Creekmore, Marion V. 1939-

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Creekmore, Marion V. 1939-


Born January 8, 1939, in Memphis, TN; son of Marion Virgil and Grace Creekmore; married Linda Rae Burlingame, June 6, 1961; children: Mary Catherine, Debra Lynn. Education: Vanderbilt University, B.A., 1961; Tulane University, M.A., 1963, Ph.D., 1968.


Home—Atlanta, GA. Office—Department of Political Science, Emory University, 1555 Dickey Dr., 103 Tarbutton Hall, Atlanta, GA 30322. E-mail—[email protected].


Diplomat, educator, and writer. U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, joined 1965, officer in charge of producer countries, 1975-77, director of the Office of Development Finance, 1977, deputy director of policy planning staff, 1985, deputy assistant secretary of state for Near East and South Asia, 1985-88, Afghan coordinator, 1988, International Organizations Bureau, Washington, DC, deputy assistant secretary of state, 1979-81, U.S. Embassy, New Delhi, India, deputy chief of mission, 1981-84, ambassador to Sri Lanka, and Republic of Maldives, 1989-92; National Defense University, Washington, DC, senior research fellow, 1984-85; Emory University, Atlanta, GA, Carter Center, program director, 1993-96, vice provost for international affairs, 1993-2000, director of the Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning, 1996-2000, distinguished visiting professor of history and political science, c. 2000—. Work-related duties include director of Office of International Energy Policy, Department of Energy, Washington, DC, 1978-79; assistant professor of history at Memphis State University, 1968-70; diplomat-in-residence at George Washington University, spring, 1988.


Council on Foreign Relations.


Superior Honor award, U.S. Department of State, 1977, 1981; President's Meritorious Honor award, 1985, 1989; Distinguished Honor award, U.S. Department of State, 1988; Marion V. Creekmore Award for Internationalization, Emory University, 2000.


A Moment of Crisis: Jimmy Carter, the Power of a Peacemaker, and North Korea's Nuclear Ambitions, Public Affairs (New York, NY), 2006.


Marion V. Creekmore served in the U.S. Department of State for many years as a career diplomat. Among the positions he held from 1965 to 1993 were U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Republic Of Maldives, as well as overseas postings in South Africa, Ghana, Germany, and India, where he held the position of Deputy Chief of Mission in New Delhi. In 1993, he was appointed program director of the Carter Center at Emory University and, over the next three years, coordinated many of the international activities of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. During this time he worked on a special diplomatic trip to North Korea in 1994 during U.S. President Bill Clinton's administration. Creekmore's book, A Moment of Crisis: Jimmy Carter, the Power of a Peacemaker, and North Korea's Nuclear Ambitions, provides an account of Carter's 1994 mission to Pyongyang, North Korea, when the first North Korean nuclear crisis took place. Carter, who was sure that the crisis could lead to war, set out to prevent the escalation of hostilities.

"In 1994, the US believed that in the worst-case scenario, North Korea had enough plutonium to make up to two nuclear bombs," Creekmore told Paige Rohe in an interview on Pure Creekmore went on to note in the same interview: "Since the North Koreans would not open up their nuclear program to inspection by the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] of two particular undeclared nuclear sites … the US threatened to (use sanctions and) get the UN to impose economic sanctions against North Korea. The crisis of 1994 then revolved around these particular issues." Creekmore also pointed out that the North Koreans said they would consider sanctions tantamount to an act of war.

As Carter's top aide during the diplomatic mission to prevent war, Creekmore had an insider's view of the negotiation process. In his book, the author points out that the worst-case scenario so dominated U.S. officials' thoughts that the Clinton administration sent military reinforcements to its base in South Korea. In reaction, the North Koreans began discharging their spent fuel rods from their nuclear reactor, indicating that they would be used to help make nuclear weapons. When Carter, Creekmore, and a small group of aides arrived in North Korea, Carter writes that North Korea's leader, Kim Il Sung appeared to be looking for a way to avoid a confrontation. Using his best diplomatic skills, Carter developed a good relationship with Kim Il Sung and the negotiation process began.

