|Issue 49||January 2000||Volume 5 - Number 2|
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
The following letter was received from Chris Carpenter:
December 17, 1999
Thank you so much for the card and the donation on behalf of the CANDOERs in Ron's name. It was very thoughtful and greatfully appreciated. I miss Ron enormously.
The bright light in my life right now is that our son Glenn and his wife are expecting our first grandchildren, twins. Lynne has been on total bed rest for the last 10 weeks and is being induced today! I leave for Colorado Monday for the Holidays and I know Ron will be with me, too.
Thank you again.
/s/ Christine Carpenter
After serving 25 years in the Foreign Service, all at overseas posts, and then retiring back in our hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Richard and I were totally unprepared for the culture shocks that would rattle us --- after all, we're now in our mother country!
We were shocked to realize how aimless we felt --- we had suddenly lost routine, structure, and goals in our lives;
Shocked at not only the size, but also the overwhelming variety of products in the major grocery store chains, where it's at least a quarter of a mile between the fresh produce and the cleaning supplies --- after a weekly shopping trip I would have to take a nap from the sheer exhaustion of making all those brand decision and walking all those miles;
Shocked at how paralyzed with indecision we were, in hardware stores, not knowing what part or tool to buy for what project that needed to be taken care of (overseas GSO always took care of all that stuff --- hanging pictures, painting, plumbing, electrical, etc);
Shocked, after previewing over 40 houses, to discover, (after 25 years of longing and dreaming of having my own home), I really didn't want the responsibility of maintaining one --- bought a condo instead;
Shocked to see so many acres of suburban homes built and finished to look almost exactly alike --- how boring;
Shocked that I couldn't decide what painting style or tint to use in order to paint our badly-needed dirty, paint-chipped condo walls, while it sat empty for over a month, waiting for our household effects to arrive;
Shocked at our lack of technology know-how, even the telephone was daunting (still forget that I can just dial 411 to get phone numbers), let alone televisions, VCRs, and computers --- took us four years to feel confident enough to buy a computer;
Shocked at how reserved, unfriendly, and uninterested in world events the people around us were and are;
Shocked at the fast-paced, hectic lifestyles, rude and inconsiderate driving habits of the people;
Shocked that there are so many shopping malls, chain stores, and restaurants, not only in Minnesota but throughout the United States --- we can find our favorite eatery or store in all 50 States, and finally, but the most disheartening;
Shocked at the partisanship and slanted news in our city's major newspapers and television news channels.
By the way, we're in our fourth residence since retiring nine years ago--we refer to our present home as our fourth retirement tour --- yes, we're still trying to find where we really belong and comfortably fit in.
The following was received from James F. Prosser.
John Powell, A Professor at Loyola University in Chicago writes about a student in his Theology of Faith class named Tommy:
Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith. That was the first day I first saw Tommy. My eyes and my mind both blinked. He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders. It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long. I guess it was just coming into fashion then. I know in my mind that it isn't what's on your head but what's in it that counts; but on that day I was unprepared and my emotions flipped. I immediately filed Tommy under "S" for strange.
Very strange. Tommy turned out to be the "atheist in residence" in my Theology of Faith course. He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father-God.
We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was for me at times a serious pain in the back pew. When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a slightly cynical tone: "Do you think I'll ever find God?"
I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. "No!" I said very emphatically.
"Oh," he responded, "I thought that was the product you were pushing."
I let him get five steps from the classroom door and then called out: "I am absolutely certain that he will find you!"
He shrugged a little and left my class and my life. I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line: "He will find you!" At least I thought it was clever.
Later I heard that Tommy had graduated and I was duly grateful. Then a sad report, I heard that Tommy had terminal cancer.
Before I could search him out, he came to see me. When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted, and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice was firm, for the first time ... I believe.
"Tommy, I've thought about you so often. I hear you are sick !" I blurted out.
"Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It's a matter of weeks."
"Can you talk about it, Tom?"
