A Fulbright Interlude in Nigeria

July 1998

A PERSONAL MEMOIR – A Fulbright Interlude in Nigeria by Henry E. Mattox    Nigeria Today a context-setting introduction supplied by former west african affairs director roy melbourne:* A generation of thirty years has passed since Dr. Mattox’s Fulbright sojourn, completely … Continued

Religion and Romance in Wartime Vietnam

July 1998

WITNESS TO HISTORY The following account of the author’s adventures during the harrowing days of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam in 1968 could as well be placed under a heading of “Remembering Vietnam” or “Life in the Foreign Service.” But … Continued

Columbus Discovers America

July 1998

I may be the only living person who actually told Christopher Columbus to go discover America. When I make that assertion, I usually get some funny looks; but it’s true. Here’s how it happened. I was stationed at the Embassy … Continued

On Board the Carrier

July 1998

In this brief segment, former Foreign Service spouse Kathryn Schmiel illustrates in her understated but descriptive prose style how American personnel stationed abroad in remote parts of the world — especially the children — often find their diversions in unusual … Continued

Safirka: Envoy to Somalia

April 1998

U.S. envoy Peter Bridges affords us here an unusual personal look into the experience of a professional diplomat taking up the post, for the first time, of the American ambassador. He went to a nation, in this instance, noted for … Continued

A Glimpse of India, 1951-1956

April 1998

assigned to establish the Point IV Technical Cooperation Mission. The problems surrounding the events of independence and the trauma of Partition were still very much in evidence in the capital city of New Delhi and the surrounding area. We were … Continued

“Ms. Hearst, I presume?”

April 1998

by Gene Schmiel The call from the police station was a welcome diversion for this newly-minted vice consul from the dreary boredom of visa stamping at the American Embassy. An American woman, about twenty-five years old, named “Amelia Barnes” (not … Continued

Cultural Characteristics and Foreign Affairs

January 1998

Cultural Characteristics and Foreign Affairs Personal Musings by Roy M. Melbourne I have been struck repeatedly over the years how cultural idiocyncracies can affect foreign relations in significant ways. The reflections below represent an effort to explore how some of … Continued

Sans Titre

January 1998

  Jack Nixon’s long career as a USAID officer included several years in Haiti during the 1970’s. Retired, he now lives in France with his wife, daughter, son-in-law, and several pets. His most recent previous article, a tongue–in–cheek piece entitled … Continued

Present at the Footnote

January 1998

   “Witness to History”    PRESENT AT THE FOOTNOTE The very nature of their calling — long stretches of service abroad — makes it likely that members of the U.S. Foreign Service sooner or later witness history being made, and over … Continued

Brassed Off

January 1998

Theory on usefulness of war gets shot down Brassed Off by Francis T. Underhill  On the day I was sworn in as ambassador to Malaysia, I also signed a letter that read: “Dear Mr. President, I hereby submit my resignation … Continued

Depends on How You Interpret It

October 1997

Retired Foreign Service officer Ed Williams, a member of this journal’s Editorial Advisory Board, resides between escort interpreting trips at Fearrington Village, NC. Depends on How You Interpret It By J. Edgar Williams For the past several years, since I … Continued

The Purple Captain’s Final Voyage

October 1997

The Purple Captain’s Final Voyage by Gene Schmiel Harbor at Mombasa, Kenya Dealing with deceased Americans overseas was the one part of consular work which I, always more comfortable writing political analyses or trying to obtain information from a source … Continued

To Be or Not to Be — Retired?

October 1997

By Charles S. Gordon During my early USAID assignments in Asia and Africa, I was frequently exposed to European diplomatic colleagues, who, it struck me, spent an unseemly amount of time thinking about, discussing, and planning for their future retirement. … Continued

Saigon Medical Care, 1959-1961: Present at the Creation

October 1997

Dr. McIntyre, retired from the Foreign Service after more than twenty-three years abroad, lives with his wife Jessie in Chapel Hill, NC. During the Second World War, he was awarded a Bronze Star for his service as an infantry battalion … Continued

My Time Isn’t Always Your Time

April 1997

By Francis Underhill “Indonesians live in ‘rubber time.’“ I first became aware that time has a cultural dimension when I was assigned to our consulate in the city of Medan on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, my first non-European post … Continued

1972 Dubious Achievement Awards for Embassy Port-au-Prince

April 1997

At long last, American Diplomacy finds itself in the happy position of being able to announce the following 1972 DUBIOUS ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS for personnel of the American Embassy, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. as screened, judged, and selected by Jack L. Nixon This … Continued

Advice to a Fledgling Diplomat

March 1997

I was the only third secretary, the diplomatic equivalent of a second lieutenant, when I arrived at our embassy in Lisbon in January of 1948 on my first Foreign Service assignment. As part of my indoctrination, the ambassador decided that … Continued