Smith Hempstone, Jr.

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Biographical Information

Smith Hempstone Jr., (died in 2006) "a conservative syndicated columnist who as U.S. ambassador to Kenya from 1989 to 1993 became an effective, aggressively undiplomatic critic of the country's ruler, Daniel arap Moi...

"Hempstone covered Kenya's independence for the Chicago Daily News and wrote two well-received modern histories of the region. He went on to work for the Washington Star, which his mother's family once owned, and the Washington Times, where he was briefly the top editor.

"Several of his jobs ended in a clash of personalities. His service as President George H.W. Bush's ambassador to Kenya was also testy, a point he appeared to relish by titling his memoir "The Rogue Ambassador."

"In Nairobi, Hempstone advocated the end of KANU's dominance. He gave refuge within the U.S. Embassy to a noted human rights lawyer sought by the police and spirited the man, Gibson Kamau Kuria, to safety in London. He denounced economic corruption, which he said prompted greater furor in Kenya than any human rights matter...

"After Marine Corps service during the Korean War, he spent four years in Africa as a fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs.

"The institute had a long affiliation with the Chicago Daily News, and Hempstone became the paper's Africa correspondent in the early 1960s.

"During that period, he wrote "Africa: Angry Young Giant," a survey of 26 countries; and "Rebels, Mercenaries and Dividends," about the attempted secession of Katanga, the mineral-rich southern province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Kathaleen Fishback Hempstone of Bethesda; a daughter; and a grandson." [1]

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