"Sure, what would you like to know?"
"What's it like to be only twenty-four and dying?"
"Well, it could be worse."
"Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real 'biggies' in life."
I began to look through my mental file cabinet under "S" where I had filed Tommy as strange. (It seems as though everybody I try to reject by classification God sends back into my life to educate me.)
"But what I really came to see you about," Tom said, " is something you said to me on the last day of class." (He remembered!) He continued, "I asked you if you thought I would ever find God and you said, 'No!' which surprised me.
Then you said, 'But he will find you.' I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was Hardly intense at that time. (My "clever" line. He thought about that a lot!)
"But when the doctors removed a lump and told me that it was malignant, then I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven. But God did not come out. In fact, nothing happened. Did you ever try anything for a long time with great effort and with no success? You get psychologically glutted, fed up with trying. And then you quit. Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may be or may not be there I just quit. I decided that I didn't really care ... about God, about an afterlife, or anything like that.
"I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable. I thought about you and your class and I remembered something else you had said: 'The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.'"
So I began with the hardest one: my Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him."
"Dad" ... "Yes, what?" he asked without lowering the newspaper.
"Dad, I would like to talk with you."
"I mean ... It's really important."
The newspaper came down three slow inches.
"What is it?"
"Dad, I love you. I just wanted you to know that."
Tom smiled at me and said with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him: "The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me. And we talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me.
"It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years. I was only sorry about one thing: that I had waited so long. Here I was just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.
"Then, one day I turned around and God was there. He didn't come to me when I pleaded with him. I guess I was like an animal trainer holding out a hoop, 'C'mon, jump through. 'C'mon, I'll give you three days ... three weeks.' Apparently God does things in his own way and at his own hour. "But the important thing is that he was there. He found me. You were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for him."
"Tommy," I practically gasped, "I think you are saying something very important and much more universal than you realize. To me, at least, you are saying that the surest way to find God is not to make him a private possession, a problem solver, or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love. You know, the Apostle John said that. He said God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him."
"Tom, could I ask you a favor? You know, when I had you in class you were a real pain. But (laughingly) you can make it all up to me now. Would you come into my present Theology of Faith course and tell them what you have just told me? If I told them the same thing it wouldn't be half as effective as if you were to tell them."
"Oooh ... I was ready for you, but I don't know if I'm ready for your class."
"Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me a call."
In a few days Tommy called, said he was ready for the class, that he wanted to do that for God and for me. So we scheduled a date. However, he never made it. He had another appointment, far more important than the one with me and my class.
Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard or the mind of man has ever imagined.
Before he died, we talked one last time. "I'm not going to make it to your class," he said. "I know, Tom."
"Will you tell them for me? Will you ... tell the whole world for me?"
"I will, Tom. I'll tell them. I'll do my best."
So, to all of you who have been kind enough to hear this simple statement about love, thank you for listening. And to you, Tommy, somewhere in the sunlit, verdant hills of heaven: "I told them, Tommy ... as best I could."
The December luncheon was well attended. We had a total of 19 members. They included: Carmen Bevacqua, Bill Bies, Bob Campopiano, Bob Catlin, Chuck and Eva Chesteen, Paul Del Giudice, Charlie Ditmeyer, Al Giovetti, Rey Grammo, Pete Gregario, Hal Hutson, Joel Kleiman, Will Naeher, Tom Paolozzi, Hank Reavy, Nate Reynolds, Bob Scheller, and Don Stewart.
I held a drawing for a TGIFs gift certificate after everyone had eaten. Rey Grammo was the winner.
On November 25, after printing the Directory of Members, I received a new e-mail address for Dick and Marie Grimes. Their new e-mail address may be found on the last page of this and future issues and on the Web site.
On November 25, after printing the December issue, I received Jim Steeves' new snail-mail address. In addition, I had failed to include Jim's birthday in the previous editions of the Directory of Members. Jim also asks that you use his simplyweb.net e-mail address as his primary address and use the hotmail address only as a back-up. Jim's new information has been added to the Directory of Members and to the Web site.
