Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Robert E. Barbour
BARBOUR: In many, many ways. Landlords, for example, whose houses had been requisitioned suddenly wanted them back and had a right to get them back.
Q: Were you there when the truce came in Korea?
BARBOUR: In July of 1953. Yes, but I was back in Washington taking my oral exams.
Q: So you had applied for the Foreign Service?
BARBOUR: I took my exams in Tokyo in 1952.
Q: It was the old three and a half day exam and then you went back to take your orals?
BARBOUR: I hitched a ride with an Assistant Secretary of State, Walter Robertson, who had been out to see Syngman Rhee.
Q: Did you have any chance at all to talk to him?
BARBOUR: Oh, yes.
Q: He was, I am told, a courteous southern gentleman and at the same time Mr.”don't mess with China” personified.
BARBOUR: My relationship was more or less limited to that flight, at least my initial relationship. He was a very courteous Richmond gentleman, as you say. We had a lot of fun on the way back; he was very relaxed and I was hitching a free ride since at that time there was no other way to take the examination except to go back to Washington and do it. And I was here when the Armistice was announced.
Q: What was your oral examination like? You took it in 1953.