Laura Jordan Dietrich

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Laura Jordan Dietrich, also known as Laura Dietrich, rose to become the highest ranking woman in the U.S. State Department during the Reagan Administration, when President Reagan appointed her as his UN Human Rights Commissioner.

She was also a partner and constant supporter of her husband, Paul Dietrich who was one of the tobacco industry's most notorious lobbyists. He was also, for a short time, the editor-in-chief of the expiring Saturday Review magazine (owned briefly by the tobacco industry)[citation needed], which gave him some public recognition which he traded upon for many years after. In Washington and international diplomatic circles this title provided him with some fictitious status in his own right, rather than just being "the husband of...".

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The Dietrichs and David A. Morse (ex-ILO, and another tobacco lobbyist) also operated a tobacco-funded pseudo-think-tank with the unlikely name of the Institute for International Health & Development -- funded to the tune of about $250,000 each year by Philip Morris. The pseudo-organisation had offices both in the Catholic University in Washington DC and in Geneva.

They managed to get their think-tank officially accredited as a NGO (non-Government Organisation) to the World Health Organization and its Pan-American offshoot, PAHO. This effectively gave the tobacco industry a seat at the table when anti-smoking measures and budget-allocations were being discussed. And it supplemented the industry's other links with the top level of WHO administration, through Warren W. Furth, the Associate Secretary-General of the organisation, who was secretly employed through Morse's law firm.[1] Francis Blanchard who had been David Morse's deputy (taking over the ILO after Morse left) also became a tobacco lobbyist on his retirement from Geneva, working through Morse's Washington lawfirm, Surrey & Morse.[2]

The IIHD also had close affiliations with Vatican-based Catholic hospital missions in Africa. Paul Dietrich and David Morse also ran the Knights of Malta organisation in the USA for a while, which gave them (and all those knighted) a Vatican passport which was recognised at national borders around the world. It was effectively a form of diplomatic status and immunity.

The Dietriches and David Morse managed to integrate Catholic conservativism, Vatican evangelism and tobacco lobbying -- and make a lot of money for themselves in the process. See Paul Dietrich, David A. Morse and the Institute for International Health & Development

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