W. Nathaniel Howell
Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, Nat earned a B.A. at the University of Virginia, 1961. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in Government and Foreign Affairs at UVA, 1965, and entered the Foreign Service. From 1970 to 1972, he studied Arabic at the Foreign Service Institute, Beirut, Lebanon.
On May 26, 1987, President Reagan announced his intention to nominate Howell to be Ambassador of the U.S. to Kuwait. Howell was at his post awaiting reassignment when, on August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. The U.S. Embassy in Kuwait City, was declared closed by Saddam Hussein on August 24, by which time many Americans and other nationals had taken refuge on the embassy compound. Iraq's declaration of the annexation of Kuwait, by means of trumped-up historical, economic and political pretexts, was not recognized by the U.S. It was decided to keep the mission open, under siege, as Iraq would not allow non-diplomats to leave the country (Iraq retained foreign "guests" as human shields, to deter military strikes).
For reasons best known to himself, Saddam relented and allowed all persons on the compound to leave overland, by way of Baghdad, in mid-December 1990, before the start of the Gulf War. At that point, Howell and the remainder of his staff left the embassy unoccupied, though technically not "closed," until his successor, Skip Gnehm, returned upon the liberation of Kuwait.
In 1992, W. Nathaniel Howell joined the faculty of UVA. His positions included diplomat-in-residence; director, Arab Peninsula and Gulf Studies Program; member of the Steering Committee of CIAG; and John Minor Maury, Jr., Professor of Public Affairs. He retired as Professor Emeritus in early 2015.
|US Foreign Service||Washington, D.C.||1965 to 1966
|US Foreign Service||Cairo, Egypt||1966 to 1967
|US Foreign Service (NATO)||Paris, France
|US Foreign Service (INR)||Washington, D.C.||1968 to 1970
|US Foreign Service (FSI: Arabic)||Beirut, Lebanon||1970 to 1972
|US Foreign Service||Abu Dhabi, UAE||1972 to 1974
|US Foreign Service||Beirut, Lebanon||1974 to 1976
|US Foreign Service (NEA/ARN)||Washington, D.C.||1976 to 1982
|US Foreign Service (NWC)||Fort McNair||1982 to 1983
|US Foreign Service (DCM)||Algiers, Algeria||1983 to 1985
|US Foreign Service (CENTCOM POLAD)||MacDill AFB||1985 to 1987
|U.S. Ambassador||Kuwait City, Kuwait||1987 to 1991
- Culbertson, Roberta; Howell, W. Nathaniel (2001). Siege: Crisis Leadership: The Survival of U.S. Embassy Kuwait. Charlottesville, VA: VFH Press. ISBN 0-9668919-2-9.
- Howell, W. Nathaniel (2016). Strangers When We Met: a Century of American Community in Kuwait. New Academia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9966484-1-7.
- Presidential Nomination of W. Nathaniel Howell To Be U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait
- Commencement Address, University of Virginia Graduation (19 May 1991)
- Guide to Amb. Howell's papers (unrestricted: Special Collections, the University of Virginia Library)
- Guide to Amb. Howell's papers (restricted access: Special Collections, the University of Virginia Library)
- ADST-DACOR webpage for "Strangers When We Met".
Anthony Cecil Eden Quainton
|U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait
Edward William Gnehm, Jr.