Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Joseph John Jova
JOVA: So Ambassador Cole left and he didn't even wait for the new term to begin. He said, “The election is the important thing, I want to get back and do my own thing, go to our house in Amherst, his interest in fly fishing, and the two foundations he was on.” They went back and she died shortly thereafter. Mrs. Cole was an equally nice person. I was Charg� d'Affaires again at a most interesting time for the turnover; for the assumption of power by the new government; for the inauguration which is a big thing. People came from all over the world because this was a historic event, Christian Democracy winning through the ballot box. That was an inauguration to beat all inaugurations from the local point of view, great popular enthusiasm, and we named a very high level mission headed by Adlai Stevenson, with his dear friend Marietta Tree, and several others: the president of Cornell University; a mixed bag; the woman who translated Gabriela, the Chilean Nobel Prize winner, David Lloyd Krieger and his wife. We had to work awfully hard on that. Again, it was a successful participation, and I treasure the memory of Governor Stevenson, and of Marietta Tree, who is beautiful. It's easy to forget that, but right there in Chile they knew about him and crowds would go wild applauding every time he stepped outside, partly because he was a U.S. representative, but the fact that it was Adlai Stevenson.
Q: Bob Woodward mentioned that he was astounded at his popularity when he came in, very early on, in Chile when he first arrived.
JOVA: One terrible thing happened, and I quote Frei on this. It was a bad thing. A few months after the presidential election they had the other elections to fill seats in the congress and the senate, and the Christian Democrats swept that too. He said, “This is very bad for me because now we have absolute majority in the congress, and we have the presidency, and that's a most difficult situation to maintain party discipline.” And there you found the Christian Democrats vying for being — one more leftist than the other — for power, looking for their own futures. And I saw what he meant. Of course, they paid for this later.
But I became quite friendly. I knew him so well during the times we were helping him in the campaign. Naturally as president he was a little bit more remote, but I continued to see him whenever I wished, and talked informally with him. His wife was homely as sin strangely enough, but a very good and wonderful person, and most of the people in his cabinet.
Eventually they named a new ambassador, and then what had been paradise with Ambassador Cole, became hell you might say, with Ralph Dungan, who really was the most difficult person for Foreign Service people.
Q: Where did he come from? What was his background?