On November 27, I received and processed a Web site application to join the CANDOERs for a new member, Michael (Mick) Douglass. Mick's bio may be found in the Pen and Ink section, on the Web site, and his e-mail address on the last page of this and future issues, and on the Web site.
On December 1, I received a letter from George Getman, requesting I send a CANDOER "Starter Kit" to Bob McConahy. A letter was immediately sent to Bob.
On December 7, I received an e-mail message from Frank and Nancy Meyers, requesting I publish a change in their e-mail address. This new address has been added to the Directory of Members, the Web site and the last page of this and future issues.
On December 13, Rush Lantz informed me that he has a new snail-mail address and telephone number. This information may be found in the Pen and Ink section and on the Web site.
On December 16, I received word from Dave Smith that he has retired and is now living in Florida. His new address, telephone number, and e-mail address may be found in the Pen and Ink section and on the Web site.
On December 17, I received a letter from Don Fisher, with a CANDOER Retirement Group membership application. Don's e-mail address, snail-mail address, and bio information may be found in the Pen and Ink section and on the Web site.
On December 20, Dave Borter joined the CANDOERs. Dave's address, telephone number, and e-mail address may be found in the Pen and Ink section and on the Web site.
On December 21, I received a new snail-mail address and telephone number from Joe Pado. This new information may be found in the Pen and Ink section and on the Web site.
On December 23, I received a check and CANDOER Retirement Group Membership Application form from Bob White. By the time you read this, Bob will have retired.Bob's e-mail address, snail-mail addresss, telephone number, and bio informatuion may be found in the Pen and Ink section and on the Web site.
I arrived in Bonn October 1997, as the Information Programs Supervisor (IPS), fully realizing that I would be part of the last contingent of IRMers who would have the job of closing down the operations.
In late 1998, two others and I were told that our tours would be curtailed in order to handle IRM's side of the closure and to provide assistance to the Defense Liaison Office and the last remaining elements of State. It was agreed that I would be curtailed to December 1999, and the others to the May/June time frame.
On July 6/7 of 1999 the name "AMERICAN EMBASSY" left the small town on the Rhine and was passed to Berlin (Bonn became a U.S. Office).
While some of the offices and agencies has relocated to their new cities (Berlin/Frankfurt), the main move began shortly after a Presidential and a Secretary of State visits along with the G-7 summit in June 1999. A timetable was then worked out with M2K (the Transition Office) to move all remaining State offices and agencies to Berlin.
By July 9, IPC was down to three IMSers (one IPS and two IMS (Tim Williams and Ed Willems)) and one IMA (Dominique Williams) to finalize the closure.
IPC assisted all offices with moving their classified equipment. We began to divide the C-LAN, TERP, and other computer equipment and send it to other German posts. Several escorted trucks of equipment went to Berlin. Frankfurt brought their truck up and loaded their share. RIMC also collected the last of their remaining items at the BAX facility. To cover the nine military offices that are staying in Bonn some equipment had to be transferred and new hand receipts were issued in the name of Berlin.
Remote C-LAN drives were made ready for Bonn's closure to ensure both State and military clients would continue to receive telegraphic traffic.
By mid-September the last check was made of the old BAX and RIMC facilities. After that inspection, the area was turned over to the RSO.
Also in mid-September, Bonn sent a cable asking the Department to remove Bonn from all collectives and to advise the world of Bonn's closure on September 30th at 1200Z.
From September 1998 to October 1999, many support facilities closed. The gas station shut down on September 30, 1998. The Mehlen cafeteria closed in May 1999. The American Café served its last hamburgers in mid-July. And the last movie was shown on August 31 (after we got to see the new Star Wars "Episode I). AEA Act system (four AFN stations) was switched to a State caretaker until the military accepts it. The Bank closed its operations in May and the mission cashier took over the responsibility for check cashing. The food store (commissary) closed on September 26. The American Embassy Club closed its doors at the end of October. The last month was booked solid and was for members only.
