Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Charles J. Montrie
The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project Foreign Assistance Series
Interviewed by: W. Haven North
Initial interview date: November 25, 1996
Copyright 1998 ADST
Q: Charles Montrie, you served with AID for how many years?
MONTRIE: More than thirty.
Q: When did you start?
MONTRIE: I started in 1951 in ECA just at the tail end of the Marshall plan.
Q: You retired when?
MONTRIE: In 1980, but then I worked about four years as a contract employee in Panama and Guatemala. So that makes about 33 years total in AID programs.
Early Years and Education
Q: Well let's talk a little bit first about where you are from.
MONTRIE: I grew up in a small city in Southern Michigan, Monroe, the county seat of the county between Detroit and Toledo Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie. My first interest in economics goes back very young to when the Depression started. I was about nine years old when the banks closed. I remember going down to the corner where you could see the bank where a big crowd of people were milling around the door, perhaps demanding their money. That was my first encounter with economic problems I guess. Then as the depression deepened, it always struck me as very puzzling that so many people should be out of work and the factories running at a very low level of capacity. It seemed crazy that it should be that way. That view persisted and stimulated my interest in economics when I reached college.