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training, education and mentoring? Te
U.S. Marines do it. IBM did it.
Once we pull our heads out of the
sand of the past, when the Foreign Ser-
vice was overwhelmingly pale, male and
Yale, we can do it, as well. Indeed, as the
premier foreign afairs arms of our gov-
ernment, the State Department and the
Foreign Service
do so to serve the
long-term interests of the United States
and its people.
And yes, we can do it while still rep-
resenting the diversity that is America.
Charles A. Ray
Ambassador, retired
North Potomac, Md.
State (not USIA) Visitors
In Allen Hansen’s May review of
Nicholas Cull’s book,
Te Decline and
Fall of the United States Information
, both the reviewer and the
book’s author err in describing the
International Visitor Program as a U.S.
Information Agency program.
It was actually a State Department
program. I ought to know, because in
the 1970s I was director of the Ofce of
International Visitors in State’s Bureau
of Educational and Cultural Afairs.
Yale Richmond
FSO, retired
Washington, D.C.
Captive in the Congo
I agree with the main point of Guy
W. Farmer’s February letter, “A Bad
Decision,” that it was Ambassador Chris
Stevens’ own choice to visit Benghazi
last September—a choice that had fatal
I say that as someone who was
serving in Stanleyville, in what is now
the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(formerly Zaire), as rebels approached
the city in 1964. I had advised the
embassy that the only way to protect
ourselves and other Americans would
be to evacuate. Instead, our ambassador
ordered a small number of us to remain.
Rebel forces took over the city and
attacked the consulate on Aug. 5, 1964.
Although the “simba” attackers could
not break down the vault door, they
held us captive there for 111 days, dur-
ing which period we underwent many
beatings and threats to our lives. By the
time of our Nov. 24, 1964, rescue by a
joint U.S.-Belgium parachute mission,
we were among a hundred hostages.
Although 20 hostages died in a hail
of bullets during the rescue, in a real
sense it was “safety in numbers” that
saved us. (You’ll fnd more details about
this episode in my book,
Captive in the
Congo: A Consul’s Return to the Heart of
, Naval Institute Press, 2000.)
Based on that experience, I believe
Amb. Stevens would have been better
protected in a downtown hotel than an
isolated, suburban “consulate.”
Michael P.E. Hoyt
FSO, retired
Santa Fe, N.M.
Double-Talk on Benghazi
Last September I listened closely to
President Barack Obama’s Rose Garden
remarks the day after the Sept. 11, 2012,
attack on our facility in Benghazi. I also
reread the transcript several times after-
ward, just as I did as an FSO in Zagreb,
Moscow, Warsaw and Brussels, and on
the Soviet desk in Washington, when-
ever I analyzed statements by foreign-
government ofcials.
On that occasion Pres. Obama
referred 10 times to Benghazi and its
perpetrators, giving him 10 chances to
label the incident “terrorism,” and the
attackers “terrorists”—but he never
once did so. True, he called the event