Professor Chester Crocker served as the United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in 1981. As Assistant Secretary of State, he was the principal diplomatic architect and mediator in the negotiations among Angola, Cuba and South Africa that led to Namibia's transition to independence and to the withdrawal of Cuban forces from Angola. Prior to this role, Professor Crocker served as a staff officer at the National Security Council from 1970 to 1972, where he worked on Middle Eastern, Indian Ocean and African issues. He was also appointed Director of African Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington D.C., from 1976 to 1980.
In this interview, conducted on 20 July 1998 while he was serving as the chairman of the board of the United States Institute of Peace, Professor Crocker spoke about his experiences in diplomacy and mediation regarding Namibian independence.