Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Francis J. Tatu
Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project
FRANCIS J. TATU
Interviewed by: Susan Klingaman
Initial interview date: October 24, 2000
Copyright 2003 ADST
Q: Today is the October 24th, 2000. This is an interview with Francis J. Tatu, a retired Foreign Service Officer. This interview is being conducted on behalf of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, and I am Susan Klingaman. Frank, would you tell me something about when and where you were born and something about your parents?
TATU: I was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1928. My father was an engineer, my mother a housewife, both of French origin although my father had some Irish in him. Our paternal progenitors came to this country from France in 1833.
There were three siblings, all girls, two older than I, one younger. I grew up in Buffalo to the age of 10. The family moved to California when World War II came along because my father wanted to practice his specialty as an aeronautical engineer. He went to work for Lockheed, and our move to Burbank, California, gave me a Pacific orientation. I completed high school at Santa Barbara.
Q: What were some of your interests in high school?
TATU: I was mainly interested in writing. I aspired to be a journalist, or novelist, this was my preoccupation, working with the school papers and yearbooks.
Q: Were you interested in current events at the time?
TATU: Current events, yes. A favorite brother-in-law was in the Army in the Pacific, so I followed the progress of the war closely. I had not much free time as I had to work to help sustain the family, my Father having died when I was 14 years old.
Q: What kind of jobs did you have?