On Tuesday, The Heritage Foundation lost a distinguished colleague, mentor and friend, Ambassador Harvey Feldman. Harvey Feldman’s leadership throughout his career in the U.S. Foreign Service and for more than a decade at Heritage helped define America’s long-term interests in Asia and around the world.
He was a valued counselor, a wise observer of foreign affairs, and a great patriot. He was also a patient and understanding person with whom many of us were privileged to travel and to learn from.
Harvey Feldman retired from the U.S. Foreign Service after a career spanning more than three decades and four continents. An East Asian specialist for most of his career, Feldman also served with distinction in Eastern Europe and the United Nations.
He helped plan President Richard Nixon’s historic first visit to China in 1972 as a member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Council. He later continued his involvement with the China relations process as Director of the Office of the Republic of China Affairs. In that capacity, he created the American Institute in Taiwan which replaced the U.S. embassy in Taipei after relations where shifted to Beijing. Though nominally an unofficial foundation, the institute carries out all the essential functions of an official U.S. embassy. Feldman also was one of the drafters of the Taiwan Relations Act – a landmark legislation that defines the U.S. relationship with Taiwan.
After serving as U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, he was asked by then-U.N. Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick to join her staff as alternate U.S. Representative to the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador. He was a delegate to six U.N. General Assemblies and served as U.S. representative on the Trusteeship Council. He led American delegations to the Economic and Social Council for Asia and the Pacific, and also represented the United States on the Commission on Human Rights, and the Commission on the Status of Women.
After retiring from the Foreign Service, Feldman spent a year as Vice President of the Institute for East-West Security Studies, a think tank specializing on arms control and disarmament issues. Thereafter, he taught graduate seminars in international relations at New York University, with emphasis on techniques of multilateral negotiation. After moving to Washington, he became a partner in Global Business Access Ltd., a consulting firm formed by retired senior diplomats. Thereafter he became Executive Director of the joint Presidential Commission that recommended the creation of Radio Free Asia. He joined Heritage in 1996.
Feldman spoke Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Bulgarian. His op-ed essays and articles appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Journal of Commerce, Asian Survey, The National Interest, and the Strategic Studies Series of The Claremont Institute’s Asian Studies Center and countless other publications. He was the editor of two books, Taiwan in a Time of Transition, and Constitutional Reform and the Future of China. Feldman was also a member of the Board of Directors of two Washington institutions, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and the U.S.-India Institute.
We will miss him and his insights for our Asian Studies Center, for our whole Heritage team and for our Nation. We mourn the loss of this gentleman and friend.