Faith Whittlesey
U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland
Faith Whittlesey
Faith Ryan Whittlesey is a former Republican politician and White House Senior Staff member notable for her effort to communicate Reagan's entire policy agenda to U.S. opinion leaders and for bringing together for the first time in the Reagan White House evangelical, Catholic, and other conservative Christian groups who opposed legalized abortion. These groups became a significant component of the Reagan coalition as they grew more politically self-conscious in the 1980s.
Biography
Faith Whittlesey's personal information overview.
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News
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Regarding The Letter In The 'New York Times' From 50 Republican 'Endless War' Policy Advocates
Huffington Post - 6 months
Donald Trump speaks in Ashwood, Virginia, August 2, 2016. Source: REUTERS/Eric Thayer Some 50 Republican "foreign policy experts," self-proclaimed insiders whose insights led the United States into a disastrous and still burning war in Iraq, have recently published a "we believe" letter in the New York Times reviling Donald Trump and deriding him as unsuited to take up the reins of U.S. foreign policy. But who are these experts and what gives them standing to speak so imperiously about the direction of future U.S foreign policy? With a few exceptions such as former Governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania and my esteemed friend Ambassador John Negroponte, the 50 are largely national security and foreign policy functionaries of the G. W. Bush Administration era now entrenched in academia or elsewhere. They have one thing in common: They are previous practitioners of and current apologists for now discredited foreign policy initiatives the Bush Administration advanced in the Middle ...
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Huffington Post article
Bachmann's Candidacy Brings Gender News Coverage to Fore - NewsMax.com
Google News - over 5 years
Not unlike the old quip that former US Ambassador and US Rep. Faith Whittlesey popularized as a senior staff adviser to President Ronald Reagan: "Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels."
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Google News article
Irreconcilable Rockefellers - Vanity Fair
Google News - over 5 years
Currently, Amy and the children, ranging in age from eight to one, are living in a modest pink house which Faith Whittlesey owns, near George Bush Boulevard in Delray Beach, Florida. Whittlesey has also covered a good part of her daughter's attorney's
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Google News article
TODAY'S BEST BET - Dallas Voice
Google News - almost 6 years
All in all, it gives new meaning to Faith Whittlesey's dictum, “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did — only backwards and in heels.” Performing as a female impersonator certainly prepared Cunningham for this role. As with acting, drag
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Google News article
Small Arms in a Big, Brutal World
NYTimes - over 15 years
To the Editor: Re ''An American Retreat on Small Arms'' (editorial, July 11): The highest priority of freedom-loving people is liberty, even more than peace. The small arms you demonize often protect men, women and children from tyranny, brutality and even the genocide too frequently perpetrated by governments and police forces. The world's
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NYTimes article
Sunbeam's Board, in Revolt, Ousts Job-Cutting Chairman
NYTimes - over 18 years
For years, Albert J. Dunlap has been one of the nation's most feared corporate executives. He downsized with a vengeance, frequently boasting of the thousands he had thrown out of work to lift a company's stock price, earning himself the nickname Chain Saw Al. Now it is Mr. Dunlap who has been thrown out of a job. Over the weekend, the
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IN THE NATION; A Lesson of History
NYTimes - over 28 years
LEAD: The Supreme Court's widely hailed decision, written by Chief Justice Rehnquist, to uphold the so-called ''special prosecutor law'' evoked a hot dissent from Justice Scalia. Thus was joined a remarkable debate between the Court's most conservative members, both holding their present seats by appointment of President Reagan. The Supreme Court's
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NYTimes article
BRIEFING; Chavez Is Running
NYTimes - about 31 years
Linda Chavez, who heads the White House Office of Public Liaison but has been pondering lately whether to make a run for Congress, has finally reached a decision. She will seek to fill the vacancy being left in Maryland this year by the retirement of Senator Charles McC. Mathias Jr. A relative newcomer to Republican ranks, having joined the party
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NYTimes article
BRIEFING; Summit Excitement
NYTimes - about 31 years
They're pretty excited over at the Heritage Foundation about the reported impact of their briefing book on the Geneva summit conference. Richard V. Allen, a former White House national security adviser, is telling friends that in the first 10 minutes of the first United States-Soviet group meeting Nov. 19, Mikhail S. Gorbachev cited the 54-page
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NYTimes article
A CRITIQUE ON PBS OF VIETNAM SERIES SETS OFF A DISPUTE
NYTimes - over 31 years
A Public Broadcasting Service program that will offer a conservative group an unusual chance to criticize the network's prize-winning series on Vietnam has touched off a dispute over whether PBS has given in to pressure from the Reagan Administration. The two-hour program, which will be available to PBS stations beginning June 26, will include a
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NYTimes article
Q. AND A. ; FAITH WHITTLESEY ON WHITE HOUSE
NYTimes - almost 32 years
As assistant to President Reagan for public liaison for two years, Faith Ryan Whittlesey has been the highest ranking woman in the White House. She has been in charge of mobilizing special interest groups and various constituencies, such as members of minority groups, women, labor, business and farmers. Mrs. Whittlesey's White House tenure, which
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NYTimes article
2 U.S. Envoys Nominated
NYTimes - almost 32 years
President Reagan today nominated Faith Whittlesey, a White House public affairs aide, to serve as ambassador to Switzerland, where she served once before, from 1981 to 1983. Another ambassador, Fernando Rondon, now serving in Madagascar, is to be sent to Ecuador.
