My brother, George Payne, was able to conduct only one interview in September 1999 before he died the next year of cancer:

SYLVIA CZAYO - Click on View Text link.
Interviewed by: George Payne
Interview date: September 1999

William J. Crockett
Go to: Bibliographic Information
The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project

Interviewed by: Thomas Stern
Initial interview date: June 20, 1990|
Copyright 1998 ADST

CROCKETT:Under Secretary George Ball did. He had an assistant, George Springsteen, who followed developments and informed Ball. Ball discussed them with me and asked about the why and wherefore. It was primarily for information. He never indicated any concern. Nor did he provide any support. That was another mistake I made. I did not involve my principles sufficiently so that they were committed to my programs and initiatives. That was true of CCPS (Comprehensive Country Programming System) and all of my initiatives. I went forward hell bent and didn't take the time to build support from other Seventh Floor principals.

Q: You had an interesting staff working for you. I like to have your comments on some of them. Let's start with Mich Cieplinski, whom you have already mentioned.

CROCKETT: Mich came as a gift from John Rooney and Senator Thomas Dodd. Senator Dodd was on the Internal Security Committee. When I became Deputy Under Secretary, that Committee was headed by Senator Hruska of Nebraska. He was the most conservative of conservatives. That Committee was after State Department for all sorts of alleged security breaches. They got their information from Otto Otepka who worked in our Office of Security. Dodd was the only friend we had and so we cultivated him. Mich was his token ethnic and also Rooney's. They twisted my arm to employ him and so we did.

Q: Let me ask about one more: Marvin Gentile.

CROCKETT: As a result of the Otepka problem, we had to move John O'Reilly, who was then the head of the Security Office. He had gotten in trouble with the Internal Security Committee and there was also an episode in which he and some of his staff had tried to "bug" Otepka's telephone and open his safe.. Otepka, we learned through an FBI investigation, was feeding personnel data to the Internal Security Committee. In any case, O'Reilly and his deputy, Dave Belisle, had taken unauthorized actions against Otepka. Not only were they unsuccessful, but their activities became known to the Internal Security Committee. I had to remove both of them from their jobs. Both were facing possible charges of illegal activities and I was really concerned. I had to appear before the Committee and defend them. Fortunately, no actions were taken and we were able to re-assign both.

"The Ship of State is the only vessel with which I am familiar that leaks mainly at the top", said Secretary Dean Rusk one time when we were directed by the President's office to "shut off those damned leaks to the press!". Often, when investigated, we found that the real source was at or near the top of the Department. Nevertheless, leaks are an irritant to the leadership and every President, sooner or later, becomes so aggravated with people giving out unauthorized information to the press that he reacts very violently. This is a predictable Presidential pattern. "Leaks must be stopped and the leakers found and punished". Aggressive steps are often taken by the President and his staff to stop leaks and find the leakers--including lie detectors, oaths, rigid rules of conduct and other harsh, but mostly futile remedies.

It was obvious to us--the Secretary and his chief assistants--that there was a serious security leak in the State Department. The most sensitive and secret information in any institution is the content of an employee's personnel file, including information collected during a security investigation, even a pre-employment one. Every alleged indiscretion, transgression, error of judgement, every embarrassing incident and every private relationship over time go into a personnel file. In those days, those files were kept from the individual concerned, so that they did not know the contents and had no opportunity to set the record straight. This raw material was getting to Congress and the press. We obviously had a very serious leak.

Recognizing the personal nature of such information and the devastating impact its loose dissemination could have on the lives of people, Congress had passed a law prohibiting any person responsible for the files from revealing their contents to an authorized person. Specifically, members of Congress were listed as being unauthorized recipients, unless the head of an agency made a personal determination to release a file. The early days of the Kennedy Administration came close upon the heels of the McCarthy era. During that sad period in the Eisenhower Administration, the Foreign Service and the State Department were the most scarred of all agencies from the inquisitorial impact of those dreadful days.. A McCarthy henchman had been appointed as head of the Security Office of the Department and under his supervision a witch hunt had ensued that ruined the careers and lives of dozens of State and Foreign Service officials. Few, if any Communists, were found, but the fear of McCarthy hung over the Department like a pall. The chief problems were legitimate career problems--i.e. if an officer predicted the political outcome based on certain policies, would he be punished, regardless whether he had been right or wrong?. The famous example of course were the China experts who warned about the weaknesses of Chiang Kai-shek and the probability of a Communist take-over.

(DAVID DEAN Interviewed by: Charles Stuart Kennedy Initial interview date: July 21, 1998 Mine is a chapter in the book and Nat Bellocchi will write a chapter, David Lanx, Jim Lilley, and a few others will also contribute. I have raised funds for a biography of Chiang Ching-kuo. It has been completed by a colleague in the Foreign Service, Jay Taylor, who is putting the finishing touches on the last draft and will send it up to the Harvard University Press shortly. It is a very interesting book; I have read all the different drafts. It is well written, informative, and it goes over many of the things I may have touched on. I hope Harvard will accept it and it will be a popular book.)  
The same potential problems were encountered by our reporting officer in Cuba, during the last days of Batista. No one was safe from the inquisition.

When the Kennedy administration came to power, many of the hard-line McCarthy disciples were still in control of the Security Office. When I became Assistant Secretary for Administration, the Security Office became part of my responsibilities. It was my job to stop witch hunting, to restore credibility to the political and economic reporting from the field and to ensure above all else that no personnel information from anybody's file was being given to any person without the personal authorization of Secretary Rusk.

But we had a leak. Day after day, I would be called by the Senate Internal Security Committee to be grilled about why certain people had been given security clearances, how the investigations were being conducted and why we had taken certain actions. It was obvious from the questions asked by the staff that Senators had access to our files. Motivation for leaking varies. Sometimes it is done so that a person can feel important and the leak provides self-satisfaction. Sometimes it is done under the guise of "saving the government and the country" from poor policy decisions made or about to be made by superior officials. Other times, leaks occur when someone wants to embarrass other officials. And sometimes, leakers are paid informants. A leak to Congress was a violation of law, but more importantly, it was an indication that someone on our staff was so disgruntled and upset that he/she was taking the opportunity to punish us. Also we were concerned that the individual might leak the information to the press. In any case, the action undertaken by that individual was illegal, but that didn't seem to be deterrent.

