Home Inside The Room: Attorney-Diplomats at work on U.S. Foreign Relations (Part One)

    Inside The Room: Attorney-Diplomats at work on U.S. Foreign Relations (Part One)

    The Washington Foreign Law Society


    Inside The Room: Attorney-Diplomats at work on U.S. Foreign Relations

     Thursday, February 18th, 2021
    from 5:30 to 6:45 PM ET

    – This event is co-sponsored by ASIL, the American Society of International Law, and by the ABA International Law Section – 

    The Washington Foreign Law Society presents a two-part interview series featuring Mark B. Feldman and Jeffrey H. Smith, former government attorneys with decades of experience in foreign affairs.

    They will share personal experiences and insights from historic foreign policy crisis ranging from Vietnam to Iran Contra and the Iraq war.  While focusing on the role of government attorneys in crisis management, the speakers will consider the broader issues at stake and take viewers inside the room where fateful decisions were made. Our presenters will also take questions from attendees.


    For the first piece of this two-part program, on February 18, 2021, Mr. Smith will interview Mark B. Feldman who will focus on the Vietnam War, the Iran Hostage Crisis and working for Henry Kissinger. He served in the State Department 1965-1981 rising to Deputy and Acting Legal Adviser, and as a consultant to DOD on Iraq in 2002.  In private practice, he has represented U.S. and foreign clients, including Turkey, Israel and Bosnia. Professor Feldman has been teaching foreign relations law at Georgetown since 2006.

    For the second part, on March 18, 2021, Mr. Feldman will interview Jeffrey H.  Smith who will discuss his role in multiple “spy trades” in Berlin, as the US Trial Observer in the trial of Kim Dae Jung in Korea in 1980 and as counsel to the joint House-Senate committee investigating the Iran-Contra scandal in 1987. Mr. Smith began his government career as an Army JAG joining the State Department in 1975 where he was promoted to Assistant Legal Adviser for Law Enforcement and Intelligence (Spies, Drugs and Thugs). From 1984 to 1988 Mr. Smith served as Minority Counsel and then General Counsel of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and as General Counsel of the CIA (1995-96).  In practice with Arnold & Porter, he has advised a wide range of clients on national security issues, most recently Ambassador William Taylor who testified in the impeachment proceedings of President Trump.

    Mark B. Feldman

    Mark B. Feldman teaches foreign relations law at Georgetown.  As Deputy and Acting Legal Adviser (1974-81), Professor Feldman played a major role in drafting the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and the Iran Claims Agreement.  He negotiated the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Property as well as U.S. maritime boundaries with Canada, Cuba and Mexico.  Professor Feldman issued the first State Department suggestion of immunity for a foreign official in 1976 and initiated the 1967 Alaska Treaty line as the maritime boundary with Russia.

    In private practice, Professor Feldman established the treaty exception to the federal act of state doctrine in the Kalamazoo Spice cases and chaired the ABA committee responsible for the 1988 amendments to the FSIA, including the arbitration exception. He advised Disney on arbitration procedures for its Park near Paris, and argued for the United States in the Gulf of Maine case at the ICJ. His work, publications and Congressional testimony are described at http://www.markfeldmaninternationallaw.com/new-page-2.

    Jeffrey Smith

    Jeffrey Smith is the former head of Arnold & Porter’s National Security practice. He regularly counsels both US and foreign companies on a wide range of national security issues. His practice includes advising major defense and aerospace companies and representing major media organizations and individuals with respect to First Amendment issues and unauthorized disclosures of classified information. Mr. Smith has frequently represented prominent individuals in congressional investigations and federal prosecutions. He has also represented major universities on national security issues.

    Mr. Smith is a former General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He has also served as General Counsel of the Senate Armed Services Committee and was Senator Sam Nunn’s designee to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Iran/Contra Committee. Prior to working for the Senate, he was the Assistant Legal Adviser for Law Enforcement and Intelligence at the State Department. Earlier, as an Army Judge Advocate General officer, he served as the Pentagon’s lawyer for the Panama Canal negotiations. Mr. Smith’s complete bio and selected work and publications can be found at https://www.arnoldporter.com/en/people/s/smith-jeffrey-h.

    Register for the February 18th event using the following form: