The Foreign Service Journal, April 2022

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | APRIL 2022 11 mercial sections. The other OMS in the science section was quite often ill for a variety of reasons. This appeared to happen with several family member employees throughout the embassy. Leo and I were shuffled from one apartment in the embassy building to another whenever a family in the com- munications section went on vacation— all apartments faced the main ring road. We regularly had to have blood tests taken, and the explanation was: “There’s nothing wrong. This is just a precaution- ary course of action.” Special screens were installed on the windows facing the ring road. Again, management said: “There’s nothing wrong; this is just precautionary.” Approximately a week before we were scheduled to leave, I developed medical problems, was prescribed medication and had to have bed rest to keep my legs raised because the doctor was afraid of blood clots occurring. Luckily, nothing further happened along these lines. We participated in the Johns Hopkins study on the microwaving but never heard a thing from anyone. Can we attribute the fact that our eyesight declined to our tour in Mos- cow? I had cataracts removed in Kuala Lumpur in 1999 and Washington, D.C., in 2001. In the intervening years after our 1976 Moscow service, Leo also had a detached retina and cataracts, and has been undergoing injections for macular degeneration since 2010. Ann I. Cyr and Leo J. Cyr FSOs, retired Delray Beach, Florida Telltale Trees? Your January-February article on the Moscow Signal (Jim Schumaker, “Before Havana Syndrome, There Was Moscow Signal”) sure brought back a l ot of memories! In a pre–Foreign Service existence, I spent four years working as a contractor at our embassy in Moscow (my office was the second oval window from the left on the second floor). I was there from 1993 to 1997, a little bit after most of the events in the article, but we were still aware of high-level observa- tion efforts. The “new” embassy building, the one full of Soviet bugs, stood testa- ment to those efforts. I have wondered about the long-term effects of sitting by a window in that embassy for four years. Thankfully, to this point, I seem not to have been affected. However, I did see potential evidence of harmful effects. There used to be a long row of trees along the Garden Ring Road in Mos- cow. For miles along this major Moscow bou- levard a tree had been planted roughly every 20 feet. The trees immediately in front of the old embassy building, however, were dead. Yet the others along the ring road seemed to flourish. That served, at least to me, as stark evidence that something different was going on in the area of the embassy. I am by no means an arborist, but it seems to me that the trees may have been susceptible to microwave beams aimed at that building. Thanks again for your excellent coverage of the Foreign Service com- munity. I read every issue with great interest. Dave Citron FSO, retired Westminster, Maryland An Unnatural Death in Russia, 1873 Jim Schumaker’s recent article on the “Moscow Signal” (January-February) reminds of the special challenges associ- ated with postings in Russia—whether in the Russian Federation, the Soviet Union or Imperial Russia. Among those recognized on the C Street lobby AFSA Memorial Plaques is Madden Summers, who died from “Exhaustion” in Moscow in 1918. Not currently included on the memorial is the chief of mission in 1873, James Lawrence Orr, who died in St. Petersburg on May 5, 1873, at age 50 of pneumonia, two months after presenting his credentials at the court of the tsar. The vast majority of our 19th-century diplomat predeces- sors who died in service over- seas fell to infectious diseases, not violence or natural disaster. St. Petersburg, built by Peter the Great on former marshlands to be his “Window to Europe,” was Imperial Russia’s capital for two centuries (1712- 1918). In addition to a showcase of stunning architecture, it was a notorious cesspool of disease. In 1889 St. Peters- burg gifted the world the pandemic known as the Russian flu. Medical care there was notoriously substandard. Orr lived a full life before dying prematurely as chief of mission in St. Petersburg. However, the back story of Orr, appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant to be minister to Russia in part as an act of post–Civil War reconciliation, is complex, as I learned recently after discovering we are distantly related. He finished the University of Virginia with a degree in law at age 19. As a member of the South Carolina State