So we called The FBI to do an investigation. Some weeks later, we received a report from the Bureau indicating that the leaker was one Otto Otepka, a high ranking official in the Security Office and a hold over from the McCarthy period. He was upset with the new policies and procedures we had instituted and with the new people, especially me, with whom he had to deal. He justified his actions by saying: "I feel it is my higher duty to my country to reveal the security risks that this new Administrations is bringing into government. I am willing to break the law and sacrifice my career to bring this practice to a halt".

The Internal Security Committee of course denied the charges, but the FBI fingered it as being the recipient of the information. The leaks stopped and the Committee's inquisitorial attitude towards us softened. As a result we developed a more collaborative and less adversarial relationship with the Committee which served both the Congress and the Department well. As for Otepka, we fired him, but his appealed dragged on forever. Finally the Department's action was sustained. But he was subsequently appointed by the Nixon administration to another security office position in the government. I had a close association with Dick Helms, who at that time was the Deputy Director of CIA. We met two or three times a year to discuss our mutual problems. We used the CIA's communications facilities. During one of our discussions, he offered to give us Marv Gentile as our Security Officer. He was a down-to-earth, non-bureaucratic and courageous person. He was not afraid to do what was right. He was a breath of fresh air in our security program and he made the program a professional arm of the Department.

Q: While on the subject of personnel, I would like to remind you of Abba Schwartz, who was the controversial Administrator of the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs. I believe that was somewhat of a misnomer because Security had been split from that Bureau before your appointment as Deputy Under Secretary. How did Schwartz come to the Department?

CROCKETT:  A man by the name of Haynes was the Administrator before Schwartz. He was not very effective. Schwartz came to the Department because Congressman Francis Walters of McCarran-Walters Act fame insisted on the appointment when he was instrumental of passing the Refugee Relief Act. Walters demanded that appointment in exchange for his cooperation and got it. So Abba was Walters' man in the Department. I didn't know Schwartz before these events. Someone in the Bureau may have because of Schwartz' involvement in refugee matters. Of course, Schwartz became Francis Knight's boss. Knight was the Chief of the Passport Division, having been there for many years following another legend, Mrs. Shipley. Like her predecessor, Knight had tried to maintain a separate entity for her Division, barely recognizing the authority over her of even the Secretary of State. She operated directly with her Hill connections and they protected her.  She never bowed to the authority of the Administrator not mine. I occasionally visited her and talked to her; theoretically she was part of my responsibilities. Had I stayed longer, we would have broken up the Bureau and had the constituent parts report directly to me, as we had done for in the case of the Bureau of Administration. Interestingly enough, she then may have ended up as she wished: the head of an independent program. I must say that her power stemmed from her ability to meet congressional demands for passport services to their constituents. She had inherited a fairly ineffective operation and to her credit, she got it organized and stream-lined. During her stewardship, passports began to be issued by post offices. She did a good job, but she was completely lacking in loyalty and in any sense of team-work. Although never proven, it was suspected that she worked with certain Congressmen to pass legislation which would have made the Passport an independent agency of the government.



Interviewed by: Charles Stuart Kennedy
Initial interview date:
September 19, 1995

GILLESPIE: In January, 1965. I had continued to study international affairs during 1963 and 1964. As it turned out, I didn't get the master's degree but did a lot of study with some interesting people.

So on January 4, 1965, to be precise, I took the oath of office as an FSR here in Washington. I had flown back to Washington from the West Coast right after New Years, got off the plane, settled down in Washington, and went through Regional Security Officer (RSO) training under a fellow named G. Marvin Gentile, who was then the head of the Office of Security.

Interviewed by: Self

The Visa Office

My new assignment was in the Written Inquiries branch of the Special Consular Services Visa Office, and involved preparing written replies to visa inquiries from members of Congress. The Visa Office was headed by Julio Arias, a veteran foreign service officer. It was a good opportunity to reacquaint myself with visa operations and procedures. I became familiar with substantial changes in immigration legislation emanating from the Eastman and Rodino immigration bills. I worked with three qualified foreign service officers, Steve Dobrenchuk, Ed Martinez, and Marvin Groeneweg. Correspondence with Congress was first screened by the State Department's office of the Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations.

On July 23, due to the international crisis in Lebanon, I was temporarily detailed to the Beirut task force. We received many inquiries from American citizens whose relatives left for neighboring countries, such as Syria, Egypt, and Greece. I had to contact American families on behalf of stranded Lebanese families who wanted to seek refuge in the United States. I also handled many visa inquiries involving residents of the People's Republic of China, who wanted to emigrate to the United States.

January 12, 1977, I attended a special staff meeting in the Visa Office, presided over by Director Julio Arias. Leonard Walentynowicz, administrator of the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs (the post was later renamed Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs), came to bid us farewell. He told us that his successor, Barbara Watson, would come on board in a few weeks.

President Ford stayed the course until the end of his term. In his last State of the Union address he asked for additional military expenditures to offset the Soviet military buildup.

On January 26, in a meeting with Judy Schmidt in Personnel, I learned of a possible assignment for me in Antwerp, Belgium. This was confirmed on February 16. It was a choice assignment, given the fact that they needed a consular officer with fluency in Flemish and French to do substantial political reporting in Flanders.


Interviewed by: Charles Stuart Kennedy
Initial interview date:
May 26, 1988

Q: I was asked by someone who had worked with you, Tom Stern, to ask you about your dealings on the management side with Frances Knight, the Director of the Passport Office. This is sort of a peculiar institution within--really not even within the State Department--almost outside the State Department.

