|Robert B. Oakley|
Joining the Foreign Service in 1957, his first posting was to Khartoum. He also served in Abidjan, Saigon, Paris, and Beirut. He was Senior Director for the Middle East and South Asia at the National Security Council. In 1979 he was named Ambassador to Zaire, and in 1982 Ambassador to Somalia.
In 1984 he became Director of the State Department Office for Combating Terrorism, and in 1987 he returned to the NSC as Assistant to the President for the Middle East and South Asia.
In 1988, when US Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Raphel died in the same air crash that killed Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq, he was named Ambassador to Pakistan at a moment of crisis.
Oakley retired from the Foreign Service in 1991, and served at the US Institute for Peace but he was soon back at work as in late 1992, President George H.W. Bush named him Special Envoy to Somalia. He served in the same capacity for Bill Clinton in 1993-94.
He later served at National Defense University. With his wife Phyllis, who held senior State Department positions as well (including Spokesman), and who survives him, he was a familiar and approachable figure in the foreign policy community here in Washington.