.[27]

Chapin died of cancer at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland on September 8, 1989.[14][15]


  1. ^ "Nominations, July 10, 1981". Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c "Frederic Lincoln Chapin - People - Department History". Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  3. ^ "Selden Chapins Have a Son". The New York Times. 16 July 1929. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  4. ^ "Selden Chapin, 64, Is Dead; Ex-Envoy to Iran and Peru". The New York Times. 28 March 1963. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  5. ^ "Selden Chapin - People - Department History". Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  6. ^ "Chapin -- Noyes". The New York Times. 31 March 1927. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  7. ^ "Mrs. Selden Chapin Has a Daughter". The New York Times. 15 April 1928. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  8. ^ "MISS HELEN CHAPIN WED IN THE HAGUE; Daughter of U.S. Ambassador to Netherlands Is Married to Ronald Metz of Omaha". The New York Times. 15 July 1951. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  9. ^ Kaufman, Michael T. (24 February 1993). "ABOUT NEW YORK; When East Met West and Walking Around Led to Brooklyn". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  10. ^ Kaufman, Michael T. "About New York: When East Met West and Walking Around Led to Brooklyn" The New York Times, (February 24, 1993)
  11. ^ "CAPT. F.L. CHAPIN OF THE WYOMING DIES; Commander of Flagship of Atlantic Fleet Stricken on Return Trip from Mediterranean. NEAR DEATH ON ARRIVAL Tossed by Wind and Wave as Dreadnought Battled to Reach Home ;- His Career in the Navy." The New York Times. 20 December 1913. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  12. ^ "Mrs. Frederic L. Chapin". The New York Times. 7 September 1941. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  13. ^ a b "Miss Clarke Fiancee of Frederic L. Chapin". The New York Times. 10 May 1952. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  14. ^ a b c d e "Frederic L. Chapin, 60; Long a U.S. Diplomat". The New York Times. 12 September 1989. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Pearson, Richard (10 September 1989). "FREDERIC L. CHAPIN, 60, DIES". The Washington Post. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  16. ^ Wilton Wendell Blancke (1908–1971)
  17. ^ Moskin, J. Robert (2013). American Statecraft: The Story of the U.S. Foreign Service. Macmillan. p. 766. ISBN 9781250037466. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  18. ^ Perlez, Jane (20 April 1989). "Ethiopia Asking U.S. for Full Diplomatic Ties". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  19. ^ "U.S. and Somalia Sign Arms Accord; Talks Were Halted in 1977". The New York Times. 23 August 1980. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  20. ^ Metaferia, Getachew (2009). Ethiopia and the United States: History, Diplomacy, and Analysis. Algora Publishing. p. 162. ISBN 9780875866468. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  21. ^ "AROUND THE WORLD; U.S. Picks Replacement For Envoy in El Salvador". The New York Times. 4 February 1981. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  22. ^ Reagan, Ronald (1982). Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Ronald Reagan, 1981. p. 619. ISBN 9781623769321. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  23. ^ "A New York Lawyer Is Picked to Be Envoy". The New York Times. 11 July 1981. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  24. ^ "Guatemalan Reports Foiled Plot". The New York Times. January 28, 1984. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  25. ^ Mak, Dayton; Kennedy, Charles Stuart (1992). American Ambassadors in a Troubled World: Interviews with Senior Diplomats. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313285585. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  26. ^ a b "CORNELIA B. CLARKE WED TO F. L. CHAPIN; Bride in New Brunswick of 3d Secretary at Embassy in Vienna, Son of Diplomat". The New York Times. 3 August 1952. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  27. ^ "Grace Chapin Has Wedding". The New York Times. 12 October 1986. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Arthur W. Hummel, Jr.
U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia
Succeeded by
Marc Allen Baas
Preceded by
Frank V. Ortiz, Jr.
U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala
Succeeded by
Alberto Martinez Piedra