This big old building is about empty. The halls are quiet and dark. Most of the offices are totally bare. This is sad knowing how it was here for 50 years. To those of you who have been assigned here, you remember the parking problems. You had to get here early so you could find a parking space inside the compound, or if late you had to park outside the compound on the street. If you were here now, you would be in shock. Good parking is constantly available no matter what time you come in.
On September 30 at 1400 local (1200Z) Bonn sent out its last message (Bonn 696). With sadness we started turning off all the equipment. We moved the IPC's administrative functions down to room 2400 (the old Admin section). We now have windows -- only twice before in my 34 years have I ever worked in an area with windows.
We disassembled and moved all equipment out and off of the 5th floor. The former IPC is now only an empty shell. During this time we are assisting and training the remaining offices on the remote C-LAN. With the loss of circuits we have been required to assist a couple of units in re-establishing their links with the outside world.
In the midst of the shut down, Dusseldorf lost its office building lease and had to temporarily relocate to Bonn. New and different problems required changes to some of the close-down dates with the Consular and Foreign Commercial Service now located in Bonn.
Upon our final departure, the Defense Liaison Office (DLO) will take over the top four floors of the building. DLO is made up of nine military units, and they are scheduled to remain for at least five years. The DLO has signed for the IPC area so we are one more step closer to the close-down.
IPC will be down to one IMS and one IMA as of the 17th of December 1999. Ed Willems leaves on or about the 10th of December for an assignment with the VIP rover team and I am scheduled to leave on the 17th to report to IRM/ITI/SI/IIB. IPC will function as an advisor and monitor the telephone billing until May or June 2000.
Tim Williams and his wife Dominique will turn off the lights for the last time when they leave in May or June 2000.
Question: With the scheduled reopening of Stuttgart, how long before we reopen Bonn?
In front of me, as I sit in my apartment in Beijing, is a copy of BONN 696, dated 30 Sep 99. In it, USOFFICE BONN is formally logging off as a CommCenter and turning everything over to Amembassy Berlin. For those of us who were fortunate enough to have had an assignment there in Bonn, this marks the end of an important chapter in our collective lives. Speaking just for myself, when I think of Bonn, I think of a vibrant CPU operation in the Embassy and equally vibrant BAX operation there in the Plittersdorf Compound. I can see the many faces of excellent Communicators I knew back then fly past in my memory: Rick Getze, John Kramer, Joe Acquavella, Lloyd Stevenson, Bill Bies, Bob Rouleau, John Turner, Sandy Smith, Al Thomas, Bob Caffrey, Bob Hammond, Lenny Lane, George Escobedo, Don Spiker, Dennis Nelson, George Sura, Duncan McGill, Ed Fitzpatrick, Bob Richardson, Ron Johnston, Ralph Gerdner, Joe Devlin, Gus Karras, "Skitch" Henderson, and, certainly, Chuck Chesteen. There are many more, but, alas, my memory is dimming.
Between BAX, the Embassy, and the RCO shop, we OCers had the largest group of people assigned in Bonn. When WE threw a party, it was A PARTY! And when we went to root for the High School football team, the spirit of our group was definitely something to behold! In fact, the community spirit of the entire Bonn (Plittersdorf) community was superb. Seemingly, everyone had the ever-present Bonn jackets, and I still see them on occasion all over the planet. The McCaffrey family will treasure ours all the more now.
