Samuel Bartlett: Former Consul General was first 'green' US diplomat posted to Belfast
SAMUEL Bartlett was a Boston-born diplomat who helped bring nationalist perspectives of the Troubles to the ears of the US government.
As Consul General in Belfast from 1983 to 1986, he advocated a more open mind towards visa applications from northern nationalists - and the refusal of a visa for Ian Paisley.
He also reached out across community lines on the ground and persuaded the US Ambassador to the UK, Charles Price, to visit a cross-community project in Ardoyne.
Mr Bartlett had been invited to view the Flax Trust's work by Professor Joseph E Thompson, now based in the Theology Department of Villanova University in Pennsylvania, who described him in his book American Policy and Northern Ireland: A Saga of Peacebuilding as the "first American 'green' State Department FSO (Foreign Service Officer) appointed to Belfast".
"Bartlett was the quiet internal driving force of change in the State Department's decisions towards Northern Ireland," he said.
Born in Boston in 1935, Sam Bartlett was captain of the football team in school and studied history at Dartmouth College before entering Harvard Law School.
He worked briefly as a lawyer before joining the Foreign Service in 1965 and had postings in Paris, The Hague, Cebu, Ottawa, San Salvador, Belfast and the State Department in Washington DC during a 20-year career.
He was described as "a consummate diplomat with a biting wit and the ability to get along with people from all walks of life. He was as comfortable at an elegant reception in Paris as he was at a barrio fiesta in the Philippines".
After retirement Mr Bartlett volunteered his expertise in the area of substance addiction.
He was also an enthusiastic sailor, taking part in the Fastnet Race among others.
Sam Bartlett died in Plymouth, Massachusetts on March 31 aged 82. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Joan, and their children Tom, Molly and Mary.