Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Robert A. Martin
The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project
ROBERT A. MARTIN
Interviewed by: Charles Stuart Kennedy
Initial interview date: September 8, 1994
Copyright 1998 ADST
Q: Today is September 8, 1994. This is an interview with Robert A. Martin being done on behalf of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and I am Charles Stuart Kennedy. I wonder if we could start with you giving a little bit about your background —when and where you were born, a little bit about your family, and then we will move to your education.
MARTIN: I was born in Philadelphia November, 1931. As it turns out, my wife was also born in Philadelphia several years later, although she spent only six weeks there and went on to San Francisco where her family was from. Her father had been stationed at the Navy Yard at that time. My father was also in the Navy as a medical person and had been in the First World War and in the Reserves during the Second World War. My earliest experience was all related to Philadelphia. I used to go in with my dad when he was called out for an emergency operation during the middle of the night when I was eight, nine, ten, eleven years old and watched appendectomies until I thought I could probably do them. When I had a hernia a couple of years ago, I was telling this to the surgeon and he said, “You were probably right. You have seen a heck of a lot more than most of the people that are residents and interns under me.”
I went to school in Philadelphia and then went off for a year to Andover and Yale for four years.
Q: At Yale, what was your major?
MARTIN: I majored in international relations having been interested in that area during my school years. But I never really had any particular focus on the Foreign Service.
I was drafted into the Army just after Labor Day, 1954 and spent two years in the Counterintelligence Corps, most of the time in Germany.
Q: What type of work were you doing in Germany?