|Issue 35||November 1998||Volume 3 - Number 12|
Welcome to the CANDOER News. Suggestions as to what you would like to see in the CANDOER are welcome. Letters to the editor, articles consisting of general information, feature articles, G-rated jokes, or poems, written/submitted by retirees or OC/IM employees, past or present, will be published, unedited. Material may be submitted on a 3.5" floppy disk (disk will be returned) using WordPerfect Version 6.1 or earlier (if it contains graphics), on a plain sheet of paper (if it has no graphics) or via e-mail. The deadline for submitting material is no later than the 25th of each month. Material received after that date will be published in the next issue of the CANDOER, space allowing. Please, restrict articles/submissions to two single spaced, typed pages. No hand written submissions, please.
The snail-mail address for submissions or letters to the editor is:
Robert J. Catlin, Sr.
Publisher/Editor CANDOER News
2670 Dakota Street
Bryans Road, MD 20616-3062
Two young kids running around a house and a very mature dog can at times be exciting. Samson was senior to the two-legged ones, by nearly five years.
In our first year in South Africa, it became apparent that Samson was having trouble seeing well in anything but bright sunlight. The vet told us he was going blind. Needless to say, this hardly presents anything like the problem that is experienced with people loosing their sight, but it was a problem we considered serious and about which we pondered what to do. The children tended to leave small objects, like toys and bigger ones like chairs, where they weren't supposed to be. A normal annoyance for parents, but such objects were a serious hazard to Samson. He knew the house and could easily run down the long hallway to the front door, and usually out the door, to bark at whomever needed to be frightened out of their wits. But if an object that didn't belong in the hallway or on the front patio was there, he sometimes ran right into it. Imagine running into a solid wall or window. The little guy did it once or twice a week. We felt terrible about it, but the vet offered very little comfort. Our option was either to do nothing or have the vet perform an operation that would open a peep-hole in Samson's eyes, providing him very limited vision, which the vet described as having no peripheral vision at all. He suggested we should leave it be. All we needed to do was be sure we didn't leave objects where he might run into them.
The vet didn't know that we were going to be leaving South Africa in two years, so Samson couldn't possibly know the layout of the next house we would occupy. We didn't know what to do, so we put off the decision for the time being. I guess we hoped some other option would arise. He was such a beautiful little dog and in excellent health otherwise. We fed him properly. He got lots of exercise and hadn't gained an ounce since he was fully mature. We loved to nuzzle the pompon on his head (his overall cut was a "lamb cut", not the customary poodle clip) and admired his silver coat which, in his tenth year, was turning gray.
What to do? He was happy; we loved him; he went with us on trips all over, so we ignored his failing eyesight, which we expected to be completely gone in about six months.
Three or four months later my wife noticed, one evening when he lay next to her for some petting, that he had a tick on his nose, near one eye. It wasn't the first tick we'd found on him so, unlike the first time when we went berserk, we eased it off and forgot about it.
The following morning, long after I had gone to work, my wife noticed that he was acting strangely. She said he seemed to stagger, as he followed her around the house. She followed him out toward the street, where he often left his calling card, and watched as he struggled to lift his leg and noted that his urine was bright red. Alarmed, she called me and said that she had to go to the girls' school to take a car full of kids to a museum and asked that I come home and take him to the vet. I did. He struck me as being a bit sluggish but the vet felt his tummy and said he suspected some sort of bladder infection. He wanted to run a test and keep him over night. The vet would phone us in the morning with a report on the problem and what he'd done, etc. I returned to work.
My wife said as she was ready to head for the school that morning, she had difficulty getting him away from where he often lay - half in and out the front door, from which location he could keep track of events both inside the house and outside. This time, she said, he wouldn't move so she had to actually pull him in across the tile floor.
The following morning, again after I'd gone to work, she felt an urgent need to phone the vets office. She was told that Samson had died during the night. We were at first shocked and then felt awful because we weren't able to comfort him before he died.
She called me again with this news and, again, I drove home by way of the vet's office. Though it was contrary to the law, the vet let me take him, with the promise to bury him right away in our back yard. This was done in spite of tears that just wouldn't stop. Samson had been struck by a car in Dublin and also crashed through our glass front door there; he had been savaged by a big German police dog in Tel Aviv, and had gone into a dog's old age as a beautiful, still active, wonderful pet. He was struck down by a tick that had caused Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
In the weeks that followed, one or the other of us would suddenly burst out in tears for missing our little dog. I vowed that I didn't ever want another dog, it was too hard losing a dog.
We rejected advice to replace him with a new dog. Not only did we feel he would be too tough an act to follow, that it would be unfair to another dog.
This may seem silly to many people who believe that grieving for an animal is improper; that such feelings should be reserved for people. I certainly won't argue with grieving for loved ones or acquaintances but that dog loved us and showed it in many ways. He had more "personality" than a lot of people. He had his place in our family and left a void we all felt for a long time.
