Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Hans N. Tuch
TUCH: I think primarily my perception—yes and no. If you take it into consideration as far as picking people for ambassadorial positions, then I think I would agree with you. But when it comes to exerting influence within an embassy or within an operation in a country, I would disagree, because in many, many areas, in many countries, the public affairs officer probably is the most useful and the most important and, in some cases, the best trained person that an ambassador has on his staff. If the ambassador is good and smart, he makes use of these talents and does so.
Q: And if he's a political appointee, he doesn't.
TUCH: That, too, varies. Now, for instance, in my case, I may be an aberration. I worked for my last post, which probably was my most satisfactory experience in the Foreign Service for the last four and a half years, were with Arthur Burns, a political appointee.
Q: You made that point in your letter.
TUCH: Yes, yes. So it's not always that case.
Q: I was making a flat-out statement.
TUCH: Right. Right. [Laughter]
Q: And you'll also notice we've gone far afield from Moscow, which is a technique which you may have to use, because, again, we're on tape here, but it's a tutorial. I feel that if you're dealing in an area which calls for going off on a tangent and profitably so, I think it's important to do so, especially if a point comes up in the course of an interview that the light comes on and you feel that the interviewee has something to contribute in that area, then instead of making a note and coming back to it, I think it's profitable to hit it at that time. It may not flow well, it may not track right, but you're thinking and you're in a good rapport with the interviewer.
TUCH: What one might just mention—and therefore close off this particular part of the interview—is the fact that this is a whole entire subject which has interested me very, very much, this whole area of public diplomacy as part of our foreign policy process. As a matter of fact, I teach two courses right now, one at Georgetown University, which deals with the public diplomacy or the intercultural communications process. The other course that I teach is, actually, to junior officer trainees at USIA in the field of public diplomacy.