Darryl N. Johnson

Darryl Norman Johnson (1938 – 24 June 2018) was an American politician and career Foreign Service Officer who held many positions in American government around the world. Most recently and importantly he was the United States Ambassador to Thailand from 2001–2004. Additionally, he was acting US Ambassador to the Philippines for several months in 2005. He used to live near Seattle, WA. In retirement he was a lecturer at his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Washington, where he taught in its Jackson School of International Studies.[1]

Darryl N. Johnson
Darryl N. Johnson.JPEG
Darryl N. Johnson in 2004
United States Ambassador to Thailand
In office
November 26, 2001 – December 28, 2004
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byRichard E. Hecklinger
Succeeded byRalph Leo Boyce
Director of American Institute in Taiwan
In office
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byB. Lynn Pascoe
Succeeded byRaymond Burghardt
United States Ambassador to Lithuania
In office
March 23, 1992 – May 23, 1994
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byOwen J.C. Norem
Succeeded byJames W. Swihart
Personal details
Born1938 (1938)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedJune 24, 2018(2018-06-24) (aged 79–80)
Alma materUniversity of Washington (B.A.)
University of Minnesota
Princeton University
OccupationDiplomat, Statesman

Early lifeEdit

Johnson was born in Chicago, Illinois, but he grew up in suburban Seattle, Washington. He attended public schools in Seattle, graduating from high school in 1956 and then attending first the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, and then the University of Washington in Seattle, where he received his BA Cum Laude in English Literature in 1960.

While at the University of Washington he was a member of the academic honor societies for Military Science, Music and Literature, and was admitted to the Phi Beta Kappa Society in 1960. He next attended the University of Minnesota and Princeton University, working several months at the Boeing Company in Seattle during and after his university studies. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand between1962 and 1965, joining the Foreign Service after he returned home.[2]

Foreign service careerEdit

Johnson had a long and distinguished career as a United States Foreign Service officer, with extensive experience in East European and Asian affairs. Among other assignments, he served on the Bosnia Task Force in Washington and as Charge of the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo in April 1996. Before that, he was Senior Advisor to Madeleine Albright, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and before that, was Deputy Coordinator for Assistance to the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union.

Johnson served as the first American Ambassador to the Republic of Lithuania, having arrived in Vilnius in September, 1991, to open the first post-World War II U.S. Mission in that country. Prior to that, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland (1988–91), and before that in Beijing (1984–87), Moscow (1974–77), Hong Kong (1969–73), and Bombay (1966–67). In addition, he served in the Department of State in Washington, D.C., as Officer-in-Charge of Yugoslav Affairs (1977–79), Officer-in-Charge of People's Republic of China Affairs (1979–81), as a Pearson Fellow in the Office of Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI) (1981–82), and as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs (1982–84). In the latter position, his responsibilities included East European, Soviet, and East Asian/Pacific Affairs during the tenure of the then Under Secretary, Lawrence Eagleburger.


In his capacity as lecturer at the University of Washington, Ambassador Johnson teaches a class called "Practicing American Foreign Policy", and also advises undergraduate students on their Qualifying Papers, an extended writing assignment of approximately 25 pages that is required by the Jackson School for graduation.[3][4] This teaching position at the University of Washington has previously been held by former U.S. diplomats Ronald Woods and Charles T. Cross.[5] Ambassador Johnson also participates at various speaking engagements in the Seattle area, many of which relate to the Peace Corps and to the United States Foreign Service. He has published op-eds in several major newspapers regarding politics in Thailand, including the Los Angeles Times[6] and the Seattle Times.[7][8]

Personal lifeEdit

Johnson is the father of one daughter and two sons. He is married to the former Kathleen Desa Forance. In addition to English he speaks Chinese (Mandarin), Polish, Russian, Thai and Lithuanian.[9] Johnson died in Seattle on 24 June 2018.[10]


  1. ^ "Jackson School of International Studies: Southeast Asia Center". Jackson School of International Studies. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  2. ^ "About Us Meet the Director AIT Introduction Directors & Chairs Offices & Sections Commercial Section Agricultural Trade Office Hours of Operation & Holidays Our Location DARRYL NORMAN JOHNSON (TENURE: 1996 - 1999) Darryl Norman Johnson Assumes Duties as New Director of AIT Taipei". American Institute in Taiwan. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  3. ^ "University of Washington Instructor Class Description". University of Washington, Seattle. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  4. ^ "Program Description - International Studies". Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. Archived from the original on March 21, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  5. ^ "National Security Advice--in 500 Words or Less". University of Washington Arts and Sciences Newsletter. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  6. ^ Johnson, Darryl. "Thailand's king reigns--but he doesn't rule". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  7. ^ Johnson, Darryl. "The surprising fall of Thailand's Thaksin". Seattle Times. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  8. ^ Johnson, Darryl. "Roots of Crisis in Thailand". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on June 25, 2010. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  9. ^ Darryl Norman Johnson Assumes Duties as New Director of AIT Taipei
  10. ^ "AIT, MOFA mourn passing of former AIT director". Taipei Times. Central News Agency. 12 July 2018. Retrieved 12 July 2018.

External linksEdit

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
post established
United States Ambassador to Lithuania
Succeeded by
James W. Swihart
Preceded by
Richard E. Hecklinger
United States Ambassador to Thailand
Succeeded by
Ralph Leo Boyce
Preceded by
Joseph A. Mussomeli
United States Ambassador to the Philippines
Succeeded by
Kristie Kenney
Preceded by
B. Lynn Pascoe
Director of the American Institute in Taiwan
Succeeded by
Raymond Burghardt