World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn
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THE ARCHIVE OF AMBASSADOR KENNETH M. QUINN
FROM THE MISSISSIPPI TO THE MEKONG
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A Small Conversation at a Refugee Celebration in Des Moines Leads to a Return to Iowa

1/9/76

In reflecting on his work at the National Security Council following the end of the Vietnam Conflict, Amb. Quinn notes that work on refugees would become one of the threads that would run through the rest of his diplomatic career. One of the first steps in this process came in responding to a letter to President Ford from Iowa Governor Robert D. Ray inviting him to a Tai Dam refugee celebration in Des Moines, Iowa. Amb. Quinn personally carried a letter from the president with him to Iowa, which he read at the refugee event. Governor Ray complimented him on his remarks, adding that “We sure could use a guy like you back here in Iowa.” This small conversation would lead to a significant phase in Amb. Quinn’s career when he subsequently applies for a state department program that would “loan” him to the Iowa governor’s office two years later.

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