Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Robert L. Nichols
The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project Information Series
ROBERT L. NICHOLS
Interviewed by: Robert Amerson
Initial interview date: August 30, 1988
Copyright 1998 ADST
ENTRANCE INTO USIE (PREDECESSOR OF USIA)
Q: Bob, let's start at the beginning in this review. What induced you to look to USIA or whatever existed at the time as a career?
NICHOLS: I suppose it started during World War II when I served in the Navy in Asia, and at the latter part of the war, I was in China briefly. I sort of determined for the usual idealistic reasons, you know, no more wars, things like that, that I wanted to go into the Foreign Service, the diplomatic service.
So then I had to come back and complete my education at Tufts University, and at Fletcher School for an M.A. degree. Then it was just a question of getting into the Foreign Service. At the time, recruiting was clogged up.
Q: This is what period?
NICHOLS: This is 1950-51. Fletcher people in those days, would make a spring pilgrimage to Washington, and I did that. In the corridors of the State Department I ran into a Fletcher graduate of two years previous, whom I had known as a neighbor in the veterans' housing, Bob McKinnon. Bob is listed on the plaque in the diplomatic entrance to the State Department where all those who died in the service of their country are commemorated. Bob died in Africa about 30 years ago. The end of the Fifties, probably.
Bob said, “What are you doing here?”
I said, “I'm job hunting.”
He said, “Are you interested in the Philippines?”