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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

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JANUARY FEBRUARY 2015

11

United Nations General Assemblies.

On leaving government service, I

accepted the presidency of a private

foreign policy organization in New York

City, a job that entailed close liaison with

the State Department and other agencies

in Washington. What I quickly discovered

was that neither my years of service nor

my retiree ID card were of any practical

use when it came to gaining access to the

department.

Although I was not one of the annui-

tants cited by Cohen, my experience

corresponds exactly: it was one of humili-

ation and a total lack of endorsement.

Ultimately, to avoid further embarrass-

ment, I stopped trying.

is has been

my position for more than 20 years, and,

unless the policies and procedures now

in place change, I feel disinclined to

return.

Sadly, this indi erent attitude toward

retirees is not limited to Washington;

my recent experience with the consul-

ate general in Amsterdam is yet another

example. In June, I emailed both the

consul general and the head of the

American Citizens Service Unit asking

for an appointment to have a document

notarized before an onward trip through

Europe. No response.

At the State Department’s Benelux

desk, no one returned my calls or other-

wise acknowledged three detailed voice

messages. Next, I contacted the AFSA

retiree counselor, who later reported that

his own follow-up calls to the desk were

similarly ignored.

Finally, my son, who lives in the Neth-

erlands, managed to get us an appoint-

ment, but we had to change our travel

plans to keep it.

My experience at the consulate was

eye-opening in a way that went beyond

my status as a retiree. Identifying myself

as a retired FSO, I was told to join a