The Following letter was received from Donna Bordley, Program Officer, Bureau of Finance and Management Policy.
CANDOER Luncheon Group
This letter is to acknowledge receipt of your $400.00 contribution to the FSN Emergency Relieve Fund in the names of Frank Pressley and Clyde Hirn. As you are well aware, this emergency fund relies upon the Foreign Affairs family to be able to respond to crises afflicting our FSN employees overseas, given the recent bombings of our Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. You contribution will aid in replenishing the fund and continue it as a permanent source of FSN assistance.
It is especially gratifying to see the Foreign Affairs family respond so generously to give our FSNs the assistance they so richly deserve.
/s/ Donna S. Bordley
The following letter was received from Rey Grammo.
On behalf of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and myself, I wish to thank you for your donation to St. Jude Hospital. As a result of my many generous friends and family, a total of $5,127 in donations were received by the hospital. This figure was well over the goal of $3,000 which I had set for myself.
The drawing of the three cross-stitched sweat shirts took place on July 4th. The winners were Mr. & Mrs. Vincent Amyot from Vermont, Mr. & Mrs. Edmund Gilli from New Hampshire, and Mr. & Mrs. Jim Morgan stationed in Singapore.
My bike trip was a total success. I biked from Minneapolis to New Orleans for a total of 1,619 miles. The trip began on Sunday, July 26, and ended on Sunday. August 16. We had full day rest stops in Davenport, Iowa; St. Louis, Mo.; and Memphis, Tennessee, before finally reaching New Orleans on the 16th of August. The remainder of the time was spent riding, with most overnight accommodations in motels, with an occasional overnight sleeping on the floor in a school or YMCA. We biked an overage of 80 miles per day. Four days were over 100 miles with the longest being 109 miles. Our shortest day was 65 miles.
Our route followed the Mississippi River as closely as possible. We started in Minnesota, through Wisconsin, where we crossed the Mississippi River, and went into Iowa, then down through Missouri, where we crossed the river again into Illinois. We continued through Illinois into Kentucky and on into Tennessee and then on into Mississippi, continuing through the state into Louisiana. We crossed the river one final time in Baton Rouge and then on into New Orleans.
I did too much and saw too many thing to cover in just one letter. The following are just some of the highlights of my trip. I visited a beautiful grotto in Dickeyville, Wisconsin, which was made from stone mortar and bright colored objects-collected materials from all over the world. Stopped by the village of Nauvoo, which was supposedly the second village the Mormons were forced to leave prior to heading to Utah. Interesting village where I would have liked to have spent more time. Stopped at historic downtown Hannibal, Mark Twain's boyhood home and museum. In St. Louis, rode to the top of the famous "Arch": to see the fabulous view from the top. Memphis was probably the real highlight of my tour. I was given a private tour of the St Jude Children's Hospital. If I didn't know before, I now know that all donations received will be put to good use. What a wonderful facility. I spent over two hours touring the hospital and museum. I found the Civil Rights Museum to be most interesting and would have loved to spend more time there. Saw the famous ducks at the Peabody Hotel. There is much to do in Memphis but one day is simply not enough time. The final highlight, before reaching New Orleans, was the Natchez Trace, now a parkway which traverses the route taken by those early pioneers who would float their wares down the Mississippi, to Natchez or New Orleans, sell their flatboats and then walk back using the Natchez Trace. It was a wonderful bike ride. Finally made it into New Orleans where we rested and prepared to depart for home the following day.
I saw so much more than I can put in one letter. However, I wanted to give you some idea of what my trip was like, while at the same time thanking each and everyone of you for making my trip such a wonderful success both personally as well as for St Jude.
/s/ Rey Grammo
The following e-mail was received from Phil Blanchard:
A couple items of note:
Bob Caffrey resigned from Jaycor effective Sept 25th. He decided to start his own business. You may want to delete his Jaycor e-mail address from your records. He is staying in town.
Secondly, Jim Steeves article on the Balloon Fiesta is very accurate. However, last year they opened up a new much larger balloon park. They have had over 850 balloons registered for this year's gathering. This is the largest number they have ever had. It is definitely a site to see all of these balloons in the air at one time.
Just to let you know, the Albuquerque Gang enjoys getting the CANDOER. Thanks from all of us for your hard work.
The following letter was received from Frank Trainer.
After reading Bob Sandberg's experience with prostate cancer (CANDOER News-October 1989 - Issue 34 - Volume 3 - Number 11), I was prompted to write about my experience to you.
In 1993, my family doctor recommended that I be examined by a Urologist. After a series of examinations, tests, and biopsies, during a period of 18 months, I was told by my Urologist that I had prostate cancer, which was graded and staged B-2 and Gleason-7. I was given five options: cryotherapy, external beam radiation therapy, radical prostatectomy, radioactive seed implants, and "watchful waiting." I chose radical prostatectomy, despite the known side effects.
