Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with William Primosch
PRIMOSCH: We had very good Serbian teachers. I don't know, however, that I necessarily agree with the FSI method even to this day. I think it might be better to just throw people in the water and have them start speaking the language more in country. You might learn more effectively. But I did end up speaking Serbo-Croatian fairly well by the time I left Belgrade, although I really applied myself when I was in country. I think you pick up a bit of the culture through the teachers. But if you haven't actually lived in Yugoslavia, like many foreign cultures, contact with �migr�s is no replacement for actually being in the country.
Q: Who were your teachers?
PRIMOSCH: There was Father Milosevic, who was an Orthodox priest. I can't remember the other two teachers.
Q: You went to Belgrade from '76 to when?
PRIMOSCH: I was there from 1976 to 1978.
Q: What were you doing?
PRIMOSCH: I was a commercial officer. At the time, the State Department had the commercial function in the Foreign Service. It turned out to be an interesting job for a first tour officer because it got you out of the embassy a lot. You interacted a lot with the local businessmen and traveled throughout Yugoslavia. I also participated in a lot of different kinds of business events, which I found unusually interesting for a first tour.
Q: Who was the ambassador at the time?
PRIMOSCH: It started off with Lawrence Silberman, who was a political appointee, a former senior Justice Department official. He was there a year and then he left. Larry Eagleburger, the former Under Secretary for Management, came out from the Department and was there my second year.
Q: I have interviewed Silberman. What was your impression of him? Was he pretty far away from your?