Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Donald McConville
On the immigrant visa side, one of the other things that transpired at this time - this happened to be during the period when the baby boom was passing through the school systems in the United States and they had this tremendous expansion of public schools in the United States to deal with that - they were desperate for teachers. It was the sixth preference at that time. A teacher could qualify; if she had a job in the United States, she could qualify under the sixth preference. They'd get those approved. We would get very substantial numbers of sixth-preference petitions for mostly elementary school teachers. They really weren't all that well qualified - they had degrees from the Filipino schools, but their English was faulty and so forth - but these schools were so desperate for them that they would plead and plead and plead to get these visas approved. With this staffing problem, in the last half a dozen months that I was there - which was the summer; I was due out in September - that summer we were losing five officers in the consular section, five American officers, and as of midsummer we still had not had a single replacement named for any one of those five officers. I happened to be the fifth one who was going to be leaving in September. So by this time, our staffing situation was just extraordinarily severe. We had set up appointment systems for immigrant visas. We had two people doing immigrant visas, and each one would do 50 a day, so we'd have 100 appointments a day. Then if they weren't there or they couldn't keep up with that, I would help them out with the overload. As the staffing situation had gotten more and more severe and Consul General Lou Gleek was talking to me about it, I told him, “You know what's going to happen here come late July or August. We are going to start getting a flood of Congressional inquiries about these sixth-preference petitions for these school teachers, because all the school systems are going to be screaming that they have to have these people by the beginning of the school year.” We already had a couple months' or more waiting list of appointments because the backlog just kept building up. So I suggested to him that we be prepared that when we get those we tell the State Department they're going to have to tell these Congressmen and Senators that we're very sorry but we simply don't have the staffing to be able to handle these people, they'll have to take their turn, and we don't make exceptions except for very dire emergencies, and it's likely to be November or December or later when we're going to get to their cases. Well, this in fact did happen, and we started to get flooded with letters and telegrams from Congressmen and Senators, including such people as then Congressman Hayes, who was very, very important to the State Department budget and so forth, very prominent Congressmen and Senators. So I drafted a proposed response to this in which we explained that we were very sorry but, you know, we weren't going to be able to take them out of turn. We sent it off to the Department in a cable and proposed that they respond to these Senators and Congressmen and we sent them the whole list of the names and cases they were involved with, rather than for us to try to do it directly from there. There was this deafening silence. The time was getting shorter and shorter. Then we got a cable one morning. Lou Gleek, the consul general, had had the backing of the ambassador at this point on this thing.
Q: Who was the ambassador?