Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Nicholas A. Rey
REY: We actually lived in his house. It was fascinating. Anyway.
Q: Robert Murphy was another one.
REY: Robert Murphy and there was a guy who was undersecretary of state. Anyway those are the guys. And the whole, because of the society I had grown up with around Philadelphia and the society from which my roots were in Poland, I got very much involved in the mentality of the service view of the world. You know, you are fortunate, and you ought to provide service, etc. The Rockefeller view, and I don't mean Rockefeller over anyone else but that sort of attitude, noblesse oblige view of the world. That was always something that was kind of important to me. If I was going to make money, I was going to make money so I could do something else. It wasn't just to make money. That is what kind of motivated me for whatever reasons.
Q: How did you find the faculty at Princeton? Was the cold war being fought out there. I mean some places the last refuge of Marxism is on some campuses.
REY: I can guarantee you one of my favorite expressions “People's Republic of Cambridge Mass,” having experienced it after I became ambassador. But at Princeton it was not obvious. It never emerged as being a great battlefield or that sort of thing. I am sure it existed, but it was not obvious.
Q: I always think of Princeton as being one of those places.
REY: No, and I was post McCarthy, definitely post McCarthy, so if it had been, it was not obvious the way it would have been in the McCarthy era, there at least. So I can't tell you anything. Anyway, let me go on from Princeton if I may. We are using up your tape. So I had this desire to go into the foreign service because this is the kind of life that appealed to me. So I then decided to go to graduate school. In those days one went to graduate school directly from college as a way of avoiding the draft, but it also became the system as compared to today where you need to work for three or four years before you go to graduate school. So I applied to and was accepted at SAIS [School of Advanced International Studies] at Johns Hopkins.