The Foreign Service Journal, November 2019

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | NOVEMBER 2019 79 things related to general services operations of the mission’s presence in occupied Berlin. The mission’s overall budget totaled approximately $35 million. What ensued over the next two years was historic and unfor- gettable, both personally and professionally. From an adminis- trative perspective, it also involved close contact, cooperation and coordination with my counterparts at U.S. Embassy Bonn and with my predecessor, Administrative Officer Don Hayes, as well as Hank Young, an FSO at the U.S. embassy in East Ger- many. I thank them all. Dismantling our presence included sale of all kinds of office property and supplies—from copiers to paper clips, to heavy equipment, to housing. It entailed meetings with German offi- cials, occasional meetings with administrative officers repre- senting the French and British occupation missions, American family members, the American School representatives and other American private and nonprofit organizations based in Berlin. And critically, it involved downsizing personnel. It was an era when Europeans in general—and Germans in particu- lar—expected that a job was for a lifetime. This caused enor- mous stress and anxiety for everyone. However, nothing was more outstanding and inspiring than my staff, as well as the strong support we had from the embassy in Bonn, including from Ambassador Vernon Walters, Adminis- trative Counselor Harry Geisel (later Ambassador Geisel), U.S. Mission Director Harry Gilmore (later Ambassador Gilmore) and FSO Hank Young. Retired FSOs came in on temporary duty assignments to help us, and we were supported by the U.S. Mili- tary Command in Berlin, as well. Once during our many meetings, Harry Geisel reminded me: “Shirley, as the admin officer, you will have responsibility on the admin side of turning off the lights and locking the door to the U.S. mission’s 45-year presence in Berlin.” I will never forget his words. n Shirley Elizabeth Barnes was an administrative officer at the new U.S. mission in West Berlin beginning in 1990. She served as ambas- sador to the Republic of Madagascar from 1998 to 2001.