Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Marshall Green
The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project
AMBASSADOR MARSHALL GREEN
Interviewed by: Charles Stuart Kennedy
Initial interview date: March 3, 1989
Copyright 1998 ADST
Q: This is an interview with Ambassador Marshall Green, concerning his period as population coordinator at the Department of State between 1975 and 1979.
Mr. Ambassador, we've had numerous interviews, but this interview is devoted to your time in something which is beyond the normal concept of a traditional diplomat, which you certainly were. How did you move to this position of population coordinator in the Department of State?
GREEN: Stu, all my life, as far as I can recollect, in my thinking and studies I've been interested in population-related issues, what you might call demographic pressures and how they affect nations and lives of individuals. I felt, having served in six posts in East Asia and the Pacific, and six posts in Washington related to that area, I had felt that inadequate attention was being paid to this very fundamental problem. Quite clearly, population pressures had a great deal to do with poverty, malnutrition, the inability of countries to save enough in order to develop. In other words, they had to spend so much money on infrastructure to provide for rapidly expanding populations, that nothing was left over for development. I felt that it had a direct bearing on environmental degradation, which was of increasing concern.
All these things I felt, but it wasn't until I was assigned as ambassador to Indonesia that I felt so strongly about it in terms of the problems that Indonesia faced.
Q: When were you in Indonesia?
GREEN: I was ambassador to Indonesia from 1965 to 1969. During that time, there was an abortive coup by the communists, which was put down, and it ridded the country of negative, rather hostile forces, of which Sukarno was the leader, in which the Communists were the principal participants. It was replaced by a sane and sensible government headed by General Suharto, who became president, and still is president of the country.