I cancelled by travel arrangements to Spain, and I telephoned my wife, Maria, to interrupt her visit and return to Florida to help me prepare for the surgery scheduled for August 26, 1994.
I was hospitalized for six days and experienced no surgery complications, thank you. Since the surgery, my Prostatic Specific Antigen (PSA) reading every six months has been 0.01%. If the reading does not rise in the next 14 years, I can finally be considered being cured!! However, in the mean time, I developed one of several side effects, but I can honestly say that I chose the right option.
Those of you who are interested in learning about prostate problems, I recommend "The ABC's of Prostate Cancer," written by Joseph E. Oesterling, M.D. and Mark A. Mayad, M.P.H., published in 1997. This book also contains a list of suggested reading and resources, and it is available at book stores and libraries.
/s/ Frank Trainer
As you are all aware, the CANDOER Newsletter is pretty much a one person operation. My wife, Nancy, helps with the final process, in that she edits the final product, helps me collate, stuff, and address envelopes, and when I was working, she would take them to the Post Office. The rest of the process is my responsibility, including the record keeping. Occasionally I make a mistake in my record keeping by forgetting to credit a person for their donation. If I send you a request for funds, and you have already paid, please let me know via e-mail or snail-mail, and PLEASE, accept my apology before hand.
We received some great news about Clyde and Frank this month. Be sure to read the Up-Date article.
There were 16 people in attendance at the October CANDOER Luncheon. In attendance were the following:
Bob Campopiano, Bob Catlin, Charlie Ditmeyer, Paul Del Giudice, Tom Forbes, Al Giovetti, Charlie Hoffman, Mel Maples, Will Naeher, Joe Pado, Nate Reynolds, Robby Robinson, Bob Scheller, and Tom Warren.
Attending for the first time were the following people: Frank Pressley and Jim Parrish. A big CANDOER WELCOME to you both. We hope you both will be able to find time in your busy schedules to attend many more luncheons.
First, congratulations to Clyde, his name was on the latest promotion list (State 188345, 091906Z OCT 98). Clyde was promoted from FS-04 to FS-03.
The following e-mail messages was received from Frank Pressley and Clyde's sister, Ellie Hubble. It is great news about Clyde.
I received this e-mail from Clyde Hirn's sister yesterday. It was received just a few hours before I had the opportunity to talk to Clyde.
I spoke with Clyde for about 30 minutes. I agree that he sounded very much like the Clyde I had known in Nairobi. He told me that he was ready to play some softball. He also informed me that he remembered being in Nairobi but nothing about the Embassy bombing, the transfers to Germany and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. He only remembers waking up in the hospital close to his home.
Right now he gets therapy three times a week and does a lot of walking. I must say that I was extremely happy to hear that we have the "old" Clyde back. Pass on the good news.
Dear Frank and Yasemin,
I talked to Clyde over the weekend. He's really sounding like his old self again. He exercises and walks every day. Our oldest brother drives him for therapy twice a week at Lima, Ohio (about 30 miles away). Mike flew in to see him from California over the weekend. They had a good visit. Pat called me for the reimbursement address at the State Department. I gave it to her, but told her not to hold her breath, I'm still waiting for my money a month after I turned my paperwork in.
Congratulations to Frank. His name appeared on the latest promotion list (State 188345, 091906Z OCT 98). Frank was promoted from FS-02 to FS-01.
As you saw in the Luncheon Report, Frank made it to the October luncheon. Our thanks to Jim Parrish for making the trip up to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to pick up (and take home) Frank and bring him to the luncheon.
Frank said although he has a way to go yet, he is feeling stronger each day and is "enjoying every minute of life."
In an e-mail message received October 2, Will Naeher informed me that I had his e-mail address listed incorrectly. His correct e-mail address may be found in the Pen and Ink Section and on the last page of this and every issue.
On October 3, in an e-mail message received from Richard Grimes he furnished a new address and telephone number. This information may be found on the last page of this issue.
In an e-mail received on October 5, Dick Gunn asked for information about the CANDOERs. I furnished him my normal canned message. On October 7, Dick indicated his desire to join the group. His bio may be found in the Pen and Ink section and his e-mail address on the last page of this and every issue.
On October 6, I received a telephone call from Frank Meyers. He and Nancy have been without a telephone since Hurricane Georges went through their area. He said they had over 25 inches of rain from that storm and that is only one of five they have had in the area since they retired to Cantonment, Florida. He reported they are doing well, but getting a little disillusioned with the good life in their part of sunny Florida.
On October 14, I received an e-mail from Jim Steeves furnishing information on a new member, Ron Carpenter. Ron's bio data may be found in the Pen and Ink section and his e-mail address on the last page of this and every issue.
