Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Eric Fleisher
FLEISHER: It was a fascinating experience. It was the only time I was chief of mission. It was great. I was the second American consul there. I succeeded John Haggeman. John was an economic officer and a very good student of the Faeroes. He really laid the groundwork for me. When I came in there, I was able to just pick up where he had left off.
Q: How long a time did you stay there?
FLEISHER: I would go up with the ship, “Tjaldur.” It would go back down to Copenhagen, come back up, and on the next trip, I'd go back down to Copenhagen. The main purpose of my job was in connection with the installations we were putting in there under NATO. My job was to see that these fellows, Western Electric people, who were very highly paid compared to the Faeroese, didn't get in trouble with the local girls and things like that and keep good relations with the local Prime Minister, who became a very good friend of mine, and maintain an even keel. We did have some consular problems. There were some Faeroese receiving Social Security checks. We did have an American, an anthropologist, who went mad and we had to medevac her out through Scotland. This involved quite a bit of doing. I finally got her out on a fishing boat. The captain, after some dickering and with the support of the Danish High Commissioner, agreed to take her to the Shetlands. From there on, it wasn't my problem; it became that of my colleagues in the consulate in Edinburgh, but for them there it was a rather routine matter..
Q: I was going to ask you if there were any resident Americans in thFaeroes.
FLEISHER: There were a few, just a handful. I met several of them. There were others that I didn't meet because they were spread out over 17 islands, many of them inaccessible during the time that I was there for my consular visits. However, I put a notice in several of the Faeroese newspapers before I went up there, giving dates and times that I would be available for consular services if they wished to see me.
Q: The climate is certainly not conducive to vacations.
FLEISHER: Right. You have to love birds, fish, and whales. But I did have the opportunity to take our Ambassador out there. We went up on the “Tjaldur” and visited several of the islands. An American destroyer paid a visit at that time, and we had a big to-do. We invited the public to visit the ship, which was most appreciated by the people who were mostly fishermen and sailors.
Q: How were we able to communicate from the Faeroes back to Copenhagen?