Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Charles Lahiguera
Q: Who was the consul general at the time?
LAHIGUERA: A fellow named Bob Keel.
Q: Was there a significant amount of students going to the United States at this time?
LAHIGUERA: In fact I had to stay on the Fulbright committee to help select students to go. USIS got me into that.
Q: You know, having gone to the University of Munich and sort of being of the age and all, so many students at the university, particularly the European ones locate in the United States, go through a Marxist stage. I mean was there a significant number who were sort of going through that phase?
LAHIGUERA: I can't say that I found that. I had a lot of German friends.
Q: What were you getting, you personally, but also other people in the embassy who were dealing with this. What was the estimate of Franz Josef Strauss there? He was a pretty dominant figure of Bavarian politics at the time? Did you feel that he was a loose canon?
LAHIGUERA: Well, I would say he probably had aspirations of becoming the prime minister. I can remember we had a lot of focus on the offset agreement. That experience led me away from Europe because I felt things moved glacially there. I didn't find it very interesting. It's hard. I mean working on this the politics of Germany are interesting, but they really don't change very much. They didn't change their relationship with us very much. We didn't have any great differences. So, I really decided that this was not the area that I wanted.
Q: You came back what, in late '66?
LAHIGUERA: As I said personnel was always very nice to me and they asked me where I wanted to go. I said, “Well, I'd like to go to the Caribbean.” I was in EUR and the next thing I knew I had orders to Curacao as a consular officer. Curacao was under the European Bureau. I think that's part of it, but they said they needed me sooner than later than I was scheduled to leave, so I was cut from Munich by about four or five months.