Thomas S. Foley was the 25th U.S. Ambassador to Japan from 1997 to 2001.
Before taking up his diplomatic post in November 1997, Mr. Foley was elected as the 49th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Mr. Foley was Majority Leader from 1987 until he became Speaker on June 6, 1989. From 1981 to 1987, he served as the Majority Whip, the number three position in the House Leadership. He also served as Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, the Democratic Study Group, and the Agriculture Committee.
Prior to his appointment as Ambassador to Japan, Mr. Foley was Chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Mr. Foley also chaired the Mansfield Foundation until 2008 and was active on a number of private and public boards of directors, including the Japan-America Society of Washington, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a number of Japan Societies throughout the country, and the Center for National Policy. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the East-West Center, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and North American Chairman of the Trilateral Commission. Mr. Foley was also a partner with the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld in Washington, D.C. until his retirement in 2008.
Thomas S. Foley is a native of Spokane, Washington and a graduate of the University of Washington and its School of Law. He was elected to represent the state of Washington’s Fifth Congressional District fifteen times, serving for thirty years from January 1965 to December 1994.