Though I've a zillion memories of the place, one, in particular, stands out in my mind. We had just installed the TERP II (after all the hassles living with TERP I, and those darn cassette tape drives that bombed out EVERY Friday night on Swings with a LOAD of outgoing still to be processed!), had our training, and were on our own (the instructors, Jim Holmes and John Kennedy had departed). I was working the Mids and had just assumed my shift, Swings had all gone home. It was around midnight, I was processing incoming, when I heard a strange sound seemingly coming from the keyboard when I went to hit NEXT INCOMING. My finger was just going to press the key when I heard something like a loud: "rigorrigorrigor." Now, picture the scene: it's midnight, you're all alone in that big space, perhaps a little tired and since you've been on duty since 2300 and had already processed a ton of stuff (only one person on Mids), and you hear this sound! I moved my finger again to hit the key and the same sound, loud. Again, and again. I knew the machine did not do this, I had worked enough with its predecessor, and this was just a modified version. So I started feeling the hairs on the back of my neck tingle. Am I REALLY alone? Is there some type furry animal in here, about to devour my leg? I got up and started to look around. I was just passing a rack near the TERP when JOHN KRAMER jumped out from behind it and gave a loud: "RIGORRIGORRIGOR" shout and darn near caused my heart to seize! He stayed behind after the Swings left and wanted to play this little game with me and he won! John was my next-door neighbor there in the housing area, and a very good friend, albeit with an odd sense of humor sometimes.
A very fond good-bye, Amembassy/BAX Bonn. The memories you supplied this old Communicator will provide smiles and comfort forever.
Part Two - Paris
In the summer of 1962, the Lobb family went on home leave to Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. We said for LeHavre with our son David. At first, in Paris, we lived in the Bedford Hotel, not far from the Embassy. Finally, we rented a furnished apartment in the 16th Arrondisement-a short ride away from the Embassy on the Metro. David entered the English School of Paris.
At the Embassy, Don Sedlacek was in charge of Embassy communications. We were short-staffed, so Lil Godek had us all working almost upon arrival.
The CommTech Felden McCloud was on transfer. Bill Weatherford kept the equipment running. Walt Swierczek or Charley Hoffman would appear for repairs. Tony Lapka arrived with his wife, Marie, from Rome in early 1963, along with Bill Ewing, who replaced Don Sedlacek.
There was a regional communications officer, Bill Richmond and his staff. Problems with Algeria existed, so there was a circuit to Algiers.
The commcenter was being upgraded and the ADX installed, as we crept along in the era of MEC, MOT and OTT. We did have a leased circuit to DC/T. We also had relay responsibilities with 17 French PTT employees in a separate area.
NATO was still in Paris, with no leased circuit-serviced by messengers taking the hard copy. Ernie Booth, Harvey Bostock and Quinton Reynolds were a few I still recall.
Every message had to be retyped before running off on Hecto and then facing the "purple plaque." We made extra copies for NATO, CINCEUR, and other government agencies attached to the Embassy. Distribution was the big problem until we got XEROX installed.
The Crisis Arrives
In early October, events in Cuba were heading toward a confrontation.
The Cuban Missile Crisis-President's Kennedy's Address To The Nation - October 22, 1962, reproduced by Archives contains background in a document on sale.
The Russians had begun to install surface to air missiles (SAMs) at ground sites.
In September, U2 survillance planes operated by CIA discovered what was going on!
A flight, October 14, 1962, confirmed the state of medium range ballistic missiles based near San Cristobal.
In Washington, President Kennedy began a series of high level security meeting with his staff. The National Security Council met and made assignments.
USIA would brodcast President Kennedy's speech in Spanich in Latin America.
At Paris, we learned, former Secretary of State Achenson would be arriving to brief President De Gaulle and NATO.
The text of the speech was addressed to USIA and State for onward transmission to our embassies. (Many posts were then dependenty on local carriers for traffic.) They were further restricted by hours of operation and some posts encountered delays.
Kennedy addressed the Nation at 7:00 p.m., with his dramatic speech.
While the confrontation continued, both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R worked to avert a disaster and possible nuclear war.
On October 23, 1962, the Soviets agreed to withdraw their missiles from Cuba.
Facsimiles of the President's address are shown in the Archives documents, with corrections by the President.
EPILOGUE: At Paris, President De Gaulle supported the U.S. position. NATO held a meeting of the North Atlantic Council and received support. LIMITEL was imposed as not to clog the communcations channels.
