Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with James Moceri
1) Charles Reed, my first consul general, was an “old China hand” who probably resented having been put out to pasture, however much the pleasures of life in the upper reaches of Florentine society. His normal attitude was one of disdain—and often amused contempt—for anything associated with USIS. When the New York City Ballet made its first trip to Europe in 1953 and appeared in Florence (its first city in Italy), the consul general instructed me to prepare a guest list for the reception he was planning. I prepared a list of more than 200 names, representative of the range of our contacts with the artistic, intellectual, political and media circles of Florence. Toward the end of that reception Mrs. Reed, who was normally a quite reserved and sometimes aloof person, came up to me and in a tone of genuine amazement said, “Why haven't I met any of these people before.” A good question!
2) Richard Service, John Service's younger brother and Charles Reed's successor, was a classic example of the cool, reserved diplomat very conscious of his status. That very attitude caused him to come a cropper in an incident involving our Ambassador, Mrs. Luce, and me. Mrs. Luce was scheduled to come to Florence for the opening of the first national exhibit of Italian arts and crafts. USIS Rome failed to inform me of her departure time from Rome. After checking all bases, I and my wife arrived separately at the station and met Mrs. Luce just as she was getting off the train. Dick Service, of course, had been there a half hour waiting for the Ambassador. As the two of them approached his car, he invited her to have “a very quiet, private dinner a quatre. Her clearly audible response was, “I'll accept only if you invite the Moceris.” That evening she drove home her lesson with a vengeance; throughout the dinner she ignored Dick Service completely and addressed all her conversation to my wife and me.
3) Dale Fisher, Service's successor, was a different, younger breed. Several days after his arrival he called me to the consulate and said he wanted to have the benefit of my views of Italian politics. Over a period of several hours in the course of a few days, he tape-recorded my analyses of the Italian and Tuscan scenes.
1956: Moceri's Attempt To Have A Washington Assignment Ends In Taiwan