Chas Freeman

Visiting Scholar in International and Public Affairs
111 Thayer Street, Room 227
Areas of Expertise Energy Security, International Institutions, Nuclear Weapons, Political Economy, Science & Technology Policy, Trade, US Foreign Policy
Areas of Interest Diplomacy, Geoeconomics, Geopolitics, Strategy


Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. is a senior fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, ambassador to Saudi Arabia (during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm), acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and Chargé d'affaires at both Bangkok and Beijing.  He began his diplomatic career in India but specialized in Chinese affairs.  (He was the principal American interpreter during President Nixon's visit to Beijing in 1972.)  

Ambassador Freeman is a much sought-after public speaker (see and the author of several well-received books on statecraft and diplomacy. His most recent book, "America's Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East" was published in May 2016. "Interesting Times: China, America, and the Shifting Balance of Prestige," appeared in March 2013. "America’s Misadventures in the Middle East" came out in 2010, as did the most recent revision of "The Diplomat’s Dictionary," the companion volume to "Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy." He was the editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on "diplomacy."

Freeman is a former U.S. assistant secretary of defense, ambassador to Saudi Arabia, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, chargé d’affaires a.i. at Bangkok and Beijing, acting U.S. commissioner for refugee affairs and director of program coordination and development at the U.S. Information Agency. He was the principal American interpreter during the late President Nixon’s 1972 opening of U.S. relations with China.

Chas Freeman studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and Taiwan and earned an A.B. magna cum laude from Yale University as well as a J.D. from the Harvard Law School. He chairs Projects International, Inc., a Washington-based firm that for more than three decades has helped its American and foreign clients create ventures across borders, facilitating their establishment of new businesses through the design, negotiation, capitalization, and implementation of greenfield investments, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, franchises, one-off transactions, sales and agencies in other countries.


Edited Volumes

"Sino-American Interactions, Past and Future" in
By Chester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson, Pamela Aall, Routledge, 2020

"United States - China Military Relations: From Enmity to Entente and Maybe Back Again " in
ENGAGING CHINA: Fifty Years of Sino-American Relations
Ed. by Anne Thurston, Oxford, 2021

Recent News

Responsible Statecraft

Refashioning a new East Asian order (written by Chas Freeman)

Ambassador Chas Freeman writes for Responsible Statecraft, "After four centuries, China has emerged as the economic nucleus of its region and a credible contestant for global preeminence."
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