Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Hans N. Tuch
TUCH: Well, before I got there, everybody who was assigned to the embassy had lived in the embassy building, which was located on the Tchaikovsky Ring, and was a 12-story building where our offices and apartments were located. But before I came to the embassy, about two years before I came to the embassy, there was some expansion, and people were assigned apartments by the Soviet Government in other areas. Where we were assigned to was a huge compound with about 800 apartments, which had been built as a diplomatic compound for diplomatic families of all nations, East and West. At that time, for instance, a large wing was occupied by the Chinese, still, because the relationship was still fairly decent at that time. We lived in an apartment in there, which, by Soviet standards, was, I guess, fairly good. We had three bedrooms, and it was spacious, but by American standards—well, the anecdote that I'd like to relate, we arrived on an evening, we were taken up to our apartment, and we walked in. The first thing I looked for was the front door, because I thought I'd been taken up through the back door, you know, where there was a freight elevator and so forth. [Laughter] Of course, we had been taken through the front door, which looked like that kind of an apartment. It was fairly primitive by American standards, but it had been supplied by us, by the embassy, with an American refrigerator, American stove. We had brought washing machine and dryer with us, which were put out into the hallway, because there was no other place to put it.
But at any rate, we knew it was going to be a hardship post, and the wonderful thing about this assignment in Moscow was because it was a hardship post, because everybody lived sort of under the same condition and was up against it, all but the administrative officer, who had a wonderful place in the chancery, we all held together, and the enemy was the administrative officer as much as the Soviets in this respect.
Q: He was FSO?
TUCH: No, he wasn't FSO. He rose very high and very rapidly in the Foreign Service and at one time became the Under Secretary of State for Administrative Affairs. You do know him—Idar Rimestad.
(Unidentified speaker): He was my ambassador in Geneva.
TUCH: Yes, that's where he made his claim to fame. So he kind of focused the animosity that was not directly to the Soviets on himself, deservedly so. But at any rate, we lived in this apartment.
Q: We have heroes and villains in these interviews.