UPSTON: Yes, I know Tom Stern. He is a fine officer with a distinguished career in management, political/military and DCM in Korea. His critics used to refer to him as the head of the "Stern Gang! He evoked more fear than Crockett. I moved on from the Management Planning Staff to spend a few years as a member of the permanent U.S. delegation to the United Nations in New York. In those days the U.S. representative was Arthur Goldberg, and once again within the framework of this idea that John Kennedy had institutionalized I was assigned there as a young Republican. And then in 1968 I resigned and was out of government for a bit. President Nixon was as you remember elected--

Q: 1968. He came in in 1969.

UPSTON: Yes, and not long into his administration I received a telephone call from Bill Macomber, Ambassador William B. Macomber, Jr., who was the new Nixon administration Deputy Under Secretary for Management, the old Crockett position. And Bill Macomber asked me if I would come to Washington and see him. And in those days the head of the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs was a very distinguished black lady named Barbara Watson. Barbara Watson was retained by the Nixon administration even though she was a Democrat and had come to government as a political appointee in the Johnson administration.

The head of the Passport Agency, Frances Knight, reported to Barbara Watson. Frances Knight was and is a very conservative, arch conservative individual who had very close ties to J. Edgar Hoover, and she looked upon the Passport Agency as her own bailiwick that she had a proprietary responsibility for. She conceived herself to be somewhat of the czarina, the czar of the Passport Agency, and she wanted absolutely nothing to do with Barbara Watson and the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs. She felt that if she needed to report to anybody it should be to the President or perhaps to the Secretary of State but that she had a higher calling which was primarily based on security, national security motivations and her feeling that there were a number of people within Washington and within the system who were really working against the national security of the United States and that she was the protector of that national security.

So, there was a very real management problem, and Frances Knight, since she had been in that position for some many years, had a lock on the conservatives in the House and in the Senate.

Q: I think she came in around 1955.

UPSTON: Yes, I think so. So she had stronger relationships with the conservatives in the House and the Senate than anybody in the State Department, including the Secretary of State, and her congressional relations was stronger in many respects than the bureau that dealt with congressional relations in the State Department. So she was a very real power to be reckoned with.

So Elliot Richardson who was then the Under Secretary of State and Bill Macomber did a rather Machiavellian thing. They created something called the Secretary of State's Committee to Facilitate International Travel. They placed as the Chairman of that committee, Leverett Saltonstall, who had been for many years, as you remember, a very highly regarded United States Senator from the state of Massachusetts, a person who was universally respected upon the Hill and truly a gentleman of the old school. He was the Chairman. In order to satisfy the security concerns, another member of the Secretary of State's Committee to Facilitate International Travel was John McCone, who had been Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Another highly regarded individual in Washington who was on that committee was Mr. Justice Tom Clark, who had retired from the Supreme Court at the time that his son had been named Attorney General.

Q: Ramsey Clark.

UPSTON: Yes, because Mr. Justice Tom Clark didn't think it was appropriate for him to be on the bench while his son was Attorney General, and so Mr. Justice Clark was doing the kinds of things that a former Supreme Court Justice does, but he was no longer on the bench. And then Charles Tillinghast, who was at that time the Chairman of TWA, Trans World Airlines, and the other person I remember was John Haynes, who had been Special Assistant to John Foster Dulles and had been the head of the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs during the period when John Foster Dulles was Secretary. So it was a fairly high powered group, and Bill Macomber asked me if I would be the Executive Director of it.

Q: That's good. Could you just raise your voice just one minute.

UPSTON: Yes, is it working?

Q: Yes, this is Side B of Tape 1 of an interview with Ambassador John Upston on May 26. Okay.

UPSTON: There were two major problems. One was the bureaucratic internal problem between Frances Knight as the Director of the Passport Office and her bureaucratic superior Barbara Watson as Administrator of the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs. And that was an internal bureaucratic problem.

So what Elliot Richardson and Bill Macomber did was to basically put this very prestigious committee of distinguished Americans and me as the sacrificial lamb in the middle of this bureaucratic battle between these two ladies. And the title seemed very glamorous, Secretary of State's Committee to Facilitate International Travel, but it was basically a way to get this problem off their backs.

But there was another problem in that the volume of passports was increasing. People were not getting their passports on time. They would write letters to the Congress, to their Congressmen, with all sorts of horror stories of how they had to cancel trips and this, that and the other thing. Other problems were arising because of the heavy volume. And Frances Knight said basically, yes, there is a problem and it's the State Department's fault, and if they would just leave me alone, I would solve this problem. What she wanted was for the Passport Agency to be based on a revolving fund so that she would have complete control over the money and that the appropriation would not come through the State Department. She basically wanted to have complete autonomy.

I was given an office and a secretary and a deputy, and I selected a Foreign Service officer named Dave Betts, who went on to hold a number of important positions in the consular field. The committee, as one would suspect because of the distinction of the people who were on it, was fairly passive, and it was very clear to me as the sacrificial lamb that I was going to have to come up with some sort of solution to this. I remember having lunch with John McCone, who had been head of the CIA, at the Metropolitan Club, and at lunch I remember saying, "Why don't we work out an arrangement so that American citizens can apply for passports at U.S. post offices?" That way we're not creating new government facilities, and rather than people coming in to New York City and standing as they were at that time in line for hours and hours and hours, they could go to their post office in Long Island or in Connecticut or where have you and apply for a passport.

It also seemed to me to be a little absurd for the actual passports to be 'manufactured' at passport offices in very expensive real estate. The passport office in New York at that time--and I think still is--was right on Fifth Avenue in very expensive space. So I advanced the idea of having passport manufacturing plants that would be close to airports in non-expensive real estate, and so the passports would be applied for at post offices throughout the United States and then the applications sent to these passport manufacturing plants and the actual passport prepared and issued. That was it seemed to me a good solution to the problem of these long lines at passport agencies and a way to utilize existing U.S. government facilities without creating any more.

