Jack F. Matlock, Jr.
Mr. Matlock, a retired diplomat, has held academic posts since 1991: Adjunct Professor of International Relations, Columbia University, from 2007; Cyrus Vance Professor of International Relations at Mt. Holyoke College, 2007, Sol Linowitz Professor of International Relations, Hamilton College, 2006 and 2009; visiting professor and lecturer in public and international affairs at Princeton University, 2001- 2004; George F. Kennan Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, 1996 – 2001; Senior Research Fellow and then Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor in the Practice of International Diplomacy at Columbia University, 1991 to 1996.
During his 35 years in the American Foreign Service (1956-1991) he served as Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for European and Soviet Affairs on the National Security Council Staff from 1983 until 1986, and Ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1981 to 1983.
Before his appointment to Moscow as Ambassador, Mr. Matlock served three tours at the American Embassy in the Soviet Union, as Vice Consul and Third Secretary (1961-63), Minister Counselor and Deputy Chief of Mission (1974-1978), and Chargé d’Affaires ad interim in 1981. His other Foreign Service assignments were in Vienna, Munich, Accra, Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, in addition to tours in Washington as Director of Soviet Affairs in the State Department (1971-74) and as Deputy Director of the Foreign Service Institute (1979-80). Before entering the Foreign Service Mr. Matlock was Instructor in Russian Language and Literature at Dartmouth College (1953-56). During the 1978-79 academic year he was Visiting Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University.
He is the author of Superpower Illusions: How Myths and False Ideologies Led America Astray–And How to Return to Reality (Yale University Press, 2010); Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended (Random House, 2004, paperback edition 2005); Autopsy on an Empire: The American Ambassador’s Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union (Random House, 1995); and a handbook to the thirteen-volume Russian edition of Stalin’s Collected Works (Washington, D.C. 1955, 2nd edition, New York, 1971).
Mr. Matlock was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, on October 1, 1929, and was educated at Duke University (AB, summa cum laude, 1950) and at Columbia University (MA and Certificate of the Russian Institute, 1952, PhD, 2013). He has been awarded honorary doctorates by four institutions including the Latvian Academy of Sciences. In addition to the books noted, he is the author of numerous articles on foreign policy, international relations, and Russian literature and history. He and his wife, the former Rebecca Burrum, divide their time between Booneville, Tennessee, and Princeton, New Jersey. They have five children and three grandchildren.