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NYTimes article
WHITE HOUSE; AN OUTSIDER (SOON TO BE AN INSIDER) STIRS CONCERN
NYTimes - about 34 years
The West Wing of the White House, where President Reagan's staff works and tries to decipher America, has all the comforts of Plato's cave. Here are some thoughtful human beings with strong yearnings to shape the Republic, chained to the very heart of the shadow world of Washington politics. The newest footfalls echoing inside the cave are those of
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PRESIDENT SEEKS TO GAIN SUPPORT FROM MINORITIES
NYTimes - about 34 years
At the urging of advisers who fear that his re-election may be in jeopardy, President Reagan has begun a series of program changes and initiatives to shore up his low political standing among blacks, the unemployed and especially women. White House officials said in interviews this week, for example, that Mr. Reagan planned to assail discrimination
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NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Faith Whittlesey
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2015
    Age 76
    Continuing as a member of the Pennsylvania bar, Whittlesey also served, until her retirement in 2015, on numerous corporate boards after she left government service.
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  • 2012
    Age 73
    Coincident with the Award presentation on October 4, 2012, a new study of her life and career, Backwards in High Heels: Faith Whittlesey, Reagan's Madam Ambassador in Switzerland and the White House, by Professor Thomas Carty of Springfield College (Massachusetts) was published.
    More Details Hide Details Before a standing room only crowd at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC on October 5, President Ronald Reagan’s Ambassador to Switzerland, Faith Whittlesey, offered up some sage advice on lessons learned from a lifetime career in public service, “Listen carefully, read widely, listen to diverse opinions, and be somewhat humble about yourself and our country.”
    In 2012, she joined the Board of the Rockford Institute in Rockford, Illinois, and, in 2013, the Advisory Board of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity in Washington, D.C. She is a longtime member of the University Club of Washington, D.C., and for several years has served on the Newsmax International Advisory Board.
    More Details Hide Details Honors Whittlesey has received over the years include these:
  • 2010
    Age 71
    After completing her second tour as United States Ambassador to Switzerland, Whittlesey was named as Chairman and President of the American Swiss Foundation in New York. For more than two decades, she worked "to protect and strengthen the friendship between the United States and Switzerland," which in 2010 was the largest direct foreign investor in the U.S. Whittlesey conceived of and established a bipartisan young leaders' program that for 22 years has brought together young opinion leaders and professionals from Switzerland and the United States for an intensive, week-long conference in Switzerland.
    More Details Hide Details Participants meet senior public and private sector officials, engage in discussions on issues of the day, and build friendships. There are now over 1,000 alumni of this program.
  • 2008
    Age 69
    For 19 years, Whittlesey served as President and Chairman of the Board of the American Swiss Foundation; beginning in February 2008, she became Chairman Emeritus.
    More Details Hide Details She was a member of the Board of Directors (and former Chairman for 3 years) of Christian Freedom International, an organization dedicated to assisting persecuted Christians around the world. She is a member of the Council of American Ambassadors and also a member of the Board of Advisers of the Reagan Alumni Association. She also served as a member—and for 6 years as Chairman—of the Board of the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C..
  • 2001
    Age 62
    Whittlesey's diplomatic career resumed very briefly in 2001 when she was named by President George W. Bush to be an At-Large Member of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.
    More Details Hide Details She continued in this position as needed throughout the Bush Presidency. A strong supporter of the Second Amendment, she has been quoted as saying about the treaty: "This document by the U.N. freezes the last coup. It favors established governments, while taking away rights from individuals. It does not recognize any value higher than peace, such as liberty." Whittlesey popularized a quote about Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire that is often attributed to her: "Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels." The official Ginger Rogers website attributes the origin of the quote to Bob Thaves who wrote in a 1982 Frank and Ernest comic strip about Fred Astaire: "Sure he was great, but don't forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did, backwards…and in high heels." The attribution to Whittlesey traces to a speech she delivered to a Teamsters Union meeting in 1984 where she was representing Reagan. Sometimes the quote is also attributed to Ann Richards, who later used the line in her 1988 Democratic National Convention speech, but Richards said she got the line from television journalist Linda Ellerbee who said she heard the line from a fellow passenger on an airplane.