On October 19, I received a request for information from John Tyburski who is presently in the Job Search program at NFATC. After sending him my normal canned information package, on 20 October he sent me his bio information. This information may be found in the Pen and Ink section of this issue. His e-mail address may be found on the last page of this and every issue.
On October 20, I received an e-mail message from John Kennedy. John has changed his e-mail address, due to way too much "spam and junk mail." His new address may be found on the last page of this and every issue.
In the '60s, Jim Clemmons and I belonged to a group in Bonn that met and read plays. Often we would take parts and read through such endeavors. The only audience was ourselves and it was great fun, no matter how well or badly we performed. From that arose plans to produce and perform "Sunday in New York," the comedy hit which starred Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. From the start the female lead and the German director had bouts of disagreements and were emotional upset, so the play never really got off the ground. Except for several rehearsals. Jim didn't get to play the lead, a reporter, and I never got to be the brother, an airline pilot, even though I had already arranged to borrow a uniform from a friend who worked for PANAM.
As many of you know, and have either participated in, or seen, there is a lot of talent in action, often in concert with British Embassy personnel, Canadian Embassy personnel, and local foreign nationals.
Metro Salsavage had been a professional saxophonist and clarinet player with name bands and had been active with the British members of the American-British Club in London. He was very popular and active in that group and performed for their entertainment. Anne Soule was in Ankara and played in "A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to The Forum." In Kabul, the Embassy and USIA put on a sterling performance of "Brigadoon," the well known musical. There were costumes, a small orchestra, excellent staging, and lighting, with British and local Afghanis an essential part of the company. I was lucky enough to be visiting the post and attend this performance which played to a packed house.
When I was stationed in Beirut I became friends with the Administrative Officer for the CIA, Jim Bradfield. He and his wife had been professional performers in the Washington, D.C. Area and were multi-talented. Jim and Joan had put together a small musical show in Beirut which had met with raves. I didn't get to see the show due to being on TDY travel and certainly heard much about it. Jim started planning an even bigger production and began to assemble the various talents. Since I was grounded from travel, awaiting the arrival of my daughter, Nicole, I tried out and became part of the assembly. The theme of the musical was Courtship, Love, and Marriage and included songs from Broadway musicals. They were from Bye, Bye Birdy; I Do, I Do; and I Remember It Well (from GiGi). Included in the assembly were, Dick Pero, of TCU, on the drums, two members of the Canadian Embassy, a music professor from the University of Beirut, a tap dancer, several people who had experience in lighting and staging from the Embassy and several local Lebanese. It was a large group with high expectations and ready for a lot of work.
We started rehearsals at Jim's apartment, organized our costumes - for the men, dark sweaters, dress suits, and for the ladies, white blouses and dresses to match the various scenes. It was fun from the start and surprisingly, came together quickly, thanks to Jim and Joan, with their experience and know how.
The show was performed at the Women's College of Beirut, whose stage was just perfect for a musical and a large cast. There were three performances. I loaned Jim telephones for the Bye, Bye Birdy number (all safely returned to me). It was a huge hit and played to packed houses which included Embassy staff, FS and FSN, Beirut college staff and students, Beirut hospital doctors, nurses and staff, and at least two patients, who were mobile. Attending was an official of ARAMCO, who was based in Saudi Arabia. He was greatly impressed and enjoyed it so much that he invited Jim and the cast to Saudi Arabia to put on the show at three of their sites. He was willing to pay all expenses and house the cast. Most of the cast were able to go. Some substituting and doubling up had to be worked out by Jim. I got to take the place of the Lebanese tenor for the Maurice Chevalier song, "I Remember it Well." It was a break for me, since the female singer, a Lebanese FSN, was so good that I couldn't miss. In fact, when I made a mistake in the lyrics at one performance, she picked me up so well that no one was the wiser, I think. Jim deserved all the credit for organizing, directing, making changes, with the cast, and keeping us on our best behavior. We performed to large audiences.
After each show, we were invited to some of the ARAMCO houses. Refreshments were plentiful, including the local products of kitchen stills. The still products were pretty bad, but when mixed with juices or soda could be tolerated.
The following year, after Jim had left post, the music direct of Beirut University, and a few others, made plans to stage, "Man From La Mancha." The lead singer had performed it professionally back in the States. Joe Maziarz and I tried out for the show. Unfortunately the director became ill, Beirut became troubled and the show as abandoned.
Sadly, Jim Bradfield became very ill and passed away about three years ago and is to be forever revered, in our memories, as one very special man.
The experience with Jim and others will always standout in my FS days, cherished, and enriched to be associated with him and all the others who were part and parcel of those days.
How about others? Did you participate in song, dance, drama, and of course, comedy?
