Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Douglas G. Hartley
HARTLEY: I was due out. I can't remember whether I had a two-year tour or a four year tour. I felt, and I think my career manager thought, that it would be a good thing for me to take this course since I was in the economic/commercial cone. I don't think they knew what to do with Sheldon Krys, so maybe this was a fortuitous turn of events. Ambassador Findley Burns, became the deputy assistant secretary for personnel in ARA. He could be quite ruthless and loved to ferret out obscure places in our bureau for people who had done something to displease the powers-that-be. For example, one young officer had organized an anti-Vietnam rally and used the Foreign Service Association, for a meeting or for lunch or something. The 7th floor was not pleased so Burns was told to get rid of this guy, go find a post for him. Burns who actually knew nothing about ARA, being a staunch Europeanist and Middle Eastern hand, said - “Hartley, I want you to find think of the most obscure and isolated post you have and send this guy out there. I believe he ended up in Curacao but wouldn't swear to it. If we had had a post on Devil's Island that would have suited Finley just fine. There was another incident where the former deputy head of protocol under the Kennedy administration, one Sanchez-Bonet, having had a disastrous posting in Oporto and causing several resignations was also foisted on me and I had to find the most undesirable Mexican border post possible preferably without a secretary or junior officer. He duly ended up in Ciudad Juarez which was overwhelmed with consular problems, citizens in jail and other such nightmares. Poor guy lasted about four months and then resigned, which was the whole point of the exercise in the first place!
Q: Was there much attention paid to career development at your level? Did they say “We should get so and so a post that gives him more opportunity?”
HARTLEY: That was your guys' department. We were body traders!
Q: We were called career development officers.
HARTLEY: We expected you to take care of those considerations. We were more concerned with getting reasonably qualified bodies and the best we could get into the particular vacancy as quickly as we could. If we were made aware of the desires of an ambassador, of course, this was very much of a consideration, obviously if an ambassador said, “We want this person,” we'd try to get them. I don't think we were as responsive to careers per se. It was our job to get the best we could and particularly for the more difficult posts and/or the more vocal ambassadors. Some posts were impossible - like Tegucigalpa, which was a miserable place with a very difficult ambassador. Morale was appalling. The reputation was such that it was next to impossible to get anybody decent in there.