American Embassy U.A.E. | The Music Man

June 1978—The United Arab Emirates I was serving the U.A.E. missions on the way to Cairo and Athens. I had begun at Muscat, Oman. It might have been Abu Dhabi or Dubai (memories fail) where I ran into CRO Wojakowski. Wojo, short and non-descript, was in his mid-thirties. A short man, he owned a bald…

American Embassy Damascus | The Skinny on Elephant Skin

March 1978 Perhaps it was the numbing effect of my in-flight epiphany (see previous message). I have no remembrance of what Damascus International Airport looked like. A cohort had told me that every Middle East city had a character of its own and the chameleon-like American embassy changed the color of its skin to blend…

The Tainted Diplomatic Pouch

November 1977—Somewhere Over the Adriatic Sea As the morning Thai Inter flight from Rome to Athens sailed over the calm Adriatic Sea I suddenly found myself caught up in a maelstrom of conspiracy at thirty-some thousand feet. Diplomatic Courier Victor Rothman, sitting next to me, had just confessed that he had firsthand knowledge that a…

The Foreign Service | An Education of Sorts

  Back in the 1970’s, no one hired on with the U.S. Department of State to get rich. My base salary began at around $12,000 per year. I don’t recall many Foreign Service Officers owning homes given that they were out of the country most of their careers. Living overseas had its benefits. Housing was…

Foreign Service Telegram Speak and Related Illnesses

In the late 1970’s, the telegraphic message was to the Foreign Service like the M-16 rifle was to the U.S. Army. Both wielded a sense of diplomacy and every soldier (and Foreign Service Officer) was “behooved” to know how to use each. In the case of the telegraphic message, words replaced bullets, and could be…