Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Caroline Thompson Simmons
SIMMONS: There was [Philip] Bonsal, Tom Wailes, Julius Holmes, Selden Chapin... They're all gone now, mostly. There were maybe 20 of them.
Q: And the era of Chip [Charles E.] Bohlen and George Kennan?
SIMMONS: Bohlen was a bit younger. I knew Kennan and his wife but not very well, they were overseas for so long, and so many years in Russia. The [Jacob D.] Beams were of that group — I knew him in Geneva in 1931 when I was there on my scholarship. And Marvin Patterson, in Berlin at the same time as the Kennans [and Jake Beam]; she was my closest friend.
It was a very close feeling. On the other hand — don't quote me — it may have made other people feel left outside — those who were out in the field, say, who didn't come back to Washington because of course this was before the rule that you had to come back, you see, and there were people who'd been out in the field forever.
Q: I think that's important to note — that they were “out” for years and years, never came back. Mrs. Blake said she was out for 16 years, never had a Washington assignment.
SIMMONS: That's it. Now of course the situation has improved, more money is provided to send children home for education. None of that used to exist, people couldn't afford to send their children home, so they were brought up in foreign schools. In El Salvador we had the first meeting in the embassy for starting the American school there. I got that going because I had two children, I'd gone around and looked at schools. I often thought afterwards that the Salvadorans seemed to like the American school but I also wondered if they really did because it took a lot of people from their own native schools. It was run as an American educational institution but it was open to everybody.