Christian Magelssen Ravndal (January 6, 1899 Beirut–October 18, 1984 Vienna, Austria) was an American Career Foreign Service Officer FSO who was Director General of the Foreign Service from May 1, 1947 until June 23, 1949, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Uruguay (1949-1951), Hungary (1951-1956), Ecuador (1956-1960), and Czechoslovakia (1960-1961), among many other postings during a prolific career spanning 40+ years.
Ravndal was born in Beirut,Syria (modern day Lebanon) in 1899 while his father, Gabriel (G. Bie), was stationed in Beirut as American consul. He attended Robert College, and graduated from Luther College College in Iowa, where he was inducted into the schools sport's hall of fame Tennis, joining his father who had also played Tennis at Luther. Christian served in the Army during World War I before joining the Foreign Service as a code clerk at the U.S. mission in Vienna in 1921. After WWII, he became the second director general of the Foreign Service after being appointed to the position less than two months after Truman unveiled his now infamous foreign policy doctrine to Congress in March 1947. He died at his summer home in Vienna after suffering a series of strokes.
Ravndal joined the Foreign Service as a code clerk in 1921 and achieved the rank of career minister in 1947. As Director General, “his task (was) to reorganize what had been an elite corps into a body that was representative of a cross section of America's population.”