Out of the Cuban Missile Crisis came changes to the State Department communications. John Coffey was named as Deputy Assistance Secretary for Communications. The Office of Communications was created, giving OC more say over its budget and personnel.
The federal agencies joined the NCS at DOD, under DCA, bringing more assets, expertize and coordination between the Armed Forces, and members located at 8th and Courthouse Road in Arlington, VA.
By 1963, the ADX became operational in a new Paris Commcenter. The relay facilities were updated.
When I was a young turkey, new to the coop,
My big brother Mike took me out on the stoop,
Then he sat me down, and he spoke real slow,
And he told me there was something that I had to know;
His look and his tone I will always remember,
When he told me of the horrors of ... Black November;
"Come about August, now listen to me,
Each day you'll get six meals instead of just three,
"And soon you'll be thick, where once you were thin,
And you'll grow a big rubbery thing under your chin;
"And then one morning, when you're warm in your bed,
In'll burst the farmer's wife, and hack off your head;
"Then she'll pluck out all your feathers so you're bald 'n pink,
And scoop out all your insides and leave ya lyin' in the sink;
"And then comes the worst part" he said not bluffing,
"She'll spread your cheeks and pack your rear with stuffing".
Well, the rest of his words were too grim to repeat,
I sat on the stoop like a winged piece of meat,
And decided on the spot that to avoid being cooked,
I'd have to lay low and remain overlooked;
I began a new diet of nuts and granola,
High-roughage salads, juice and diet cola;
And as they ate pastries, chocolates and crepes,
I stayed in my room doing Jane Fonda tapes;
I maintained my weight of two pounds and a half,
And tried not to notice when the bigger birds laughed;
But 'twas I who was laughing, under my breath,
As they chomped and they chewed, ever closer to death;
And sure enough when Black November rolled around,
I was the last turkey left in the entire compound;
So now I'm a pet in the farmer's wife's lap;
I haven't a worry, so I eat and I nap;
She held me today, while sewing and humming,
And smiled at me and said "Christmas is coming..."
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow is located on a busy six lane street with buildings about eight or nine stories high containing a variety of shops, offices and apartment houses. A portion of the Embassy contains the Embassy offices and a portion contains the apartment residences of some of the Foreign Service personnel assigned there. However, the Ambassador lives at the Spaso House, which is a large mansion of some opulence, located several miles from the Embassy.
It was well know that the Embassy offices and residences contained many bugs that the Soviets used to conduct surveillance on the activities within the Embassy.
Some of the employees lived "off post." When I visited Moscow, on one occasion concerning the "Hot Line," I was invited to have dinner with Ron Gaines (Communications Maintenance) and his wife, at their apartment. They had a daughter, around three years old. During dinner, I asked Ron's wife that since the apartment was apparently "bugged" what did they do when they "got together." She replied glibly, "Oh, Mr. Naeher, we make them eat their hearts out." What an attitude!
To permit classified activities in the Embassy, they installed a so called "Screen Room," which was raised from the floor and could not be penetrated acoustically or electronically. It was able to be inspected on all four sides. The communications center was also in a similar enclosure. All classified meeting were held in the "Screen Room."
Subsequently, strong microwave signals were detected emanating from three different locations external to the Embassy. These signals varied in density and were the subject of considerable speculation.
Were they interrogating the communications center?
Were they attempting to interrogate the electric typewriters?
Was their purpose to create mental confusion in the employees of the Embassy?
A group of security experts from NSA concluded that it was interrogating the Communications Center. I protested this on the grounds that the microwave signals shut down at 5:00 p.m. each day, the time when the communications center was the busiest. Therefore, there must be some other objective. The inspectors replied that everyone knows that the Soviets don't work after 5:00 p.m.
And so the speculation continued. In my opinion, the best rational was that the signals were not offensive in nature, but were defensive. There was a Soviet Government office across the street from the Embassy, which was probably performing some classified duties of some unknown nature. The microwave was probably screening these activities from penetration from the U.S. Embassy. They shut down the microwave activities, when they quit their activities for the day. The building subsequently had a fire, similar to our Embassy, and the microwave signals ceased.
