Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with William Primosch
PRIMOSCH: Not really. I had just the vaguest sense of how the State Department works overseas. My original interest was in the Agency for International Development. I can't quite remember why I ended up taking the Foreign Service test and not pursuing an interest in AID, but I did take the test and passed it and had the interview shortly thereafter. The timing was fortunate as there was a big turnover at the State Department. It was hiring a lot of junior officers so I came in fairly quickly after taking the test.
Q: You came in when?
PRIMOSCH: In June of '75.
Q: Do you recall anything about the oral exam?
PRIMOSCH: It was very different than the oral exam now. It only lasted about 50 minutes. There were three examiners. They asked some rather general questions about international events. I read “The New York Times” daily a couple of weeks beforehand, so I felt I was up to date on current events. I recall the examiners asked me several questions about literature. I had read a lot of Russian and German literature, so I was able to converse about literary and cultural developments in foreign countries. But I got the impression that it was a kind of examination that was intended to confirm what they thought—t hat you passed the test and you're okay.
Q: See if you could talk.
PRIMOSCH: Yes. To see if you could talk and if any obvious problems would emerge from the person.
Q: So you came in in '75. What was your A100 course like?
PRIMOSCH: I think fairly useless except as a social event. We had a very big class. I think it was the biggest class ever to have entered—about 120. Henry Kissinger came to our graduation ceremony. But I must say that I don't think it was very useful in terms of what I thought would have been helpful as a junior officer to prepare for a first assignment overseas.
Q: When in '75 did you get in?