Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Dinger new US Ambassador to FSM

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): February 1, 2002 - Ambassador Larry Miles Dinger, presented his credentials to President Leo A. Falcam on January 14, as the new United States Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia.

Dinger replaced former Ambassador Diane Watson, who completed her post to the FSM in 2001 and went on to become a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

President Falcam accepted the Ambassador's Letters of Credence and welcomed him and his family to the FSM expressing the significance of his accreditation as being a "historic occasion in the special relationship between our countries," referring to the current economic negotiations underway between the U.S. and the FSM.

The values enshrined in the Compact, according to the President, "recognized the sovereignty of the Micronesian people and facilitated self government of the FSM." Today, the FSM is a functioning democratic and stable nation which President Falcam said is much better off than it was 15 years ago, due in no small measure, "to the generous support and cooperation of the United States" afforded through the Compact.

The President said the Ambassador's role in the upcoming rounds of negotiations would be "pivotal in the success of the negotiation," and that the nation look forward to his leadership in that regard.

The Ambassador's statement echoed this sentiment when he said, "the U.S. Embassy in Kolonia can play an important role to help the negotiations succeed" and that he looks forward to assisting in the negotiation process.

At the heart of the Compact is the goal that FSM become economically self-sufficient, a goal which Ambassador Dinger said he looks forward to by working with the Government and business communities to "stimulate economic relationships" between the two countries.

The other key aspect of the Compact highlighted by the Ambassador was the security-ties between the two countries. A relationship that the Ambassador said was well noted by United States Secretary of State, Colin L. Powell, who referred to a number of FSM citizens that had served under his command in the U.S. military.

The Ambassador also acknowledged the services of Lieutenant Colonel Leo Falcam Jr. who currently serves in the United States Marines.

Ambassador Dinger pledged to do his "utmost to ensure [the two countries'] security relationships stays strong."

Ambassador Dinger thanked the President for the nation's show of support during the September attacks in the U.S., and said his Government "noted with gratitude" FSM's immediate actions to show solidarity with the U.S. and the outpouring of sympathy from the FSM.

As the war against terrorism continues, the Ambassador said "it is comforting to know that the FSM is ready to play its part in that crucial struggle."

A role that as a nation committed to peace and freedom, President Falcam said FSM citizens "proudly serve alongside United States citizens in the ongoing international efforts to combat and root out terrorism in all its forms." On the global platform, the President had recently signed during the 56th United Nations General Assembly, the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.

Both Governments re-affirmed their pledges to advance mutual interests as enshrined in the Compact of Free Association and expand the two nations close bilateral relationship.

Dinger graduated from MacAlester College in 1968 and shortly thereafter served in the United States Military Service as a Naval Officer in Vietnam and the United Kingdom. In 1975, he got his Doctorate from Harvard Law and went on to a member of the Iowa Bar. Dinger also holds a Masters of Administration from the National Defense University's National War College.

The Ambassador began his career in the political arena as part of the Udall Presidential Campaign team in '75-'76; from 1976-78, he worked as a Legislative Assistant to Senator John Culver of Iowa and in 1980, he ran as a candidate for Iowa State Representative.

Dinger has more than 23 years of public service, beginning his diplomatic career in 1983 when he entered the State Department. He served for the next two years as Consular Officer for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico during which he earned in 1985 Superior Honor for Leadership of the Narcotics Assistance Unit. From 1985-86, he was a Staff Assistant for the Department's East Asia and Pacific Bureau, and was then assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia as a Political Officer from 1987-90. The two following years, '90-'92, he served in the Department of State as the Indonesian Desk Officer. Dinger was then posted as the Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Australia from 1992-95. After which, he returned to the Department as a Special Assistant on the East Asia and Pacific Bureau for another year.

In 1996, Dinger was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Fiji as the Deputy Chief of Mission and eventually became the Charge d'Affaires, a.i. In 1999, Dinger received Superior Honor for his Leadership at the Suva Embassy, the same year the Embassy was also awarded Superior Honor for its Commercial Program.

From 2000-01, Dinger was posted at the U.S. Embassy in Nepal as the Deputy Chief of Mission. The Ambassador speaks Spanish and Bahasa Indonesia. Ambassador Dinger is married to former Paula Gaffey and they have 3 children, Christina, James and William.

Witnesses to the ceremony included: President, his Cabinet and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356