Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Lesley Dorman
Q: In what year was that?
DORMAN: Well, we went in the Sudan out of Zambia, to Khartoum in 1967, and in the Spring of 1968, Phil had to go to Tunis to attend a conference there, and there was a lot of meningitis in Khartoum. Tim was young and Mark was in school at St. Stephens in Rome at the time. So, I had Lebanese friends, and I decided to go and visit. We didn't want to impose, so we had a special diplomatic rate at the beautiful Phoenicia Hotel. I had a room where I could use the balcony quite conveniently as a happy laundry without it being seen, and it was really very enjoyable. Our Lebanese friends would send their cars and chauffeurs to pick us up. Took us around, and we had a very good time while we were there. Phil came back from the conference. There had been lots of rumors about war then. Young Winston Churchill was in the hotel then, and I teased him, because the paper he was representing had rather glaring photographs on the front about a possible disturbance. He's now a representative of Parliament. I said, “Why do you want ... Do you really think there's going to be a war?” He said: “Oh, we do this, because it excites and sells the paper,” or some rubbish of that sort. So, anyway, Phil felt because he had to get back immediately, he felt we should stay on in Beirut and have a bit more of a holiday. He had hoped to stay, but he couldn't. I had been invited by Frances Rizk, whose husband, Edward, who at one time had been ambassador to the United Nations for Lebanon - they were Copts. She's American, living in New York and Cannes now. She had invited me to a luncheon in honor of General Odd Bull, United Nations Representative, given for his wife actually. Dwight Porter was ambassador there. Adrian Middleton was DCM, who had been with us in Cairo. Phil had paid a courtesy call during the brief time that he was in Beirut, which was just overnight, and as Phil left the airport, he handed me an envelope which had a power of attorney in it, because Adrian had said: “We don't know what is going to happen. There may be an evacuation.” Adrian had gone out with us in Cairo, and he was very wise.
I got a call about 7:30 in the morning from Frances Rizk to say that the luncheon was canceled. I thought it was because her children were unwell, but she said, “No, get packed immediately. You're coming to the hills with us, to our house in the mountains.” She said, “War has been declared.” So, I said, “Well, I registered at the consulate, which I'm supposed to do when I go to different countries, just in case, because I am an American 'dependent'.” I hate that word, but it has to be said because it's true, unfortunately. Well, it also has its good points. And I said I'd have to wait until I heard from the Embassy. Adrian did call me, so I couldn't go with Frances. The following day, we were evacuated to Greece where I stayed quite sometime.
Q: And where were the children?