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speech, Mikhail Gorbachev’s internal

reforms and Pope John Paul II’s 1979 visit

to Poland.

I had the privilege to be part of the

most senior U.S. decision-making team

in West Berlin on that memorable day

in 1989, and would like to single out two

members of that team for special praise:

Harry Joseph Gilmore and James “Jim”

Alan Williams, the two leaders of the

U.S. mission in West Berlin when the

wall came down. Gilmore was “U.S.

minister” in West Berlin and Wil-

liams was his deputy, designated

“political adviser.”

Both men maintained outstand-

ing professional relationships with

the U.S. commandant, the top

leadership of the U.S. Army Berlin

Brigade, the Central Intelligence

Agency and the Defense Intelligence


Gilmore and Williams were team play-

ers, mentors, problem solvers and lead-


ey were also great friends of the

West Berliners and shared their dream

that better days were coming for all who

believed in freedom. In the nest tradi-

tion of U.S. diplomacy, they served their

country with distinction and performed

in a remarkable fashion.

Now, as I look back 25 years later, I

am still impressed at the teamwork we

shared in West Berlin. My experience

over the course of a long career is that

embassy teams that face daily adver-

sity tend to work together almost like a


anks to Gilmore and Williams,

the teamwork we shared in West Berlin

stands out as a great, even exceptional,

example of leadership in the Foreign


Speaking for the West Berlin leader-

ship team, I o er sincere thanks to these

two State Department professionals.

[Editor’s note: You can read the complete

oral histories of these two men in the

Oral History Collection at]

William F. Rooney

Senior Service O cer, CIA Directorate

of Operations, retired

Bethesda, Maryland

Up or Out

As a former director of Foreign Service

training assignments, I was grati ed to


Robert A. Mosher’s comment in the November letters section

regarding my September

Speaking Out, “‘Up or Out’ Is Harming Ameri- can Foreign Policy.” He

agrees that longer career

paths for FSOs should

be allowed, especially if

those paths could incor-

porate more extensive

mid-career training

similar to that of the military.

e training budget could be

increased, though I suspect that the mini-

mal respect promotion panels used to

pay such departures from active assign-

ment probably has not changed much

over the years, and FSOs may still gamble

when they accept longer training breaks

in their career trajectories.

But, more training or not, experienced

FSOs should, indeed, be granted longer

career paths, with minimal worries about

“up or out.”

In complete contrast, I was saddened

by Matt Weiller’s letter, “Move Up or Out, Please,” in the same issue. He asks for

even more “up or out” in the Service, to

weed out FSO “poor performers” who

lack proper “conduct, suitability and

discipline.” He adds that the enabling

supervisors of the poor performers

should su er career consequences.

Mr. Weiller also claims that there are

far too many “dysfunctional and hostile

workplaces” in State and overseas, which

endanger our security and diplomacy.

at kind of attitude from an active-

duty Senior Foreign Service o cer is

precisely what moved me to write “A Plea for Greater Teamwork in the Foreign Service,” in the December 2013 FSJ .

Mr. Weiller says my comments are

“severely dated” and appear to be the

“bitter musings of a handful of retired

policy o cers.” I can assure him I am not


It would be wonderful to hear from

more active-duty o cers today whether

my criticism of “up or out” and my call

for more Foreign Service teamwork are


Concerned FSOs, AFSA is



nization. Please take the time to express

your opinions. You owe that to yourselves

and your colleagues.

George B. Lambrakis

FSO, retired

London, England

A Little Respect

I support wholeheartedly Larry

Cohen’s Retiree VP Voice column (“When It Comes to Facility Access for Retirees, Mother State Shows No Love”) in the



. I am such a retiree,

having put in more than 35 years of com-

bined service with both the military and

State Depart-


My last over-

seas posting was

as consul gen-

eral in Munich,

followed by

a stint as an

o ce director

in the Bureau

of European and Canadian

A airs. I also served as a senior area

adviser (for Europe) to the 42nd and 43rd