R. Spencer Oliver

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R. Spencer Oliver
Spencer Oliver 2014.jpg
Secretary General Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
In office
Succeeded byRoberto Montella

R. Spencer Oliver (born 1937)[citation needed] was the first Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA). A lawyer by training,[citation needed] Oliver previously served 22 years as a staff member in the U.S. Congress, including as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Helsinki Commission from 1976 to 1985 and as Chief Counsel of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives until January 1993.[2] He also served in several senior diplomatic positions on U.S. delegations to CSCE Review and Expert Meetings between 1977 and 1993. Long active in Democratic Party politics, Oliver's phone was tapped in the Watergate scandal.[citation needed]


During the first of the two Watergate burglaries, two phones inside the offices of the Democratic National Committee headquarters had wiretaps placed inside them. One of those phones was the phone of Spencer Oliver who at the time was working as the executive director of the Association of State Democratic Chairmen, the other was the phone of the secretary of Democratic National Chairman Larry O'Brien. The tap on Oliver's phone was the only one that worked, but primarily revealed only that Oliver "was quite the ladies' man: he spent a lot of time on the phone lining up cross-country trysts."[3]

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly[edit]

R. Spencer Oliver had been the secretary general of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe since its inception, having been chosen as the Assembly's first general secretary by the Bureau in a meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in October 1992. He was elected by the standing committee of the organization in January 1993, and was reelected in 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010. He did not seek reelection in 2015, and retired at the end of that year. The Secretary General's mandate includes responsibility for managing the affairs of the Assembly, ensuring the efficiency of the Secretariat, and carrying out the decisions of the Bureau, the Standing Committee and the Assembly. He reports to the President, the Bureau, the Standing Committee and the Annual Session.[4] Although Oliver was criticized by the former Minister of Defense of Latvia, who ran against him in 2010, Oliver was reelected with more than 95% of the vote.[5][6]


  1. ^ In 2015, an article was signed by Oliver as a Secretary General; On 1 January 2016, R. Montella became Secretary General " the recently retired secretary-general of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly" in March 2016
  2. ^ "Secretary General". Oscepa.org. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  3. ^ Perlstein, Rick (2008). Nixonland : the rise of a president and the fracturing of America (1st Scribner hardcover ed.). New York. p. 676. ISBN 978-0-7432-4302-5. OCLC 180755987.
  4. ^ "R. Spencer Oliver, United States". Oscepa.org. Archived from the original on December 17, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  5. ^ Smith, Ben. "An election in Copenhagen". POLITICO.
  6. ^ "Pabriks denied in OSCE challenge". www.baltictimes.com.