Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Joseph John Jova
Q: GLOP, it was basically everybody should serve in different areas.
JOVA: Which I think is good. Mind you, we've also seen people that have been stars in Europe and have fallen on their faces in Latin America, or Africa, or vice versa.
Q: I think the word today is sensitivity, was not high on our agenda. I'm thinking particularly in terms of sex as far as giving females more of an opportunity to serve elsewhere, and also with minorities, especially blacks at the time. How did it strike you at the time, and what were we working on?
JOVA: This had already been “discovered.” There was already a push to get more blacks, and to get more Hispanics, who were handicapped because so few applied; and to send people to the southwest to speak at the colleges; and to try to get more of them to take the test. And the same way with women who have been more integrated. I think we did everything that was possible then, and certainly on women we were taking the lead. There were some things that were unfair with the spousal arrangements, that even those that belonged, that were already in the Service, couldn't take their husbands. Of if they married they would be asked to resign; or it was automatic; or they knew they had to resign; or if not, they wouldn't get their husband's fare paid to India, or wherever it was. I think we fought a very good fight for that, and helped. I think we started what everybody said was impossible, and were very opposed to it, the team assignments.
Q: Yes, dual assignments.
JOVA: The husband and wife, to at least make an effort to have them both work in the same embassy, not one over the other, of course, or, if not, at least in adjoining countries, or adjoining posts. So I think we began the process of enlightenment and we had great battles also with the medical division. There are many unfair things about health problems, and not permitting this person or that person to serve abroad. I can look back with pride on what was done in those fields.
Q: Where did some of the initiative come for this greater sensitivity towards minority rights, and women's rights, would you say? Was this coming from the top?