R. Spencer Oliver

Last updated on 19 July 2017

R. Spencer Oliver (born 1938) was the first Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA). A lawyer by training, Oliver previously served 22 years as a staff member in the U.S. Congress, including as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Helsinki Commission from 1976-1985 and as Chief Counsel of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives until January 1993.[2] He also served in several senior diplomatic positions on U.S. delegations to CSCE Review and Expert Meetings between 1977 and 1993. Long active in Democratic Party politics, Oliver's phone was tapped in the Watergate scandal.

Spencer Oliver 2014.jpg
Spencer Oliver 2014.jpg


During the Watergate burglaries two phones inside the offices of the Democratic National Committee headquarters had wiretaps placed inside them. One of those phones was the phone of Spencer Oliver who at the time was working as the executive director of the Association of State Democratic Chairmen the other was the phone of the secretary of Democratic National Chairman Larry O'Brien.

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

R. Spencer Oliver had been the secretary general of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe since its inception, having been chosen as the Assembly's first general secretary by the Bureau in a meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in October 1992. His term has been extended several times. The Secretary General's mandate includes responsibility for managing the affairs of the Assembly, ensuring the efficiency of the Secretariat, and carrying out the decisions of the Bureau, the Standing Committee and the Assembly. He reports to the President, the Bureau, the Standing Committee and the Annual Session.[3] Oliver has faced criticism for the length of his tenure [4][5]


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