Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Douglas K. Watson
WATSON: Oh, yes, we all left, except for one FSO working in liaison with the Egyptian authorities, and with the Spanish Embassy there, the Government of Spain protecting U.S. interests.
Q: But he would have been under the Spanish flag then.
WATSON: Yes, I suppose he would have been under the Spanish flag, but still credentialed as a U.S. Government official, however that might work. The voyage on a leased Greek vessel across the Mediterranean was very interesting. We gathered around the shortwave radios, and I was able to mingle with the DCM, and the chiefs of this and that section. That was substantial exposure for me. In sum the entire evacuation was an excellent learning experience for me and for out family.
I also found that there were those employees who responded to that crisis very well. Then there were others who just stayed hunkered down at home and out of the way, perhaps not as able to cope as others.
Q: Well, then you arrived in Athens as an evacuee. How were you received there and how were you treated?
WATSON: We were received very well. The ambassador to Athens at that time was Phillips Talbot. He met the ship as we docked in Piraeus. When I realized that the American ambassador was there to meet us, it just seemed very normal to me. How could he possibly not meet us? We had been through quite a trying situation. Along with our family members, we were ensconced in a hotel in an area north of Athens called Kifissia. We were well cared for by the embassy, which was of course understaffed for that kind of an evacuation; they were accommodating as well personnel, other evacuees, from U.S. embassies in the area.
I was put to work right away in the Embassy's Consular Section assisting with evacuees, both private and official Americans.
Q: Did you or any of the other evacuees expect to return to Cairo?