This recommendation was actually made to the Secretary of State though the Secretary's Committee and was adopted. Frances Knight was terribly upset because she wanted to have autonomy and wanted to have her own revolving fund and this recommendation went against her grain. She reported me to the White House and said there were very serious national security risks in this whole idea. And I was called over to the Executive Office Building, a meeting presided over by Egil "Bud" Krogh, who was then Assistant to President Nixon. The room was filled with very stern security type people, and it was clear when I walked in that there was a chill in the room and that I was on the carpet. And they were very forthright in saying that it had come to their attention that perhaps there were some national security issues in terms of what I had been doing with this committee. So I outlined the whole thing to this group of people, and of course they came to the same conclusion that we had that in fact it helped national security because it made the whole process far more efficient and there simply were no adverse national security issues here at all.

Because of the fact that this involved a new approach, it required legislation. Wayne Hayes, who was then in the Congress and a Democrat, represented the administration in support of this legislation. And H.R. Gross of Iowa, Congressman Gross, represented Frances Knight in opposition to the legislation. The legislation passed the Senate with a voice vote with no opposition or no difficulty. In fact, I don't believe there were even any hearings. The situation in the House was much different because Frances Knight was actively lobbying against the legislation. H.R. Gross of Iowa was mobilizing all of the conservative support, and there was a debate, a long debate in the Congress over this.

There was one rather amusing thing which I recall when a liberal or moderate very distinguished Republican Peter Freylinghausen rose on the floor of the House of Representatives and said that he was associating himself with H.R. Gross because he did not feel that it was appropriate for somebody to take the oath of allegiance to the United States in a post office.

But in any event the legislation passed, and it's been a certain satisfaction to me because although it was no major contribution to public service, literally millions and millions of Americans have benefited and have had a convenience as a result of what we--

Q: I wouldn't belittle what you accomplished. Let me ask did you ever talk face to face with Frances Knight?

UPSTON: Oh, yes.

Q: How did this work?

UPSTON: We used to get together for Mai Tais over at Trader Vic's, and she liked me and she felt that I was a good solid Republican, and she felt that in the final analysis that she could manipulate me so that I would make whatever recommendation she would like. After I came up with this rather independent and unique solution to the problem that did not fit into her scheme of things, there was a very decided chill. And in fact, after the legislation was passed and the agreement was signed in the Secretary of State's office by Secretary William P. Rogers and by Red Blunt, who was then the Postmaster General of the United States, Frances Knight refused to attend that meeting. The bureaucratic problem between Frances Knight and Barbara Watson was never resolved until Barbara Watson left the post and Frances Knight retired.

Q: Forcibly retired.

UPSTON: Yes, right, although I'm not sure. Despite everything, Francis Knight was a patriot. She had the strength of her convictions. Francis was a loyal American who served for many years. However she was not a company officer. Not a team player. A free spirit which made her a "pain in the neck" to the system.

Q: We're trying to present to the researcher in later years how things work. You came in as a Republican, but from what you're saying--and I think this is true in many cases--the Republican side was mainly, you were basically a manager working on a problem, but whatever credentials you had was really handy in dealing with maybe whatever administration was in or out of power and in Congress. It was really dealing--you didn't come in with Republican set and you were going to do things the Republican way as opposed to the Democratic way, but it helped you be a manager by warding off attacks in a way. Or not?

UPSTON: Yes, I think that's accurate. And it's interesting. Remember this was the Nixon administration. It was obviously a Republican administration. There was a management problem, and the person who represented the Nixon administration's point of view because this approach to things was approved obviously by the White House and by the Secretary of State, but the person who represented the administration in the legislation was a Democrat--Wayne Hayes of Ohio, Congressman Hayes.

There was still in those days more of a feeling of bipartisan foreign policy and Republicans and Democrats working together in order to achieve objectives. I do not think there is that kind of feeling today to the extent that there was at that time and particularly in the Kennedy and the early part of the Johnson administration. Of course, there was deterioration in terms of bipartisan foreign policy directly related, as you remember, to Vietnam.

Q: So this actually cut across--

UPSTON: Cut across, right.

Q: --party lines. We do want to move on to whenn you were Ambassador to Rwanda, but you had some interesting assignments. You were with the United Nations. I wonder in brief what sort of things were you doing with the United Nations.

Interviewed by: Edward Dillery
Initial interview date:
March 11, 1999

HARVEY FELDMAN: There were people in the government who knew that that would have to happen. One of the principal people who recognized the future was Chiang Ching-kuo. That is a whole story in itself. In fact a friend of mine, Jay Taylor, former FSO, has written a book on Chiang Ching-kuo; I saw the manuscript which was 850 pages long. It is being published by Harvard University Press and will be out by the end of this year. It is a marvelous book. I want to talk at great length later about Chiang Ching-kuo because he more than anyone else laid the foundation for the democratization of Taiwan.


Chiang Ching-kuo was a very fascinating character. There is an absolutely marvelous biography which I read in manuscript which is to be published at the end of this year. It was written by Jay Taylor, a former FSO. He is a Chinese language officer; he did a lot of interviewing and had access to a lot of personal papers. It is a throughly marvelous book.


Interviewed by: Charles Stuart Kennedy
Initial interview date:
May 26, 1995

Q: You were on the Korea desk from '75 until when?

PHILIP R. MAYHEW: '77. The Korea desk certainly was a relief, to be in some place that was active and much more interesting. I, of course, had no Korea experience. I was the deputy there to Dan O'Donohue, who had a great deal of Korean experience. I dealt with the military and economic issues. It was, I think, a very interesting period.

After Dan left, in the latter part of that period, I served with 2 more country directors, Ed Hurwitz and Bob Rich.

I enjoyed dealing with Koreans and enjoyed being on the desk, but spent most of my time in bureaucratic battles here. I worked with people from other agencies who were really quite amenable most of the time. And, of course, dealing with DOD on Korea is much easier than dealing with DOD on arms control issues.

Q: Were you there during the coming-in of the Carter administration, January of '77?

MAYHEW: I was there until about mid-'77. I think we had either Jay Taylor or Mike Armacost sitting in our office for a long time doing a study, not on whether you should remove US troops, but on how to remove them.

Q: This is, of course, a promise that Jimmy Carter had made.

