Four qualities of an excellent diplomat


I have now known you seventeen years … I have found you ever attentive to the interests & the rights of your own country & fellow citizens in the first place, but just and accomodating to the rights and the convenience those with whom you had to transact them. the stile of your applications has been such as always to produce a desire to comply with them: & your conduct in society has attached to you as much private esteem as your public transactions have of respect and satisfaction. it is with sincere regret therefore that we see you leaving our shores …

Source: To Philippe de Letombe, July 27, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation

Great leaders are also great diplomats.
de Letombe had been a French minister to America since 1781 and was now returning permanently to his native country. Jefferson admired him and expressed four reasons why:
1. His first concern was always properly for his country and its citizens.
2. Even so, he demonstrated equal concern for his host country and its ways.
3. His work on behalf of France was always conducted in such a way that his host country wanted to cooperate.
4. His consistent conduct earned him “respect and satisfaction” in the private sector as well as the public one.
Jefferson was sorry to see such an honorable man leave America.

Jefferson would commend the same principles to anyone working with people different from himself (which can be practically everybody).
1. Your own interests naturally come first.
2. The interests of others are as important to them as yours are to you and should be respected.
3. Promote your own interests in such a way that others want to cooperate with you.
4. Be consistently respectable in all your conduct, professional and personal.

“Thank you for your presentation at Jefferson College …
extremely enjoyable and educational.”
President, Jefferson College
Your audience will learn a great deal from Mr. Jefferson
and enjoy the experience.

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Originally posted at

The Moral Liberal Thomas Jefferson Editor, Patrick Lee, is a professional speaker, actor and writer. Since 1990, he has inspired, entertained and educated audiences from Maine to Hawaii with his authentic, first person leadership presentations as President Thomas Jefferson, Frontiersman Daniel Boone, and Lewis & Clark Co-Leader William Clark. He also appears as himself, The Hopeful Humorist™, with a program of motivational humor, patriotism and inspiration.

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