Investigation showed that one or two mutated births occurred during the time of this microwave bombardment. It was never proven, but suspicions were that these mutated births were the results of the microwave signals.
The microwave signal also had an adverse impact on our radio communications. It appeared that the Ambassador had leukemia. After many years of negotiation, we were finally able to convince the Soviets to permit us to have a radio station in our Embassy for emergency purposes. The station operated off a whip antenna, which was on a roof adjacent to the Ambassador's office. We were permitted to operate the station on a test only basis, a few times a month, on frequencies provided by the Soviets. This radio station was in communications with a radio station in Cyprus and with a station in England. On one occasion, the Ambassador moved his desk. Our technician ran wires vertically in the corner of the Ambassador's office and across a false ceiling to his secretary's desk, so she would answer his phone. The line was not installed in conduit at that time because we did not have any on hand at the Embassy. During the microwave investigation, they detected that when we operated the radio station, the HF signals radiated to the vertical telephone line and could be picked up on the Ambassador's phone. I was directed to shut down the station, although I protested that the frequencies were not in the range of being damaging to ones health, as proved by many transmitter attendants, at many radio stations around the world. The protest fell on deaf ears, because of the sensitivity caused by the microwave signals. I don't know if this station is still in the Embassy.
Over the years many Foreign Service communicators were assigned to Bonn and many more had a TDY stint or two there. Some of those people might find the following of interest.
As I perform a final edit of this paper, in the first week of November of 1998, new information just came to my attention. During all the years when Berlin was an occupied city (from the end of the war until some time in 1994) all Germans who worked for the U.S., French and British occupation forces (including the U.S. Mission in Berlin) were paid by the Federal Republic of Germany! I don't know how many thousands of people were involved but it is another item that shows the incredible price Germany has paid since the end of the war. It amazes me that, in spite of all the expenditures which this country has accepted since WW II, it has still become one of the most powerful countries in the world. I'm told by some, that the French would have forced this country into abject poverty after WW II, as they did after WW I, had it not been for the leadership displayed by Winston Churchill and ... George Marshall I suppose. It is still possible to find people who express the sentiment that Hitler would have achieved much less success had there not been many people in other countries who sympathized with his philosophy. I recall from reading history that there was a very sizeable body of public favor for Germany and Hitler before the U.S. declared war against Japan and Germany.
Having now been here for just over a year, as my wife's dependant, I am better qualified than some in describing where the German Government is in the process of moving the capitol to Berlin; why it is going and what it is costing. This has all been checked with a very knowledgeable German colleague and I am confident it is the truth. Though it's lengthy, it's still only part of the story.
Last night I walked around the streets in the housing area of Plittersdorf. I walked down Kennedyallee (I forget what it was called before JFK's death). I turned left at the junction of Kennedyallee where the street goes right and becomes Turmstrasse and then walked left into MLK (it used to be more Turmstrasse before Martin Luther King's death). On down past the school and ball fields I continued to Europastrasse and around the corner to the intersection with Kolumbusring and Steubenring. Then back to my own apartment on Kolumbusring - where all apartments used to be 1-bedroom units but are now all 4-bedroom, two-level apartments.
As I scuffled through the leaves which now lay thick all over, the wind seemed to blow images through my mind as it blew the leaves along the streets. Images of friends who used to live along these streets. I passed the place where Kerry Karamanis lived; and Steve O'Dea; Lee Lever; Tom Trainer, Frank Tucker, Jim Adams; Ed Peters; Ron Carpenter; Mary Faye Bell, Ma Taylor, Artis Person, Tim Taylor, Mike Carson, Fran Wyman, Jim Holmes, John Fuerlinger, Al Harr, Bob Fon, Len Buflo, Howard Brandli and others. All gone. I took note of buildings already in non-American hands, the number of apartments lit up by people of other nationalities and considered the many which stand empty waiting for the last American family to move out. I had passed the church where Bob and Audrey Fon were married; at whose wedding the bouquet and garter were thrown and caught by Mike Carson and Penny . (Excuse me Mike and Penny if I inaccurately remembered that event.) Though not yet married, they would become so when Mike's brother came from Philadelphia to marry them in the not so distant future. Mike's brother wore, I believe, a Redskins sweatshirt under his priestly garbs.