MAYHEW: He had unfortunately made this promise, it took about 6 months to pull back from it.

Q: It horrified the hell out of those of us who were sitting there.

MAYHEW: It's certainly another instance, like so many presidential candidates who promise to move the Tel Aviv embassy over to Jerusalem, during the campaign. It takes you a while to step back from the mistake of it.

Q: He was a counselor, wasn't he?

KENNETH N.SKOUG: He was Counselor in the Department of State. And he was a tough man, so we soon had the counselor's office involved, and the counselor himself. The counselor had a meeting with Elliott Abrams and Elliott found himself constrained to say, yes, we would let the charter flights fly directly subject to certain conditions. We weren't able to fly in our stuff into Havana to facilitate the interests section, but the Cubans were going to be able to fly to Indianapolis. This was one problem. We did not let them know, however, that they could fly into Indianapolis. And Elliott Abrams and I went to Indianapolis, met the mayor, talked to Quayle and Luger, who were the Indiana senators, and did everything we could and finally did discourage them from inviting Fidel Castro. He did not get invited. But there was no way that we could prevent those charter flights. The only thing we could leave was to the issue in doubt.

Secondly, the other issue we had going on, the other sanction we had going, was a hint that we might close the interests sections, which was really an ARA threat because although Abrams supported it, Armacost did not. I wasn't getting much support at this point from top levels of the Department of State. They went ahead and "announced" Curt Kamman's position, and soon people were bidding for it, so it would be quite clear this would leak out, and the Cubans would know that we weren't thinking seriously of closing the interests sections. Under NSC pressure, though, the Department of State finally had to state that we wouldn't fill the position until this impasse on the charter support flights was solved. That would not really be much of a tactic because what would the Cubans care? As long as the post existed, their post would exist. What they had in mind was that their post would exist, that Sánchez Parodi, who was a very effective operator in Washington and in the United States, would be able to continue to do that. It would only be the threat to close the interests sections which would have an effect. We weren't allowed to threaten it, so I just sort of implied it. And it was hanging out there. Well, I went to Havana in April of 1987 with these two administrative officials, again, leaving the inference we might have to close down the post. Well, Alarcón invited me to meet, and we did have a discussion. And he wanted to arrange a session to talk about the problems the Cuban interests section had. You talk about your problems, we'll talk about our problems. I knew that that was a can of worms because we had been doing all sorts of things to cut down the Cuban Interests Section and the Cuban Mission to the United Nations since the Reagan Administration, and to undo those things just to get charter supply flights into Havana was out of the question. Again, the supply flights' going to Havana was something like Berlin. It was as procedure that had been followed from the beginning, but it wasn't written down anywhere. It wasn't confirmed. And in the Luers- Torres agreement, which set up the interests sections, that element is missing. I called Bill Luers on the phone and I said, "Didn't you provide for supply flights?" And he said, "Yes, yes we did, and we talked about it, but it just wasn't written down." And so I told Sánchez Parodi that Luers had made clear that the supply flights were an agreement that we had, but Sánchez Parodi denied it. And so since there was no written record, I couldn't prove it. Anyway, the conversation with Alarcón may have had some effect, but not enough immediately. So then it was Armacost's idea, and he was right, to call in the Swiss. The Swiss were, after all, our big brothers in Havana, and the Swiss ambassador there was a fine man. I liked him very much and got along with him quite well. We first called in the Swiss ambassador here, explained the situation and asked them to take it up with the Cubans in Havana. An hour before the Swiss ambassador was to go into the foreign ministry in Havana on this matter, the foreign minister of Cuba, Malmierca, a higher level than Alarcón, called in the head of the interests section and said, in effect, that we could perhaps have access reciprocally to the tarmac if Sánchez Parodi could have it here. Well, he didn't need it. He'd already laughed about it. They didn't fly the pouch directly in to him. Furthermore, they didn't send in automobiles from Cuba. So this was a way out. In other words, this was another sign that they were coming around. And it was probably because we got the Swiss engaged. Anyway, maybe they realized that this was encumbering relations, but they then began to permit supply flights to come in. There was no agreement on this, but they just dropped the restriction in practice. And so that issue gradually was resolved, but a new one came along immediately to replace it. On July 6, 1987, Ramón Sánchez Parodi came in of his own accord, which was rare, to see me for a chat. So we chatted. And I said, what about this idea that I had mentioned to him before. I spelled out a very restricted meeting between Kozak and myself and Alarcón and Arbesú to see if we couldn't talk our way out of this impasse, and Sánchez Parodi claimed to see some possibilities in this. But later in the day, our interests section called. They had learned finally what Castro had meant when he had made that remark to me in 1985 about the impermissible behavior of our interests section. The Cubans had on film all sorts of strange activities by people from the U.S. interests section - and you could imagine who they might be - over a long period of time. These persons had been dealing with Cuban operatives who were supposedly coopted but who were really double agents, and they had it all on film. And they began then to reveal it. The reason they did it at just this time was that a defector who knew about this had flown to the United States. So they knew that our intelligence people in Washington knew that the Cubans were wise to their tricks. The defector knew that they were on film. So then the Cubans began to run these films on television in Havana, showing everybody. They went on beyond the real operatives. They showed some persons and listed by name whoever visited Cuba, just about everybody, to make the impression that everyone who had been sent down there over the past five years was a spy. They ran a picture of Castro in Granma, the Party newspaper, supposedly lecturing to me on the subject, but the Castro I met wasn't even wearing the same uniform. The Castro I met was very polite and courteous. But anyway, this was a new issue that had come up, the nefarious behavior of the CIA would be revealed to the public.

Q: Were you getting any intimations all during this time that the CIA was sort of running wild there, because it was close by, and they get involved in these things without really thinking about the repercussions? Did you get that?