The first American Consul appointed to Vladivostok was William W. Morton, who was commissioned March 11, 1875. The office was discontinued on August 12, 1876, and no despatches from this period have survived in Department of State records.
Richard T. Greener, an educator, lawyer, and public speaker who had been the first black graduate of Harvard University, was appointed Consul at Vladivostok on May 25, 1898. Before he left the United States, his title was changed to "Commercial Agent" since the Russian government did not accept foreign consuls in Siberia. Greener arrived on September 18, 1898, was officially recognized on December 1, and served until November 20, 1905. His office occupied various houses on Posiet Street, near the Tiger Battery.
The Chinese government decorated Greener for famine relief efforts after the Boxer Rebellion. He also represented Japanese interests in Vladivostok during the Russo-Japanese war. His lack of official status hampered him in performing certain consular functions; the State Department would not permit him to issue passports.
Roger S. Greene assumed charge on November 20, 1905. The Russian government recognized him as a consul in 1906, and he was reappointed on June 22. A 1907 inspection report mentions that his office was at No. 7 Morskaya Street. He employed an American vice consul, a Portuguese interpreter, and a Chinese messenger. The American community numbered 40, most of whom were involved in imports. Vladivostok's principal American imports were flour and other food products. Before his transfer to Dalny on March 10, 1907, Greene had begun to bring order of chaos in the Consular archives.
Paul Nash served as Consul from July 8, 1907 until March 8, 1908. Lester Maynard then succeeded him, serving from October 15, 1908 until August 31, 1911.
Maynard's office was at 11 Aleutskaya Street, and housed a staff of four. During this period, American agricultural machinery became a major import; the International Harvester Company established agencies throughout Russia. American mining and sawmill machinery also became popular. The office experienced few changes under John F. Jewell, who succeeded Maynard and served until August 31, 1914.
John K. Caldwell had specialized in Japanese affairs before being assigned to Vladivostok. He served from September 1, 1914 until September 1920, and would be part of a U.S. observer mission to the Far Eastern Republic from 1921 to 1923.
During World War I, Vladivostok became Russia's principal port. By 1917 nearly $1 billion worth of military supplies had accumulated there. The Consulate represented German and Austrian interests, maintaining a staff of 18 persons to look after about 150,000 prisoners of war in Eastern Siberia. Its own staff number five, located since July 1915 at 10 Suifunskaya Street.
Vladivostok was the entry point for two U.S. missions to Russia during 1917. The Root Mission merely offered moral support. The U.S. Railway Advisory Commission examined the Russian Railway system.
Chairman John F. Stevens, of Panama Canal fame, remained in Vladivostok afterwards and tried to improve the Trans-Siberian railway's operations. The U.S. War Department organized a Russian Railway Service Corps to assist him. The Corps sailed from San Francisco ten days after the Bolshevik revolution; when it arrived at Vladivostok in December, it found neither food, lodging, nor an administration to report to. It remained in Japan until March 1918, when it proceeded to Manchuria. Only after the Allies had occupied Vladivostok could it begin work on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Between 1919 and 1922, Stevens served on an Inter-Allied Railway Committee.
John Caldwell had much to report on during the Russian civil war and the Allied intervention. The United States sent 9,000 army troops to Vladivostok to guard military supplies, assist the Czech-Slovak legion in its departure from Russia, and to protect the Trans-Siberian Railway. The U.S. contingent, which had done its best to stay out of local politics, departed by April 1, 1920. A Japanese contingent of 70,000 stayed until October 25, 1922.
Political instability and Japanese efforts to dominate Siberia's economy led Caldwell's successor, David M. MacGowan, to write that his tenure "has been characterized by the liquidation of American trade with Russia rather than by the successful initiation of any new enterprises." MacGowan left for Riga, Latvia on September 16, 1922.
In October, Vice Consul Rollin R. Winslow took part in negotiations leading to the orderly transfer of power from the Japanese to the Far Eastern Republic after the collapse of anti-Bolshevik forces in Eastern Siberia.
Officials of the Far Eastern Republic assured newly-arrived Consul S. Pinkney Tuck on November 1, 1922 that they looked forward to expanded American commerce. However, the Republic's popular assembly voted on November 14 to unite with the Soviet Union. The merger took place on November 19, and was the beginning of the end for the American Consulate.
On February 22, 1923, Soviet officials told Tuck that he had three months to obtain an exequatur. They were also confiscating the merchandise of American corporations. Without official status, protection of American interests was impossible. On March 27, Tuck recommended that the Consulate be closed. He received permission on April 20. On April 26, Soviet authorities told him that consular privileges and immunities could not be granted unless the United States recognized the Soviet Union.
Tuck closed the Consulate on May 10 and lowered the flag at 6 p.m. on May 16. The next day, the staffs of the U.S. and British consulates departed Vladivostok aboard a Japanese ship.
