Nicholas Platt

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Nicholas Platt
Nicholas Platt and Ronald Reagan 1982.jpg
Nicholas Platt, center, with his wife Sheila and President Reagan, 1982
United States Ambassador to Pakistan
In office
PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush
Preceded byRobert B. Oakley
Succeeded byJohn Cameron Monjo
United States Ambassador to the Philippines
In office
PresidentRonald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Preceded byStephen W. Bosworth
Succeeded byFrank G. Wisner
United States Ambassador to Zambia
In office
PresidentRonald Reagan
Preceded byFrank G. Wisner
Succeeded byPaul J. Hare
Personal details
Born (1936-03-10) March 10, 1936 (age 85)
New York City
Sheila Maynard
(m. 1957)
Children3, including Oliver
Alma materHarvard College
Johns Hopkins SAIS

Nicholas Platt (born March 10, 1936) is an American diplomat who served as U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Pakistan, Philippines, Zambia, and as a high level diplomat in Canada, China, Hong Kong, and Japan. He is the former president of the Asia Society in New York City.[1]

Early years[edit]

Platt was born in New York City on March 10, 1936. He is the son of Helen (née Choate) Platt and architect Geoffrey Platt.[2]

His maternal grandfather was Joseph H. Choate Jr.,[3] and his great-grandfather was diplomat and lawyer Joseph Hodges Choate, who was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1899 by President William Mckinley. Joseph's brother, William Gardner Choate, established Choate Rosemary Hall. Notable Choate alumni include, "John F. Kennedy, Ivanka Trump, Michael Douglas and Jamie Lee Curtis". Among his family members cousin, Ben Bradlee, who was also a Choate and best friend's with President John F. Kennedy who was Choate alumni. Bradlee oversaw the Watergate investigation story while working at the Washington Post. This ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Platt graduated from the prep school St. Paul's School, Harvard College (B.A., 1957) and Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (M.A., 1959). At Harvard, he was a member of the Hasty Pudding Club and the Porcellian Club.[4] He is articulate in the Chinese, German, French, and Japanese languages.[2]


Platt began his career as a research assistant at the Washington Center for Foreign Policy Research before entering the Foreign Service of the United States in 1959. Reportedly, he was inspired to join the Foreign Service by his great-grandfather, Ambassador Joseph Hodges Choate. From 1959 to 1961, he served as vice consul in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. From 1962 to 1963, he studied the Chinese language at the Foreign Service Institute and in Taichung, Taiwan. In 1964, he was assigned as political officer at the American consulate general in Hong Kong until 1968, when he became China desk officer in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.[2]

From 1969 to 1971, Platt was chief of the Asian Communist Areas Division of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. In 1971–1973, he served as Deputy Director, and then Director, of the Secretariat Staff in the Department of State. As a young diplomat, Platt accompanied President Richard Nixon on the historic trip to Beijing in 1972 that signaled the resumption of relations between the U.S. and China.[2]

Platt was assigned as chief of the political section, U.S. Liaison Office, Peking, China, 1973–1974, and then as deputy chief of the political section at the Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, 1974–1977. He returned to Washington to serve as Director for Japanese Affairs in 1977 and then served as a staff member on the National Security Council at the White House from 1978 to 1980. From 1980 to 1981, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs in the U.S. Department of Defense. From 1981 to 1982, he returned to the Department of State as Deputy Assistant Secretary, International Organization Affairs.[2]


On July 22, 1982, President Reagan appointed Platt to succeed Frank G. Wisner as the U.S. Ambassador to Zambia. He presented his credentials on August 31, 1982 and served until he left his post on December 17, 1984 to become the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State and Executive Secretary of the U.S. Department of State. Platt stayed as Executive Secretary until February 13, 1987.[5]

On August 10, 1987, he was again appointed by Reagan as the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, succeeding Stephen W. Bosworth.[6] Platt presented his credentials on August 27, 1987 and served in this role through George H. W. Bush's election as president until he left his post on July 20, 1991, after receiving his subsequent appointment by President Bush, when he was replaced by Wisner.[5]

On July 2, 1991, President Bush appointed Platt to succeed Robert B. Oakley as the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan in Islamabad,[7] where he remained until he left his post on November 3, 1992.[5] He was succeeded as Ambassador by John Cameron Monjo.

Later career[edit]

Following his retirement from the State Department, in 1992 Platt began serving as the fifth president of Asia Society, a non-profit organization that focuses on educating the world about Asia.[8] He also was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and was a member of the International Advisory Board of the Financial Times.[8]

Personal life[edit]

On June 28, 1957,[4] he married Sheila Maynard at the Protestant Episcopal Church in Rhinebeck, New York.[9] Sheila was a clinical social worker who worked in Islamabad.[10] She was the daughter of Eileen (née Burden) and investment banker Walter Maynard, and the maternal-granddaughter of banker and equestrian Arthur Scott Burden, and the Hon. Cynthia Burke Roche.[2][11]

He frequently spends his summers in North Haven, Maine.[13]


  1. ^ Whitehead, Kate (April 18, 2015). "Interview: Nicholas Platt and his famous sons, The West Wing's Oliver and restaurant critic Adam, talk about food politics". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on August 5, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Nicholas Platt". The American Academy of Diplomacy. Archived from the original on August 4, 2020. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  3. ^ "Joseph H. Choate, Lawyer, 91, Dead. Led Federal Unit to Guide Liquor Industry at Repeal". New York Times. January 20, 1968. Retrieved November 4, 2010. Joseph H. Choate Jr., a distinguished lawyer who was chairman of the Federal Alcohol Control Administration from 1933 to 1935, died today in his home on ...
  4. ^ a b "Heningham A. Duell Fiancee of Officer; Nicholas Platt to Wed Sheila Maynard" (PDF). The New York Times. April 15, 1957. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "Nicholas Platt - People - Department History - Office of the Historian". Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State. Archived from the original on August 5, 2020. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  6. ^ "Mace Rule Violated In Platt's 2nd Visit". Manila Standard. August 27, 1987. Retrieved July 6, 2010.
  7. ^ "Former Ambassadors - Nicholas Platt". United States Department of State. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved July 6, 2010.
  8. ^ a b "Nick Platt". American Iranian Council. Archived from the original on August 4, 2020. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  9. ^ Times, Special to The New York (June 29, 1957). "Sheila Maynard Married Upstate; Attended by 4 at Wedding in Rhinebeck to Nicholas Platt, Harvard Alumnus" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  10. ^ "Weddings; Camilla Campbell, Oliver Platt". The New York Times. September 13, 1992. Retrieved March 10, 2008.
  11. ^ "Sheila Platt 1936-2018 [death notice]". The New York Times. May 23, 2018. Archived from the original on August 4, 2020.
  12. ^ "Two Pinoy Christmases". Philippine Daily Inquirer. February 26, 2004. Retrieved July 6, 2010.
  13. ^ Hassan, Adeel; MacFarquhar, Neil (March 17, 2020). "Islands in the U.S. Are Barring All Outsiders to Keep Coronavirus at Bay". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 19, 2020.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by United States Ambassador to Zambia
Succeeded by
Paul J. Hare
Preceded by United States Ambassador to the Philippines
Succeeded by
Preceded by United States Ambassador to Pakistan
Succeeded by