SKOUG: We didn't think so. The covert operations people we talked to never mentioned these things. We didn't feel anything. Ferch should have been informed of all the things going on, but he obviously wasn't, nor was Kamman, as a successor. If this program had ever enjoyed the backing of the Department of State, it was unknown to me, unknown to anyone as far as I know. So anyway, they reveled the supposedly nefarious operations, and relations just seemed to be getting worse. At about this time, the will to resist in the Department of State was about cracking. You had a new guy heading refugee affairs who wanted a refugee program in Cuba. The Visa Office wanted to issue visas. Humanitarian affairs were in the hands of Assistant Secretary Richard Schifter, and Schifter was worried about the former political prisoners in Cuba. I haven't got to human rights yet, but we were concerning ourselves to a great extent with human rights. He though that it was not serving human rights if we didn't take these former political prisoners as refugees.

Maybe at this point I should back up and discuss two issues that are running parallel to these things. One is human rights violations in Cuba, and the other was the handling of ex-political prisoners or refugees, the people the Cubans called the reclusos in Cuba. The refugee issue was festering. The human rights issue was closely related to it. It was the rights of these people, but particularly people who were in Cuban jails or running the risk of being in jail, people like Ricardo Bofill, who was at the time the chief thorn in the side of Castro on human rights and spending his time in and out the French Embassy trying to avoid incarceration, and Elizardo Sánchez Santacruz, who is still active in his fight in Cuba, who was then on Bofill's committee. I made a speech in St. Louis in October of 1986 - that is, after the failure of the Mexico City negotiations - called "A Spotlight on Cuba," which I devoted entirely to the problem of human rights violations, the deaths that had taken place in Cuba, and the people who had been in prison under unspeakable conditions for long periods of time and called for throwing a spotlight on this and the shortcomings of the Cuban Government. The next month we began organizing to take up for the first time at the Human Rights Committee in Geneva the question of Cuba's violation of human rights. Strange to say, this had never been done before, under the Carter Administration or even the Reagan Administration. It had never been done before. In 1987, we took it up for the first time, and surprisingly, our delegation was led by a man named E. Bob Wallach, who wrote his initials in small letters. It was very funny to see his name, e. bob wallach.

Q: He got involved in a domestic scandal.

SKOUG: "WedTech." And this came about just at the time, in 1987, so it didn't help our cause. He included on his delegation Armando Valladares. Now Armando spoke very little English. Here was the first case of a successful man on a U.S. delegation speaking only Spanish. I don't know whether Armando had acquired U.S. citizenship by this time or not, but there he was on the delegation and very effective because he was able to cite his own experiences. So anyway, in early 1987 we took the human rights issue up in Geneva with some success, despite the fact that at the beginning we had almost no support. We had no support from the Western Europeans, who were outraged at our talking about Cuba at all, who always had regarded our relations with Cuba as a bilateral affair in which they didn't have to get engaged. However, we were able in the end to win the support of most of the Western European countries. What we couldn't win was the support of the Latin American countries. They stuck together with Cuba. Finally, the issue was so close that an Indian procedural resolution was passed by one vote, which prevented our substantive resolution from coming to a vote and thus defeated it. But despite the fact we had lost, we had at least aired the subject in Geneva, and it was very embarrassing for the Cubans. It was one more issue in 1987, the year that they said was the nadir of our relationship.

On the refugees themselves, we had a continuing running dispute with INS. We felt the public pressure was so great that we should be interviewing some of the prisoners on a list which the Catholic bishops had taken to Cuba. The Catholic bishops went down to Cuba in 1985, the time I went down, and presented a list of names as Jesse Jackson had done, only longer. Castro took that list and made up his own list, cutting back the number that the Catholics wanted by two-thirds, substituting about 44 of his own names who were essentially, most of them, soldiers in the Batista army who had surrendered in 1958 and who were accused of war crimes against the Cuban revolutionaries, whether rightly accused or wrongly. Castro, in effect, said that he would permit persons on that list to go, and it was called the "Catholic Bishops' List," but of course it was the Catholic bishops' list as amended by Castro. Okay. Well, we had a fight with INS on this. We had a fight with INS on the subject of the next of kin of the 26 prisoners who had come out with Jesse Jackson in 1984. These things were still going on, INS refusing to countenance them and we wanting a program. We finally obliged INS, and this was done through the National Security Council, to send an inspector down to Havana to interview these people. As soon as we did this, Castro made his next move. He said we would have to take everybody on the list, otherwise no one would be released. That, of course, undercut the right of INS or any U.S. Government official to weigh on the bona fides of a refugee. But since these people had been suffering so long and since the INS inspector was a very reasonable man (and we sent a team of experts down to help him), finally those people were released and came to the United States in late 1986, a large group that came directly to Miami. We were all there to meet them, of course, and they were almost exclusively old people. There were two or three young children running around, and I remember Elliott Abrams and I remarked that for the older people it won't make much difference - I mean there isn't much of their life left, it will be a little more pleasant for them, but their lives are pretty much over - but for the young people it's totally different: they'll grow up free. But unfortunately there were only a few of those.

So anyway, we had this issue which INS had blocked. The State Department's rationale was that if we didn't do this we would lose all support for our main objective, which was to restore the migration agreement of 1984. We couldn't have a regular refugee program and we couldn't have immigration as normal or visas as normal until we got the agreement back, but if we didn't do something we would lose everything. INS never could quite see that point. That's why they always had to be bulldozed, and Alan Nelson and Craig Raynsford felt that we weren't tough enough on the Cubans. They seemed to believe that if we got tough enough and wouldn't take anybody in, then the Cubans would give way. We were convinced the Cubans would not give way and we would just lose all credibility.

The situation in 1987, despite this, became worse. The pressures were immense, and there was an occasion in July of 1987 when Leo Cherne, head of the International Rescue Committee, came with Frank Calzón to see Elliott Abrams. I participated in the meeting. Their position was that we ought to be taking all these people out. It was a crime against humanity to leave any political prisoners. We should disassociate the issue from the Mariel excludables. Abrams and I had agreed with Calzón earlier that we would start with the people who had been in jail 10 years or longer and have a prioritized program which we could control. Calzón had said he thought that made sense. Now he wanted more. He wanted a program without prioritization in which we would take everybody. In the meantime, the Secretary of State had lunch with Armando Valladares, who persuaded him that we should be taking in people, and Shultz was willing to take anyone who had been in jail eight years or longer. This was without getting the migration agreement back.