After the United States recognized the Soviet Union with the Roosevelt-Litvinov agreements of 1933, consular relations seemed possible once more. Soviet consulates general opened in New York and San Francisco in April 1934, but failure to reach an agreement on debts and claims prevented the establishment of U.S. consulates in the Soviet Union. When discussions were resumed in 1940, the United States stressed reciprocity and the difficulty of communicating across a Nazi-occupied Europe.
The breakthrough was due in part to a misunderstanding. U.S. Ambassador Laurence A. Steinhard reported that Soviet officials had agreed to a consulate in Vladivostok, and to more Embassy housing by November 15. He was told that the November 15 date only applied to the housing, but that the Soviet Union would agree to the establishment of a consulate general after November 20, once housing was available and technical matters were resolved.
Angus I. Ward, First Secretary of the Embassy, Moscow, received his new assignment on December 31, 1940. He arrived in Vladivostok on January 15, 1941 and opened a provisional office in the Hotel Chelyuskin on February 13. Ward was promoted to Consul General on October 31; his district was limited to the city itself. Soviet officials allowed Ward to lease a building at 17 Suifunskaya Street; he moved in on June 24, 1941. They later allowed him to lease the former German Consulate General at 20-22 Tigrovskaya Street, which he occupied on May 14, 1942. Each property rented for 50,000 rubles ($ 4,248.90) per year.
While Russia and Japan maintained diplomatic relations at this time, Germany's invasion of Poland in 1939 caused the Soviet authorities to severely restrict or ban entirely foreign diplomats and business activities in many parts of the Soviet Union with prime military significance, especially ports.
Vladivostok became a major port of entry for lend-lease supplies: 9.2 million out of 15.5 million tons would be transported thence from U.S. west coast ports. After Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II, only Soviet ships could use the Trans-Pacific route. These ships could only carry food, fuel, raw materials, locomotives, trucks, and engineering equipment. The Soviet Union acquired 96 merchant ships from the United States to transport these supplies. Issuing visas to the crews was a major task of the Consulate General.
The staff of the Consulate General lived under Russian imposed "house arrest conditions" in nearly complete isolation. Exchange or replacement of staff was not permitted. NKVD personnel followed them everywhere. Official contacts were few. Ordinary citizens who met with Consular personnel were apt to disappear. Special permission was needed to travel more than 19 kilometers from the city, and was rarely granted. Even access to the waterfront and to ships carrying lend-lease cargoes was limited. Soviet authorities allowed an Assistant Naval Attache to be assigned to Vladivostok on condition that he wear civilian clothes and be described as merely a consular clerk. The American staffs of the Consulate General and the Naval Attache's office rarely exceeded more than four persons each. Except for basic food-stuffs, nearly everything had to be imported aboard Soviet ships. Delays and shortfalls were common.
During 1943, the State Department and the Red Cross sought to deliver relief supplies to Allied prisoners of war and internees in Japan via Vladivostok. In September, the Soviet government agreed to store 1,500 tons per month, but deliveries were suspended early in 1944 until the Soviet Union and Japan could agree on a transfer point. A Japanese ship finally embarked 2,000 tons of relief supplies from Nakhodka on November 3, 1944.
Oliver Edmund Clubb succeeded Angus Ward as Consul General on September 18, 1944. During his tenure, lend-lease shipments increased under "Operation Milepost," an effort to stockpile supplies for Soviet forces in Siberia in the event that war with Japan cut communications with the United States. The coming of war was anti-climactic in Vladivostok. The only signs of war were more planes overhead, fewer sailors in the streets, the evacuation of hospitals, and the closing of the Japanese Consulate. The U.S. Navy obtained permission to establish a weather station in Khabarovsk in the summer of 1945, but it was closed and its personnel were withdrawn in December. Clubb reported on the likely extent of Soviet aid to the Red Chinese in Manchuria and northern China. After vainly seeking permission to visit the former U.S. Consulates in Manchuria, Clubb departed Vladivostok by sea for Mukden on January 13, 1946.
The end of the war and the termination of lend-lease led to a reassessment of the Consulate General. Clubb believed it was still useful as an observation post, for training specialists in Soviet affairs, and as a point of contact with the Soviet population. Vice Consuls David H. Henry and Henry T. Smith dissented, concluding that an official presence had little value when Soviet authorities even restricted the periodicals that the post could receive. Clubb was the last Consul General.
Thereafter, personnel were detailed from the Embassy in Moscow for six-month tours. The Assistant Naval Attache's office closed on August 23, 1946, after which the Consulate canceled its lease on the Suifunskaya property. The lease on the Tigrovskaya property was renewed for two more years on May 10, 1948.
