Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Donald McConville
Here was some guy coming in and saw a lot of your peers, and he could make judgments a little bit broader than the individuals in the embassy who were writing reports. But in any event, he wrote a very favorable report on me, which was very helpful, but he made the recommendation that I be assigned - you normally then went back for another two-year tour, and that completed your sort of junior officer status; that would be in the Department - for just one year, which was almost never done, and then be given training in - my strongest preference by this time, I decided, was Thai language training; I had been fascinated by Bangkok on my trip over there - Thai language and this six-month economic course that had been developed in the Department a few years earlier and was getting very, very high credit. So, to my amazement, that indeed is what happened. So on leaving the Philippines I was assigned to a one-year tour in EB in what was the Office of Maritime Affairs, but I was also being assigned to the six-month economic, or actually it was going to be Thai language training for a year and then six months' economic course, and then the expectation would be assignment in Thailand. In fact, normally if you took a hard language like that a year, you would expect to have at least two tours minimum in your career in that particular country, which was very fine with me.
Q: Before we move on to that, I'd like to come back to the Philippine experience. You must have found yourself under extraordinary pressure from other people within the embassy to please take care of this visa and that visa, because this was sort of the main currency in trade in the Philippines for the embassy.