  • 2000
    Age 61
    Whittlesey converted to Roman Catholicism in 2000 in Staten Island, New York, having been greatly influenced as a result of her Reagan administration association with John Cardinal O'Connor of New York.
    More Details Hide Details She was baptized and confirmed by Father Michael Reilly, principal of St. Joseph's By-the-Sea High School in Staten Island, New York.
  • FORTIES
  • 1985
    Age 46
    She was the first to greet President Reagan as he stepped off the plane in Geneva for his meeting with Gorbachev in November, 1985. After the Democrats took control of the Senate in 1986, giving them control of both Houses of Congress, allegations were made to Attorney General Edwin Meese that Whittlesey had granted diplomatic favors for private contributions to her State Department-administered representational fund and that she had also obstructed justice.
    More Details Hide Details Meese "found no 'reasonable grounds' to pursue allegations that" Whittlesey "mishandled entertainment funds at the embassy or improperly aided contributors to the funds" in contravention of the independent counsel statute. Hearings into the subject were held by a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, but the hearings failed to produce substantiation of the charges and went nowhere. The Wall Street Journal, in an editorial entitled "True Grit," echoing a popular movie of the time, dismissed the investigation. "The U.S. Justice Department has now filed a notification in Federal Circuit Court in Washington clearing the ambassador of any wrongdoing and vindicating the view that there was a whole lot less to the whole affair than had met either the eye or ear.It is impressive to come out of such an investigation clean and clear." Former National Security Adviser and Secretary of the Interior William P. Clark Jr. believes that the allegations were a product of a "campaign of leaks" by Baker, Deaver, David Gergen, and Dick Darman to discredit ideologues in the administration they did not like. William F. Buckley Jr. asserted the view that the investigation had been driven by "two forces, one of them galactic, the other merely torrential... The first is the disposition of the State Department bureaucracy to make things hard for political appointees. The second is the disposition of all of Washington to make things hard for Mr. Reagan."
  • 1983
    Age 44
    Whittlesey was named Assistant to the President for Public Liaison in 1983 at the suggestion of Ronald Reagan's Ambassador to Austria and personal assistant Helene A. von Damm and with the urging of White House Chief of Staff James Baker and Deputy Chief of Staff Michael Deaver.
    More Details Hide Details Her tenure was marked by initiatives to improve the access of conservative Christian believers to the American political process and national policymaking. She was considered their most "aggressive ally" in the White House. She wrote a memo in October 1983 that fundamentalist and evangelical groups had done "little organizational work" for "the 1984 election period" and that to maintain Ronald Reagan's "credibility" with those groups, Catholics in particular, "the tuition tax credit bill must come up for Senate floor action this fall". She noted that school prayer was "not unlike the tuition tax credit issue. Politically we win if we get votes on the Senate floor". In 1985, she sent the anti-abortion film The Silent Scream, which was a documentary of an ultrasound abortion at three months produced in 1984 by anti-abortion activist and former NARAL founder Bernard Nathanson, to every member of Congress and arranged for a screening at the White House at which Nathanson presented the film.
  • 1980
    Age 41
    As an elected delegate at the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit, Whittlesey co-chaired with Congressman Jack Kemp the Subcommittee for Foreign Policy and Defense of the Platform Committee and delivered Reagan's defense plank to the Convention.
    More Details Hide Details Regarded as a "conviction conservative," Whittlesey strongly identified with Reagan's core agenda, which she described as "support for the peaceful defeat of the Soviet Union without commitment of U.S. troops in combat, defense of life, opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment with its hidden agenda of tax-funded abortion and same-sex marriage, decentralized government, lower taxes and reduced government regulation of the private sector, school prayer, defeat of Marxism-Leninism in its various permutations and manifestations, individual Second Amendment rights, the establishment of official diplomatic recognition of the Vatican, support for tuition tax credits for parochial schooling." After leaving public service, she maintained that much of Reagan's core agenda remained to be implemented and that it ought to serve as a continuing issue blueprint for the Republican party.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1978
    Age 39
    She lost the 1978 Republican primary for Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania.