On May 20, 1947, local employee Irene Matusis was arrested and charged with "speculation." Matusis was born in New York City in 1914 of Russian parents, and had returned to Russia with her family in 1926. She had worked for the Naval Attache's office from 1942 to 1946, after which the Consulate hired her as a translator. She was ultimately sentenced to three to five years in a labor camp. Since she was a dual national, the Embassy's representations on her behalf were useless. Local authorities did not allow consular personnel to visit her or to attend her trail.
Events in New York City determined the fate of the Consulate in Vladivostok. The Soviet Embassy in Washington protested that U.S. officials were preventing personnel of the Consulate General in New York from performing their duties by denying them access to a defector.
After the United States revoked the Soviet Consul General's exequatur, the Soviet government announced on August 24 that it would close its Consulates General in New York and San Francisco. The United States was requested to close its Consulate General in Vladivostok and abandon discussions of establishing one in Leningrad. Vice Consul Scott C. Lyon, who had assumed charge on August 21, 1948, closed the post on August 27 and spent the next month arranging for the shipment of all official property to Moscow. He and his colleagues, Vice Consuls James C. Risk and William L Warwick, departed for Moscow on October 1, 1948.
Vladivostok remained a "closed city" long after the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1989. In 1992 foreigners were once again allowed to visit the city unrestricted. In May 1995 an American Consulate was reopened and temporarily located in a hotel. In May 1996, the new Consulate was opened at its present location of Ulitsa Pushkinskaya 32.
Throughout the twentieth century, Foreign Service personnel have put their lives on the line in remote areas of the globe, as well as in civilized countries. Natural disasters, disease ridden areas, in Africa and the Far East, have been a integral part of our careers, as we moved from assignment to assignment.
In the years since World War II, violence and acts of terrorism have increased. This is apparent by looking at the names displayed on a series of bronze plaques in the lobby of State, at its Foggy Bottom Headquarters. The number has reached 178, including men, woman, and some children, when terrorists again struck in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam.
A study of early copies of the Foreign Service Journal - a monthly magazine devoted to the Foreign Service, reveals the following:
In 1926, a fire caused damage to the Consulate at Hamilton, Canada.
At State, reference was made to an employee who was assaulted by his colleague. The judge told the colleague to stop "nagging" his employee.
Montevideo, Uruguay - January 24, 1926
The same year, 1926, a bomb exploded in the vestibule of the American Legation, Montevideo, Uruguay, on January 24th. Considerable damage was done to the main entrance but no one was injured. The bomb was constructed from a combination of "nitrogen and black power filled with bolts and scraps of iron." "The building had been under guard since May 17, by detectives and uniformed police," the article stated. The bombing was a protest against the conviction of Nicole Sacco and Bartholomeo Tanzetti, condemned for murder in Massachusetts.
Nice, Italy - July 19 1927
On July 19, 1927, a bomb exploded in front of the Consulate at Nice, Italy, breaking the windows. Fortunately no one was injured. The Consul had received many threatening letters re the Sacco-Vanzetti conviction.
Puerto, Mexico - July 8, 1927
Consul William E. Chipman was severely wounded July 8, 1927, at Puerto, Mexico, when two men entered the building and attempted to assassinate him. It was believed the Consul may have incurred the attention of certain persons engaged in illicit liquor traffic with the U.S.
At my first post - Kabul, in 1950, there was a civilian guard group of two, with 12-hour posts from close of business at the Embassy until opening the next day. The guards, mostly ex-military veterans of WW II frequently resigned. In fact, the night I arrived at Kabul, I was met by Guard Finnigan at the Hotel Kaboul. He said, "You Lobb?" "You ain't gonna like this place!" "I'm Finnigan and I quit!"
I recall no acts of terrorism or violence against the Embassy during my tour. We did experience several earthquake shocks but no damage.
My next post was London, where the Embassy was located at No. 1 Grosvernor Square, now the Canadian Embassy. I recall in 1953, the sentencing and deaths of Jules and Ethel Rosenburg brought hordes of demonstrators into the square but the Bobbies and Scotland Yard kept control.
Until 1956, the Middle East was fairly quiet, then the Marines went into Lebanon and the British into Iraq. The closing of the Suez Canal and the Arab-Israeli conflict heightened calls for increased security.
A tour in The Hague was very quiet, as the Marines guarded offices in a private building of ESSO. The Dutch were loyal allies even though they had pulled out of their former possessions which became Indonesia.
In the Far East, the French left Vietnam and the US began a MAAG mission. Problems soon developed after South Vietnam became a new Asian nation.
Between 1960-62, I was at the new embassy in Port au Prince, Haiti. It was a new building which met current security standards. There was an iron fence around the perimeter. The Haitian Army furnished guards and the Marine Security detachment guarded the Embassy.
President Duvalier declared himself "President for life." Meanwhile in Cuba, we kept the Guantanamo Naval Base, as Castro exported his brand of revolution and violence throughout the hemisphere.
