Page 33 - Foreign Service Journal - September 2013

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Another reason the
present arrangement does
not work well is because
the commercial counselor
marches to a different drum-
mer. I saw the system fail
time and again while serving
in Chile and Venezuela. Cor-
rection of these two issues
will strengthen the Foreign
How would you say diplomacy has changed over the
past 50 years or so?
It has changed a great deal, starting with the role
of spouses. As chief of mission, I depended heavily on my
wife, Mary. A wonderful hostess, she ran the residence very
efficiently. Until 1972, the spouse’s performance was part of
an FSO’s annual efficiency report. It was like getting two for
the price of one. Now that’s
completely gone, of course.
Another major change
is communications. I still
remember that whenever
we had an emergency in
Montevideo, we held a
meeting to decide whether
we should call Washington
on an open line. And we
no longer write official-informal letters to the office director,
let alone to the Secretary of State; we just pick up the secure
telephone or send an e-mail. Communication is instant now,
which is truly efficient.
Are you optimistic about the future of the diplomatic
profession? Do you recommend the career to those starting out
today in foreign affairs?
That’s a good question. In all honesty, no, I don’t.
“While I was in Chile, everything
I said and did was scrutinized
by their government and their
opposition; and in the United
States, by the Republicans and
by the Democrats.”