    More Details Hide Details While serving in the Delaware County government, Whittlesey briefly held her first job in the private sector, taking a part-time job as the token Republican at the law firm Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen LLP in Philadelphia. After leaving Switzerland, Whittlesey joined the New York-based law firm of Myerson & Kuhn until its 1990 bankruptcy filing In 1998 she started her own consulting firm, Maybrook Associates. She has also served on several corporate boards over the years, including the U.S. Advisory Board for Nestle. Since 1989 she has been a board member of Schindler Elevator Corporation USA, headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey. Since 1992 she has served as a board member of Valassis Communications, Inc., headquartered in Livonia, Michigan. She was admitted to the bar of Pennsylvania in 1964 and remains in non-resident active status. Whittlesey's Collected Papers are housed at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University.
  • 1976
    Age 37
    Whittlesey was elected an alternate delegate from Pennsylvania to the 1976 Republican National Convention and as a delegate in 1980 and 1984.
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  • 1975
    Age 36
    In 1975 she was elected to the Delaware County Board of Commissioners, now known as the Delaware County Council and reelected in 1979. (Delaware County was at the time larger in population than 5 states of the Union.) She served alternately as Chairman and Vice Chairman.
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  • 1974
    Age 35
    In 1974 she was reelected to the Legislature.
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    The marriage lasted 11 years, not ending till Roger Whittlesey committed suicide in March 1974.
    More Details Hide Details Because her father was a "Roman Catholic in the Irish tradition" it has been incorrectly assumed that Whittlesey grew up as a Catholic, when in fact her mother's family did not approve of her father's Catholicism. "So he left the Catholic Church," Whittlesey explained in her Memoirs. "He attended the Methodist Church with my mother and brother, Tom, and me. I was thus raised as a Methodist. As a family we went to the Williamsville, New York, Methodist Church every Sunday. I went to regular Sunday school and sang in the choirs." Her husband's family was Presbyterian.
    Whittlesey worked her entire adult life, including when pregnant and after her husband died in 1974.
    More Details Hide Details She canvassed door-to-door for her 1972 legislative race while pregnant with her third child, William. In 1985, when looking at the trendline that showed that half of all pre-school children had mothers in the workforce, she assured Reagan that once the economy picked up "all those women can go home and look after their own children". As a long-time working mother herself, Whittlesey asserted this statement was taken out of context and did not reflect her intent of expanding choices, professional and personal, for women. The statement continued, "They could care for their children themselves if they wished to do so because their husbands would have opportunities again in a thriving economy." Whittlesey was the only woman on Reagan's Senior White House Staff during her service there. According to David Broder, "Whittlesey asserted in 1980 her position on women's rights and her fight as a woman to be effective politically, 'I sympathize with some of the goals of the women's movement, but they choose not to associate with me, so that's where we are. I find myself in many closed rooms filled with men, but I'm rarely invited to women's movement's functions, because I am pro-life and do not endorse feminist ideology of victimhood.' "
  • 1972
    Age 33
    In 1972 she was elected as a Representative in the Pennsylvania Legislature representing the 166th Legislative District in Delaware County.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1963
    Age 24
    After her substitute teaching job in 1963 and 1964, Whittlesey held a variety of governmental positions: Special Assistant Attorney General in Pennsylvania assigned to the Pennsylvania Banking Code Revision Project (1964–65), law clerk for Federal District Court Judge Francis L. Van Dusen, E.D.P.A. (1965), a Special Assistant Attorney General assigned to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (1967–70), Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (1970–1972).
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    In 1963 she married Roger Weaver Whittlesey of Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania, a graduate of the William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia and Bowdoin College in Maine.
    More Details Hide Details Roger Whittlesey was an advertising executive from an illustrious family. They had 3 children and 10 grandchildren.
    She has one sibling, Thomas Martin Ryan, who graduated Yale College magna cum laude in 1963, received an MA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
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  • 1960
    Age 21
    She earned a full-tuition scholarship to attend Wells College in Aurora, New York, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and cum laude in 1960 with a BA in history.
    More Details Hide Details She also earned a full-tuition scholarship to the law school at the University of Pennsylvania and a Ford Foundation grant to attend a program at The Hague Academy of International Law in The Netherlands. Whittlesey is also an accomplished classical pianist and former piano teacher.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1958
    Age 19
    In 1958 she participated in the Experiment in International Living program to Austria.
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  • 1955
    Age 16
    In 1955 she was selected to participate in the American Field Service program to Flensburg, Germany.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1939
    Age 0
    Whittlesey was born Faith Ryan in 1939 in Jersey City, New Jersey to Martin Roy Ryan of Maybrook, New York, and Amy Jerusha (Covell) of Popes Mills, New York.
    More Details Hide Details She grew up in Williamsville, New York, and graduated with honors from Williamsville Central High School in 1956. Her photo appears on the "Wall of Honor" celebrating famous graduates of what is now called Williamsville South High School.
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