The Foreign Service Journal, March 2024

26 MARCH 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL negotiated “despite them” ... by a “Working Group,” whose members became lifelong friends in the process. We met every working day from the beginning of July to the beginning of September. … The NATO spirit was born in that Working Group. Derick Hoyer-Millar, the British minister, started it. One day he made a proposal which was obviously nonsense. Several of us told him so in no uncertain terms, and a much better formulation emerged from the discussion. Derick said, and I quote, “Those are my instructions. All right, I’ll tell the Foreign Office I made my pitch, was shot down, and try to get them changed.” He did. From then on, we all followed the same system. If our instructions were sound, and agreement could be reached, fine. If not, we worked out something we all, or most of us, considered sound, and whoever had the instructions undertook to get them changed. It always worked, although sometimes it took time. Two years later we began in London to put the “O” on the NAT by creating the organization. Some of the members of the delegations had been members of the Working Group, some had not. I was our representative on one committee; the French representative had not been. He made some unacceptable proposal, and I told him it was unacceptable. “Those are my instructions,” he said flatly. From force of habit, I said bluntly, “I know, but they’re no good, get them changed to something like this.” He was sorely offended. A little later in the meeting I made a proposal under instructions I knew to be wrong. He and several others objected. I said, “I know, those are my instructions. I’ll try to get them changed.” I have never seen a more puzzled-looking Frenchman. “What,” I could see him thinking, “is this crazy American up to? Is he stupid, or Machiavellian, or what?” But he got the idea in due course. … During the fall the main discussion related to membership. … Of considerable importance was the question of the “stepping stones,” the Atlantic islands. In those days the range of planes was considerably less than it is today, and those islands were considered of great importance should it become necessary to get U.S. forces to Europe in a hurry. The islands concerned were Greenland, which meant including Denmark; Iceland; and the Azores, which meant including Portugal. … The Portuguese wanted no part in European unity, which they felt would be used both to take over the colonies and undermine her basic sovereignty. Having had this fully explained to me by the Portuguese ambassador, my good friend Pedro Teotonio Pereira, I drafted a personal message from [President] Truman to [Portuguese Prime Minister] Salazar in which I still take a certain satisfaction. It states that we understood and shared Portugal’s reluctance to get involved in European integration or internal continental squabbles, as our whole history showed. Like Portugal, we were [an] oceanic, seafaring, Atlantic power, with a great interest in maintaining the security of the Atlantic area and not just the continent of Europe. It worked, and the Portuguese joined the negotiations in the last days. 1952 Supporting the Work of Mother Teresa in Kolkata Leila Wilson was a comforting figure to many orphans, refugees, and American evacuees during her husband Evan Wilson’s Foreign Service career. While in India she accompanied Mother Teresa through the slums of Kolkata (then Calcutta) and organized the first public effort to fund her work. We were [in Calcutta] from 1951 to 1953 and we put on a bazaar to raise money for Mother Teresa in 1952. The important point was that it was the first time that anyone ever had raised money for her publicly. She had been supported by the church and communicants before that. It was through a Roman Catholic friend that I had met Mother Teresa and gone around with her on her rounds through the backstreet busti [the poorest slum areas] of Calcutta … a view that gave me nightmares for a week, beyond which you cannot imagine anything more horrible. But it was that that convinced me that here was something we could do, no matter how little money. We only raised about $3,000, but it was a fortune as far as she was concerned. We thought we’d done pretty well, because If our instructions were sound, and agreement could be reached, fine. If not, we worked out something we all, or most of us, considered sound, and whoever had the instructions undertook to get them changed. —Theodore Achilles