Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with James Moceri
MOCERI: Well, Ralph Powell's tour came to an abrupt end in 1958, during the Far Eastern Ambassador's Conference, which that year was held in Taipei. George Hellyer came out. Drumright was then the ambassador. The director of the Agency came out.
Q: By that time, Larson had probably been replaced?
MOCERI: Yes, he'd been replaced.
Q: It was George Allen that came out?
MOCERI: Yes, of course.
Q: He was the new director.
MOCERI: Well, I had asked my wife to set up a luncheon for Allen and Hellyer and the entire USIS staff at our house. We had luncheon there, in a fairly modest house, prepared by Modesta. And we knew, we all sensed at that luncheon, that all was not well. Of course, Powell was there.
What happened? About midway in the conference, Drumright called in George Hellyer and George Allen and said, “I want this man removed and I want him removed immediately.”
Well, then it couldn't be done during the conference, so they asked for a week's time to get him out. Drumright simply could not tolerate him. He wanted him out of his hair. Now, I think that both Allen and Hellyer, reluctantly, had to abide by his request because Ambassador Drumright said he'd take it up with the Secretary of State if they weren't prepared to satisfy his wishes. That marked the end of Ralph Powell's career in Taipei.
Q: I think it marked the end of his career in USIA.
MOCERI: Yes, it was very brutal and very sad, in a way. I'd had terrible difficulties but, you know, I felt sorry for the man. But I later learned that we as a government do not do these things very gracefully. [Laughter] I learned that, particularly, in the Kennedy Administration, by the way.
Q: But then did you become the PAO?