Eventually, the Korean leader told Carter that he wanted not only economic assistance that included light-water power reactors for electricity generation, but also to commence a dialogue with the United States about how to improve political relations. In addition, he asked the United States to pledge that it would not attack North Korea with nuclear weapons. Eventually, the Clinton administration agreed and began bilateral negotiations that resulted in the 1994 Agreed Framework. In his book, the author writes that he believes that Carter's efforts actually did prevent a catastrophic war with North Korea.

"Most interesting is Creekmore's account of Carter's discussions with Kim Il Sung," wrote Mark E. Caprio on the Korean Studies Review Web site. Caprio went on to point out: "Creekmore recreated these meetings through consultations with participants, and by accessing Carter's private papers including his diaries." In the book, the author also discusses the mission's controversies, which included various political attacks on Carter for criticizing sanctions and, in the opinion of many, making the United States less powerful in the negotiations. The former president was also called an appeaser and naïve. In light of the second Korean nuclear crisis faced during the administration of George W. Bush, the author also points to the mission's successes, as well as other similar missions' successes, and discusses approaches for handling rogue regimes such as North Korea.

Referring to A Moment of Crisis as "very readable and authoritatively documented," Arms Control Today contributor C. Kenneth Quinones, went on to write that the book "is as much about the present and future as it is about the past. Creekmore demonstrates that the United States, to succeed in negotiations with Pyongyang, must avoid humiliating North Korea's leadership and engage North Korea as an equal worthy of diplomatic dialogue and negotiation. He also reminds us that the proliferation of nuclear weapons is an issue of global concern." In another review of the book, written for the International Journal on World Peace, Quinones noted Creekmore's unique perspective on the meeting and the author's candid style of writing. "Only Ambassador Creekmore could tell this story with such comprehensiveness and drama," wrote Quinones, who also wrote in the same review: "A Moment of Crisis is destined to become a classic work about conflict resolution regarding the proliferation of nuclear weapons, not just regarding North Korea, but for all similar crises."



America's Intelligence Wire, September 13, 2006, "Interview with Former President Jimmy Carter and Marion Creekmore—Part 1"; September 13, 2006, "Interview with Former President Jimmy Carter and Marion Creekmore—Part 2"; September 16, 2006, "Encore Presentation: Interview with Former President Jimmy Carter and Marion Creekmore—Part 1"; September 16, 2006, "Encore Presentation: Interview with Former President Jimmy Carter and Marion Creekmore—Part 2."

Arms Control Today, December, 2006, C. Kenneth Quinones, review of A Moment of Crisis: Jimmy Carter, the Power of a Peacemaker, and North Korea's Nuclear Ambitions, p. 45.

Book World, October 15, 2006, Warren Bass, review of A Moment of Crisis, p. 10.

Campaigns & Elections, September, 2006, review of A Moment of Crisis, p. 58.

International Journal on World Peace, March, 2007, C. Kenneth Quinones, review of A Moment of Crisis, p. 103.

Washington Post, September 13, 1989, Maralee Schwartz, "Two Envoy Nominations," p. 23.


American Presidency Project, (September 8, 1989), "Nomination of Marion V. Creekmore, Jr., to Be United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives.", (September 13, 2006), "CNN Larry King Live: Interview with Former President Jimmy Carter and Marion Creekmore."

Emory University Department of Political Science Web site, (November 29, 2007), faculty profile of author.

Emory University Office of International Affairs Web site, (November 29, 2007), "International Award,s" information on the Marion V. Creekmore Award for Internationalization.

Korean Studies Review, (November 29, 2007), Mark E. Caprio, review of A Moment of Crisis.

Korea Society, (October 25, 2006), "A Moment of Crisis: Jimmy Carter's Mission to Pyongyang."

Lambuth University Web site, (November 29, 2007), "Lambuth University Commencement Ceremonies Scheduled for May 6, 2007," includes brief profile of author.

Perseus Book Group, (November 29, 2007), brief profile of author).

Pure, (November 29, 2007), Paige Rohe, "The Axis of Evil Minus One: Iran and North Korea after the Invasion of Iraq."

Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, (November 29, 2007), "Book Launch—A Moment of Crisis: Jimmy Carter, The Power of a Peacemaker, and North Korea's Nuclear Ambitions."