Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with David J. Fischer
The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project
AMBASSADOR DAVID J. FISCHER
Interviewed by: Charles Stuart Kennedy and Robert S. Pasturing
Initial interview date: March 6, 1998
Copyright 2000 ADST
Q: Let's start with where and when you were born and something about your family.
FISCHER: I was born in Connecticut in 1939 into an essentially middle class family. My father was a salesman. But I was raised really in Minnesota, moving there when I was eight years old. I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I went to a private school and from there went on to college back east at Brown University.
Q: Okay, well, we're going to go back a bit. Where did you live iConnecticut?
FISCHER: I lived in the suburban bedroom communities of Westport,Fairfield, and Southport.
Q: Now, your father and mother had they gone to college?
FISCHER: No, my father was a self-made man. He left school with a fourth grade education and eventually rose to become vice president of Weyerhaeuser Timber Company. My mother was born in the United States in a German family that immigrated here in the late 19th century.
Q: What was life like while you were in Connecticut?
FISCHER: Oh, an idyllic kind of life. I guess all of us look back on our childhood in those first five, six, seven years as being wonderful. My father was not in the military, because at age 40 or 41 he was too old to be drafted.
The war was a very, for me, seminal, although I was only six years old when the war ended, growing up in that time on the east coast, I felt the war very personally. Whether it was blackouts or a victory garden or taking the twenty-five cents to school every week to buy war bonds - all that stuff made the war very real. My job was to collect milkweed pods. Milkweed pods grow on the East Coast of the United States. We were told as children that we were collecting this “kapok” to be stuffed into life jackets for sailors on the north Atlantic.