Several plots against Duvalier were uncovered. But violence was not directed against the U.S., during my tour. Two U.S. Ambassadors were ordered out by "Poppa Doc." Meanwhile in Cuba, Castro remained in power, as he still does today.
It was on to Paris, where the French had their own problems in Algeria, causing a "War of Plastics," in the struggle which finally gave Algeria its freedom from French rule.
The first bomb alarm against the U.S. Embassy in Place de la Concorde, occurred April 23, 1965, sending 400 American and French employees into the street. A call to the switchboard indicated a bomb would explode at 5:00 p.m., but nothing happened!
As the war in Vietnam continued, demonstrations against the Embassy became more frequent. On a visit by Vice President Humphrey, he was forced to remain in the Hotel Creillion, as the Communist and Socialist parties mounted opposition.
Then on March 2, 1966, a group of demonstrators got beyond the Embassy courtyard on Avenue Gabriele, hurling bottles of red and black ink against the entrance facade while breaking windows as they shouted "assassins!"
The french security guards were caught napping by the sudden attack of young men wearing raincoats. No one was hurt. The french Government paid for the damages. This was the first time demonstrators reached the building.
An earlier demonstration on February 3, occurred after American bombing of North Vietnam resumed.
By our departure in June 1967, the Middle East had erupted, as Americans were evacuated to Rome, from various posts during the Arab-Israeli War of ‘67.
Building security was tightened.
Between 1967-69, we were now in Accra, Ghana, where a military junta ruled, after Nkrumah's departure. I cannot recall any demonstrations against the U.S., until Vice President Humphrey visited. Some Peace Corps volunteers mounted a demonstration against the Vietnam War.
The Embassy was open on all sides, with a policeman on duty. The U.S. Marines kept building security.
The author's family returned to Washington, for a state-side assignment and was met by a student protest peace march, while staying in the Francis Scott Key Hotel. The Vietnam War protests continued until our departure for London in 1972.
This time, London was different. The Embassy was a new building in the middle of Grosvenor Square, where Vietnam demonstrations took place daily at fixed hours, with a large police presence. Then the IRA decided to bomb British Government buildings and department stores. A bomb threat was called into the American School, where our daughter attended, in North London. The students were evacuated, without incident.
One of our communicators was in a North London pub when a plastic bomb attributed to the IRA exploded. He was not injured.
EPILOGUE: Demonstrations and acts of terrorism had now reached America's shores and continue into 1998, with the recent killing of two Capitol policemen while on duty.
Now the overseas terrorism has shifted to East Africa, as Foreign Service and military personnel gave their lives, along with African employees and citizens at our Embassies at Nairobi and Dar-as-Salaam. When will it stop?
After writing this, I read where we were forced to evacuate Kinshasa and the Embassy in Albania.
It was about 1976, in Ireland. Northern Ireland, or Ulster, to be precise. One needs to understand two things to follow this sorry tale. The first is that the Embassy in Dublin (the Irish Republic) provided courier pouch service to the U.S. Consulate in Belfast, which is located in the British province of Ulster. Belfast is a few hours' driving time from Dublin. The second fact, one which not many appreciate is that Guinness, Ireland's "Black Gold" is a beverage that demands the newcomer work up to it - or another way of stating it is "an acquired taste". It took me longer than some, about four hours. I believe it's fair to say that it is the most popular beer in the British Isles. I hope the Irish will forgive me for including Erie in that geographic collective.
The awful day came about this way. Jake Kocher was the designated courier that day, along with Dick Olson, the Embassy Security Officer. Together they drove to Belfast and arrived in time to hand over the classified material and out for lunch. Now all of downtown Belfast is cordoned off behind barricades by the police and Army because explosions occur around there with dreadful frequency. Within that cordoned area, one of the Consulate officers, Jake, and Dick walked a few blocks to a restaurant called "The Piccolo."
"The Piccolo" was chosen that day because it had only recently been bombed and thus wouldn't likely be targeted for another six months or so. The three got through their meal without incident and when done, left to return to the Consulate the way they had come. The police, however, had closed off the street because there was a Guinness beer truck loaded with barrels of Guinness and Harp lager, parked on the street WITH A BOMB ON IT! This was a matter of more than passing interest and thus Jake, Dick, and their colleague returned to the Consulate via an alternate route. At some point on their return trip, the air was split by an explosion. Dick had to drive all the way back to Dublin because Jake couldn't stop crying.
The two arrived back at the Embassy in Dublin in time to notify friends that they should watch the evening news on TV, that the explosion of the Guinness beer truck had been filmed and would probably appear on the news. It was. Jake didn't drink a lot of Guinness, he favored Harp, but I had my share and I wish to God he had never told me about it. The thought of that lovely liquid being blasted all over Belfast is just too ugly to contemplate. It was, truly, a sobering experience, so much so that Jake swore off all alcoholic beverages until sundown.