So things were coming to a climax within the Department of State. Elliott Abrams met with two or three of his peers who had been antagonistic to our policy and who had a proposal to change it abruptly. To my amazement Elliott gave in. Apparently Cherne and Calzon had persuaded him. The proposal was for a large and unstructured refugee program which would be disassociated from the migration agreement. Abrams asserted that it was the only way to head off the Lautanberg Bill, a piece of legislation in the U.S. Senate also inspired and probably drafted by Frank Calzon, which would not only have resumed refugee processing but would have removed all restrictions on visa issuance. The bill was advancing in the Senate and, if enacted, would have completely eliminated any hope of persuading Cuba to restore the migration agreement and to take back the Mariel excludables. When I asked Abrams why he had changed his mind about our proposal, he said coldly: "Your policy wasn't working."

The four assistant secretaries concerned - for ARA, humanitarian affairs, consular and refugee matters - then sent to Secretary Shultz a memorandum asking approval of their proposal. Noting that it lacked a legal opinion, Secretary Shultz sent it back for one. This allowed Mike Kozak, with my support and cooperation, to draft a rebuttal spelling out why it was essential to maintain our present stand if we hoped to restore the migration agreement. We had to hold firm longer than the Cubans could. Secretary Shultz agreed with us and turned down the proposal that would have jettisoned our program. This ultimately saved the day and made it possible for us to oblige Cuba to end its suspension of the migration agreement.

At that point, we had a lunch with the Cuban-American National Foundation. They had wanted the lunch. Joan Clark, head of Consular Affairs, hosted the lunch, and her deputy Ambassador Mike Newlin attended along with Kozak and me, the main operatives of INS - not Nelson but one of his top deputies, plus Raynsford, Jorge Mas, and the people at the head of the Cuban-American National Foundation. They explained that they wanted a voluntary program where they could take out some former political prisoners who were in third countries. We had no problem with that. They wanted some INS support for that. INS had no problem with that. These were people who were not in Cuba. In turn, we read the Cuban-Americans a statement in which Kozak and I explained what we were trying to do, also for the benefit of INS sitting there listening, and we felt that we could win, that we would have to hold on, why we were doing the sanctions, please don't support the Lautenberg Bill. Well, the Cuban-American National Foundation agreed to withdraw its support for the Lautenberg Bill. They are the ones who had written it. Calzón had written the Lautenberg Bill. Calzón wasn't at this meeting, by the way. He had been separated from the Cuban-American National Foundation by that time. He would not have gone along with us, but the others did. Jorge Mas did. What position they really took on the Lautenberg Bill I don't know because it eventually passed. But by the time it did, it was overtaken by events.

So then this was the situation at about the beginning of November 1987. We were about to have another meeting with the Russians in London. Elliott and I would fly over to London and meet with a Russian delegation - a real Gorbachev delegation this time, a mmuch better delegation than we met with before. But before we did, we were using the official informal channel between myself and Jay Taylor, who by this time was the principal officer in Havana, saying again that we would be happy to meet with the Cubans on the basis we had said. Taylor replied that Alarcon had told him they would be willing to meet in Havana with Kozak and "anyone he wanted to bring along." By the way, a brief digression: I had had a nasty meeting with Alarcón in Königswinter in Germany some months before at a meeting organized by a foundation of the Free Democratic Party, the Naumann-Stiftung. The theme of the seminar was Cuba and Europe. Elliott Abrams was invited along with former U.S. Congressman Mike Barnes, to represent the United States. Elliott passed the duty on to me, and I went. Alarcón was there hoping to burnish Cuba's reputation with the Germans, and particularly with top officials of the German Foreign Ministry, which was led by a Free Democrat. And I was, of course, put in a difficult position because there were a lot of people there who were asking questions about Cuba. Why was Cuba hauled up before the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, and so forth? So anyway, hard realities had to come out. I was denounced by name by Alarcón for trying to throw a monkey wrench in Cuba's foreign policy. It was a very nasty meeting. It didn't come out too badly for the United States because I was able to explain - I did speak German - to people what the realities were. But it didn't help me with Alarcón. That was probably another reason why he was not anxious to see me in November.

So anyway, Alarcón had told Jay Taylor that said Kozak could come down to Havana with anybody he wanted to bring along and talk about all sorts of issues including radios, but not mentioning migration. Taylor thought this was a big step forward. I responded that it wasn't. The venue was wrong. We would not come to Havana to talk about these things. And the subjects were wrong. We were willing to talk about two things, the things we had talked about in Mexico - migration and radio broadcasting. The long and short of it after a series of these meetings was Alarcón accepted that abbreviated agenda. We offered three sites for the meeting: Montreal, Nassau, or New York. The Cubans chose Montreal. The Cubans then said that their delegation would be Alarcón, Arbesú, and Sánchez Parodi coming from Washington. Jay Taylor called up and asked if he could be on our delegation. We said no, we would prefer to meet with just Kozak and me. The only ones who knew this - because this was all in official/informal - were Taylor, Kozak, and Elliott Abrams and I at the beginning, and then Armacost was apprised, but nobody else. We did not tell INS. We knew INS would demand all sorts of things. All we wanted to do was see if we couldn't, by sitting down in a small room, try to get off this impasse that had bugged us for 30 months and simply restore the agreement. And the Cubans agreed.

Well, as luck would have it, their plane flying to Montreal was seninstead to - what do you say when an airplane is-

Q: Diverted.

SKOUG: It was diverted to New York, and they did not have visas for the United States, and they were entered into the lists as persons who would not be admitted to the United States. It was normally the sort of thing that would have sent them up the wall, but when they got to Montreal they were laughing. They laughed about it, and we laughed about it and promised to correct it. It was clear to me at the beginning that the atmosphere was going to be a good one.

