Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Nicholas A. Rey
REY: Oh, it was unbelievable sadness and horror. I mean that was just a tough life. On the physical side, people's lives as compared to the life I had, they were just having a terrible time. There was very little progress up to '59. On the other hand, the Poles had compensated for that in the most incredible conversational spirit, charm whatever have you, so I had an actual ball with my friends and cousins and things like that, that I had developed even in the two weeks. It was just terrific. The Poles had a real ability to live through horror by their charm and their wits, unbelievable. So from that standpoint it was quite an experience. So anyway, I spent a lot of time in Brazil. I got to know a little Portuguese, traveled all over Brazil. I find it a fascinating country. So I got into doing things in Latin America if I could, knowing I couldn't do anything in Poland, so I figured Latin America would be a good place. I expanded my interest in Europe to Latin America in graduate school. Now all the time with a view to joining the foreign service. In the fall, I guess, of my second year at SAIS...
REY: '61, yes it must have been. I took the written exam and passeit. Then I flunked the orals.
Q: Do you recall any of the questions or how it went?
REY: Which, the orals?
Q: The orals, yes.
REY: The orals were very much focused on some country in Africa. I was asked, I mean how I would deal with this issue or that issue. I can't remember except I knew I felt I wasn't answering the questions well for whatever reason.
Q: This was a period when our emphasis was on emerging countries iAfrica at that time.