Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Stuart W. Rockwell
The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project
AMBASSADOR STUART W. ROCKWELL
Interviewed by: Charles Stuart Kennedy
Initial interview date: October 5, 1988
Copyright 1998 ADST
Q: Mr. Ambassador, what attracted you to the Foreign Service?
ROCKWELL: I was at college and in school very much interested in foreign languages. I majored in French and Spanish at Harvard College, and when I graduated from college, it seemed to me that a good place to use foreign languages and to acquire greater skill in them would be the Foreign Service.
Q: Had you been deliberately taking courses that would prepare you for the Foreign Service?
ROCKWELL: No. I only took courses that would increase my knowledge of foreign languages.
Q: How did this translate into getting into the Foreign Service when the time came?
ROCKWELL: I have to confess that when I decided to go into the Foreign Service, I had to go to a so-called “cram school,” as there were certain parts of the Foreign Service examination, such as maritime law and the law in general, and to a lesser extent, economics, that my college education had not covered.
Q: When was this?
ROCKWELL: This was in 1941 that I entered the Foreign Service. I took the exams in 1940.
Q: Did you see the handwriting on the wall, as far as where the world was going at that time?
ROCKWELL: I don't think I had any very profound thoughts at that time. I just wondered what I was going to do with myself next.