Mary Mel French
Chief of Protocol
Mary Mel French's nomination as Chief of Protocol was confirmed by the Senate on November 6, 1997. She was sworn in as Chief of Protocol with the rank of Ambassador by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on November 13, 1997. The Chief of Protocol, by Presidential direction, serves as Chief of Protocol for the U.S. Government, and as the official protocol officer for the White House. In this capacity, she advises the President, the Vice President, and the Secretary of State in the fulfillment of the U.S. Government's obligation relating to national and international protocol in the United States or in which the United States participates abroad.
From October 1996 until November 1997, Mary Mel French served as Deputy Chief of Protocol with extensive duties that included greeting foreign visitors, conducting swear-ins of senior State Department officials, hosting diplomatic events, and representing the President and Secretary at embassy events. In addition, she traveled abroad with the President and on presidential delegations, managed the Protocol Office and supervised the Assistant Chiefs of Protocol.
Ms. French served as Assistant Chief of Protocol for visits from June 1993 until October 1996. In this position, she oversaw the scheduling and arrangements for visits to the United States for chiefs of state, heads of government and other dignitaries during state, official, official working, working and private visits. She was responsible for credentials for new foreign ambassadors and providing backup for presidential delegations. In addition, her responsibilities included the overall selection of gifts for the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State. Under Ms. French's supervision, the Visits Section provided major support and organization for the Asian-Pacific Economic Council Conference in Seattle, Washington, the Summit of the Americas in Miami, Florida, and the United Nations 50th anniversary in New York.
Ms. French served as the Co-Executive Director of the 1992 presidential inaugural. During the 1992 Clinton-Gore presidential campaign, she was the Administrative Director.
Ms. French was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and lived many years in Little Rock, where she was on the Arkansas Governor's Mansion Board and its president from 1991 until 1992. She was appointed to the Arkansas Historic Preservation State Review Board from 1990 to 1992. She is a member of the Arkansas Arts Center and Fine Arts Club.
Ms. French served from 1963 to 1974 in the Jonesboro Junior Auxiliary and was a volunteer for St. Bernard's Hospital Auxiliary. She has three grown children. Ms. French has an A.A. degree from Stephen's College in Columbia, Missouri, and a B.A. in international studies from the University of Arkansas, Little Rock.
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