Mike Mansfield was appointed ambassador to Japan in 1977 by Democratic President Jimmy Carter. In this photo, Mansfield is seen shaking hands with President Carter’s Republican successor, President Ronald Reagan, who in 1981 reappointed Mansfield ambassador to Japan. As Mansfield biographer Don Oberdorfer notes, “Admiration and support for Mike Mansfield were among the very few things that Carter and Reagan had in common.” (Don Oberdorfer, Senator Mansfield (Washington: Smithsonian, 2003)).
Earlier in his career, Mike Mansfield’s skill at avoiding divisive partisan issues allowed him to maintain strong bipartisan relations in Congress, enabling him to lead the Senate in passing laws that would shape the future of our country. Internationally, Mansfield was held in high esteem throughout Asia during his congressional career and his tenure as the longest-serving U.S. ambassador to Japan.
Photo credit: 99-4428, K. Ross Toole Archives, Archives & Special Collections, Mansfield Library, The University of Montana.