The Housing Story
In 1950, the High Commission for Germany (HiCOG) decided to move it's headquarters from Frankfurt to be closer to the seat of the new federal capitol. Some 458 units of apartment buildings a shopping center and an Embassy were built in well under a year. The apartments consisted of 120 single-bedroom units; 144 2-bedroom units; 144 3-bedroom units and 50 larger ones. Other facilities were constructed so that the strain on the local community would be minimized. These facilities were: a bowling alley, swimming pool, tennis courts, a restaurant (available to all on a membership basis). To emphasize that this community would not be "a golden ghetto", all facilities were made available to the local population with the exception of those which involved a tax-free status, i.e., booze, gasoline, tobacco, etc.
I found the following in my mother's recipe book.
A shopping list
You can dispense with about 75% of the household cleaning products you use by switching to old-fashioned, but highly effective, alternatives, say environmentalists. To keep your home sparkling, you'll need these basics:
White vinegar - Mix with water to clean glass and mirrors.
Borax - Mixed with water, it's a natural disinfectant and freshener.
Washing soda - Mix with hot water to wash painted wood.
Olive or vegetable oil - Mix with lemon juice to make furniture polish.
Lemon juice - Mix with salt to clean copper.
Baking soda - Use as a scouring powder or mix with water as an all-purpose cleaner.
Cornstarch - Mix with water to make spray starch, or sprinkle on carpet and vacuum to clean rugs.
Salt - An abrasive for scouring or, mixed with vinegar and all-purpose cleaner.
Here are some of the best household cleaning recipes:
Glass and tile: Fill a quart spray bottle with water and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Or mix 2 cup cornstarch in 2 quarts of warm water and apply with a sponge.
Floors: Fill a bucket with hot water and add 1/4 to 2 cup of vinegar. For stains, use a mix of borax and hot water.
Tough spots: Sprinkle a wet sponge with borax.
Counters, cabinets: Mix 2 cup borax, 1 gallon water.
All-purpose cleaner: Mix vinegar and salt or dissolve 4 tablespoons of baking soda in a quart of warm water.
Sinks: Use baking soda as a powdered cleanser.
Kitchen odors: Set a cotton ball soaked in vanilla on a saucer in the fridge or on the counter. Sprinkle borax in the bottom of the garbage can.
For sinks, toilet bowls, tubs, showers: Use borax, a natural disinfectant, like a cleanser.
Tile walls: Make a paste of borax and water and scrub.
Toilet bowl cleaner: Sprinkle baking soda into the bowl, then drizzle with vinegar and scour with a brush.
Furniture polish: Mix 2 cup or more of lemon juice, 1 cup of olive oil in a spray bottle; use for all wood.
Carpets: To freshen (or ward off fleas): sprinkle borax. To clean: sprinkle baking soda, wait 15 minutes, vacuum.
Fireplace: Clean tiles with full-strength vinegar or 1 cup washing soda (sold in supermarkets) dissolved in 2 gallons of hot water. Rinse with clear water. Clean excess soot from the flue by throwing a handful of salt into a blazing fire.
Spray starch: In a spray bottle, mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a pint of cold water.
Grease spot remover: Rub with a damp cloth dipped in borax, or apply a paste of cornstarch and water. Let it dry, brush off.
Shop polish: Polish with inside of a banana peel, then buff.
Silver polish: Clean with toothpaste and warm water.
Copper cleaner: Apply a paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar, leave on 5 minutes and then wash in warm water.