William Harrop

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William Harrop (1929) is a retired American Foreign Service Officer, who was relieved as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, but spent most of his career dealing with Africa. He is a member of the advisory board of J Street.

Sourcewatch lists him as affiliated with Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change (2004). He is also a Director of the Henry L. Stimson Center, Population Services International and Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training. He is a Member of the Finance Committee of the American Academy of Diplomacy.[1]


He was U.S. Ambassador to Israel from 1991 to 1993, but was relieved over remarks that "Israel could not expect to remain the major recipient of generous U.S. foreign aid indefinitely, and that it should begin converting its semi-socialist economy to a free-market system." The Washington Report for Middle East Affairs reported the reason for Harrup’s dismissal at the time, even though the Department of State refused to confirm that he had been summarily fired by Warren Christopher, the secretary of state during the first Clinton term. At the time, he refused to discuss it.[2]

WRMEA quotes an interview with Harrop in the January 2000 issue of Washingtonian magazine published in its January 2000 issue, Harrup explained: “U.S. policy to Israel is always special. No one wants to push Israel hard.”

"He went on to describe how Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), a Hungarian-born Jewish Holocaust survivor and hard-core supporter of Israel, created a firestorm on Capitol Hill against Harrup after the U.S. envoy made his speech, at a time when U.S. aid made up 8 percent of Israel’s budget. 'Even though people [in the U.S.] were working on how to reduce our economic aid to Israel, which is now happening, I had gotten out in front of that move,' “That caused the political leaders here to feel, ‘We’ve had enough of this guy.’ What was most painful was that Secretary of State Warren Christopher, with whom I had worked in the Carter administration, never spoke with me about it. I wouldn’t have expected Clinton to, but Christopher let others handle it.”

Harrup added, “I don’t regret having done it. It was good for Israel and good for us, but people react sensitively back here if anyone in Israel feels the United States is throwing its weight around too much.”

According to WRMEA, Clinton political appointee Martin Indyk, became Harrup’s successor and who now has been appointed for the second time to the post in Tel Aviv, was then one of the people who axed Harrup. Career foreign service officer Sam Lewis, who served an unprecedented 10 years as U.S. ambassador to Israel starting in the 1970s, and who was one of the staunchest U.S. supporters of hard-line Israeli policies, was sent to Israel to inform Harrup he had been fired.

Foreign Service management

He was nominated, in 1983, to be " Inspector General of the Department of State and the Foreign Service. He would succeed Robert L. Brown, and served until he went to Zaire in 1987.


Much of Harrop's career involved Africa. After junior assignments, he became Office Director, African Research, Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1969 - 1971) then in the Policy Planning Staff (1971 - 1973. After a stay as deputy chief of mission in Canberra, Australia, he went back to Africa, to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Guinea (1975-1977), then returned to Washington as Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs at the Department of State in 1977 - 1980.

From 1980 to 1983, he was U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, then U.S. Ambassador to Zaire, 1987-1991.


  1. "William C. Harrop", Sourcewatch. Retrieved on 31 August 2009
  2. Eugene Bird (March 2000), A Tale of Two Diplomats: Ambassador to Israel is Reassigned, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs