Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with George L. West
WEST: Increasingly the frustration... If you were in Balkan Affairs, the frustration of dealing with the Soviets in all those countries, Romania, Hungary, and Bulgaria, was considerable.
Now in '48 I was up for transfer, and Wally Barber was very nice and said, “You wouldn't want to go to Zagreb, would you?” This would have been a pretty good assignment for a junior officer, although Zagreb had been the pits for a long time as far as the person stationed there.
I guess it was Ted Achilles who was head of WE, Western Europe, at that time. There was a guy who had been in Luxembourg for years and years, George Platt Waller (who is a book in himself). They had to replace him, so they thought that a nice honeymoon post would be Luxembourg.
I was brought intensively into all the preparations for NATO, the western European union, the western European army, and sent to Luxembourg.
Q: What was your job in Luxembourg?
WEST: I was it, the Charg�. It was a curious thing. Technically, you were really Charg� en Titre, not Charg� ad interim.
The British and the Dutch had the same arrangement. They had a permanent Charg� in Luxembourg, but an Ambassador in Belgium, who was accredited down there.
But, for example, I presented credentials from the Department to the Luxembourg Foreign Minister, my old roommate Bech.
I was also Second Secretary in Brussels, under Admiral Kirk. I made a point of getting up there at least once a month and playing it the way they wanted. Kirk's a delightful guy. He later was Ambassador to the Soviet Union, but he'd been the top American Navy man during the Normandy invasion.
Three of us were sent out simultaneously: Doug MacArthur to Paris; Woody Wallner (who had been out of the service because he'd married an English gal, but was back in) to Brussels; and myself to Luxembourg, in connection with NATO planning.
When I went through Brussels on the way to Luxembourg, you could see one thing that was bothering Kirk.
He'd finally gotten rid of Waller. Waller sort of thought that he was definitely in charge.