We met in Mike Kozak's hotel room, and they said that, well, the migration agreement could be restored, but of course Cuba's position on radios hadn't changed. It was exactly what it was in Mexico City. God Almighty! I was thinking we've come all this way, and after all this time this is the answer we get? I said, "It's really amazing that the four of us can't sit here and brainstorm some way out of this impasse." And Alarcón said, "Well, I was giving the official Cuban position. I have a personal suggestion." And his personal suggestion was that we restore the migration agreement while going on talking about radio broadcasting. He knew we couldn't reach an agreement on principles, but, if not, we'd go on talking. Kozak and I were trying to contain ourselves from jumping out of our chairs, but we said calmly that it sounded like a reasonable idea; it was a very good suggestion the minister had, and we thought that we could recommend that to the Department of State. So Kozak wrote something up, and Alarcón looked at it, and he then wrote something up. What he wrote was better than what Kozak had done. The only thing was that he referred to the "anomalous" situation in radio broadcasting since 1985, and we said we couldn't agree it started in 1985, so 1985 was taken out. That was the only change that was necessary in Alarcón's draft. So we asked Alarcón, "Can we now do this? Why can't we go home and announce it?" "Oh, no, no, it would be necessary to persuade Fidel Castro." He had gone to Moscow for the Veliki Oktyabr celebration, the 70th anniversary of the glorious Bolshevik Revolution. In fact, Castro went on to North Korea, too, to get more weapons. (Later, the weapons turned up in Panama, but that's another story). But anyway, to come to the conclusion of this, Alarcón said no, we would have to have a formal meeting. It certainly wouldn't be in Montreal. He realized that Montreal was not so nice in November. It could be in Mexico City, where we had already talked. We said fine, we'd be perfectly happy to go to Mexico City as long as he was able to sell President Castro, and of course we'd have to sell our superiors. We knew our superiors would be delighted on what we'd got. So it was agreed, handshakes all around. And we got out of there, and we came back, and we had to tell selected individuals. I told Mike Newlin in Consular Affairs that we had got the agreement back, and of course most persons were delighted. Some people weren't. I think there were some people hoping to see our noses smashed - or mine, anyway - but we had won, after all this time, and the question then was would we take INS with us to Mexico City? I suggested it, but Elliott and Mike Kozak said no, that it would be better just to go down with a small state delegation. All we were doing was restoring. We were not changing a jot or tittle of the agreement. All we were going to do was restore it and let it go, and then inform INS. It was decided that we would inform INS at the same time the Bureau of Prisons was informed. We did inform the National Security Council well in advance. By this time it was in the hands of José Sorzano, a Cuban-American. Sorzano was not very happy. He really represented the Cuban-Americans on the National Security Council staff. He was not very happy, and he probed me for what secret concessions we'd made. Did we give them a clear channel? Did we give them something that's going to pop up later? No, we hadn't given them a thing. All we had done is agreed that we would continue to talk to them. We'd made no concessions whatsoever. So he was informed, but apparently he did not inform Colin Powell, who at this point was the National Security Advisor.

We went down to Mexico City. There were no problems there. The Cubans did what they said they would do. They had Fidel Castro's support. They undoubtedly had his support before they come up with a "personal idea," in my own opinion. But in any case, we were going to announce the agreement. We had our people in Washington informing other agencies. The thing leaked as soon as the Cuban-Americans were told. A Florida station began broadcasting the thing even before it was supposed to be out. We didn't care. We thought this wonderful. It was a victory. We'd got our agreement back, we'd made no concessions, the only thing we would do is now we would rescind some of the special sanctions we had put on Cuba.

But we would get to this on the next session. Next came thCuban-American prisoners taking over Oakdale and Atlanta.

Q: Okay, we'll pick it up at that point, and we'll just not there that we're still talking about getting rid of the people in jail and the suspension of... Well, we're at the point where it looks like this lifting of our sanctions will go against the Cubans, and we'll pick it up there, and then we will pick up other things such as Central America, Canada, Cubans in Africa, and Soviet influence in Cuba, and Radio Martí and maybe TV - did that come in at that time?

SKOUG: TV Martí comes in in 1988.


Interviewed by: Thomas Stern
Initial interview date: 1996

Q: In 1985, you were appointed Director for the Center for Studies in Foreign Affairs, which was located in the Foreign Service Institute of the Department of State.How did that come about?

HANS BINNENDIJK: Senator Percy had lost his election in November, 1984. My wife, Mary, had also worked for Percy; so his loss put both of us on the street. Senator Mac Mathias--R.Md--asked me whether I would be interested in joining his staff of a while. That was just a temporary job. So I started to look around and someone told me that there was vacancy at the Center. I went to see Steve Low, the Director of FSI, whom I had known slightly. Steve and I hit it off and he offered me the position of Director of the Center.

I think the diplomatic simulations were very useful. That was the feed-back we were getting from senior Department officials; it was not unusual for some of them to call me up and ask that I schedule some more on different issues of interests to them. But I think the preponderance of the initiatives came from us. I think we had some very interesting simulations. In some cases, people did come back to us to report that the exercise had made a difference in policy formulation. The simulation process is a very powerful methodology. The Center did not copy the Defense model exactly; that is, we did not have "Blue" and "Red" teams which would tackle the problem presented to them. Our exercises were very dynamic, with lots of role playing. We did one on South Korea; we asked some senior Department officials to play the role of various senior Korean officials. This was done just prior to the 1987 elections. I remember Bill Clark--then the senior deputy assistant secretary in FE-- playing the role of President Chun Doo Hwan. Jay Taylor played Kim Dae Jung. We wanted free play to represent the real world as best we could. Clark and Taylor held press conference, congressional hearings, etc--all the activities that might happen in the real world. All the participants played their roles with real earnestness and played hard. In this particular game, Chun--Clark--ordered his police to grab Kim--Taylor--just as he was about to begin his press conference. Some of the players just went up and grabbed Taylor and put him in a closet. That indicated to me that the participants had really taken their roles to heart. I must say that this happen often during the simulations. It helped the bureaucrats to view the problem from a different perspective which is the real value of simulations.