Page 13 - Foreign Service Journal - April 2012

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A P R I L 2 0 1 2 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L
partners of its employees and to their
children. This breakthrough was fol-
lowed by similar steps at other agen-
cies that send employees overseas.
Thanks in large part to the work of
GLIFAA over the past two decades,
the ability of lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender personnel, whether in
the Foreign Service or Civil Service,
to serve openly and successfully in
U.S. foreign affairs agencies is now
greater than ever.
— Steven Alan Honley.
50 Years Ago...
There was once a Foreign Service wife who knew the name of
every chief of state in Africa. She could (and frequently would)
discourse upon such matters as revanchist tendencies in the Balkans or nation-
alist cross-currents in South Asia. She had highly vocal views about domestic
politics, “The Ugly American,” de Gaulle, the Wriston Program, the inadequacy
of Foreign Service pay and the promotion list.
One day her husband was advised that he was being considered for assign-
ment to a certain post abroad. When he reached home that night his wife said,
as she always did, “What’s new down at the department, dear?”
When he mentioned the impending transfer, she immediately recalled an ar-
ticle in Foreign Affairs on the country. Prognosis of unrest. She remembered
that a friend, whose husband was in INR, had known a man who had once served
there. Dreadful housing. Furthermore, the wife of the DCM was notoriously lax
on protocol.
The wife strongly advised against going to the new post, although she wanted
to have a final check with the girls at the Foreign Service Wives luncheon. They
confirmed her worst fears, and so the offer was turned down.
The Office of Personnel reacted to this refusal in its normal fashion: It flew into
a state of dudgeon. The couple was forthwith ordered to the central Dashi-i-
Lut, a post from which all other places look divine.
The job was then offered to another Foreign Service officer, who rushed home
to tell his wife. She couldn’t tell the difference between G/PM and GPU, but she
was very pretty and wore wonderful hats.
When he came hurrying up the walk, bursting with his news, she met him at
the door and gave him a rapid report of her day’s domestic disasters, an account
of the children’s experiences at school, an inquiry into the state of the family fi-
nances, and a clinical description of the maid’s condition, ending with a frantic
plea to look through all those magazines piling up in the front room.
When finally he managed to blurt out his news, she said, “That’s fine, dear.
Where is it? Now tell me what you had for lunch; I must go and fix dinner.”
They proceeded without further comment to their new post, and he rose rap-
idly to the heights in his career.
MORAL: She who looks before he leaps is lost.
— Fables for the Foreign Service: “The Wife,” FSJ, April 1962.