The Foreign Service, Journal Entry Morocco, Update

I recently received an update request via Kenneth Lisenbee, Webmaster for the official Paul Bowles site, founded and authorized by the musical and literary descendants of his estate and for Jane Bowles. Thor Kuniholm, the director of the Tangier American Legation Museum in Morocco The director of the Tangier American Legation Museum in Morocco has requested that my first article “The Foreign Service, Journal Entry Morocco,” be modified to display how to access the Legation Museum’s current URL. The URL is listed below. It is no longer the official website the link that was previously used has been causing “Google Alert” issues.

If you’re still unsure of what the foreign service professionals work for I’ll show you some photos from my initial Morocco journal. Like I said earlier, overseas assignments come in a variety of colors: black for hellholes such Iraq and Afghanistan, pink for heaven, off-white for boring. Visit:-

Each week embassy staffers are rotated between duties as an officer. This means they are available 24/7 for emergencies-similar to like firemen. The majority of times, nothing happens, or it’s an off-white day or weekend. When something hits the fan it becomes more attractive. A call at 2 in the morning coming from the Marine Security Guard in Rabat sent me scrambling down for the nearby jail wearing jeans and a sweater that I had hurriedly pulled on over nightclothes, hair a mess. I was told that Moroccan police were detained an eighteen-year-old American for trying to sneak hashish on an aircraft. And to make matters worse, the man had lost his passport. Since most travelers do not have diplomatic immunity, the unfortunate individual sat in the shady corner for months until we were able to obtain his release. Today there are criminals and terrorists who will do you harm if you get an American passport, therefore it’s best to keep it in your travels.

Jaren Stone was newly hired Junior Officer who was working at the embassy. He was again summoned, after hours in the Hilton Hotel. He was unexperienced, but Jaren contacted an embassy health officer and the two managed to convince the panicked hotel’s manager that an American man who was lying upon the ground in room 808 of the Rabat Hilton had died of stroke, not Black Death. Jaren’s French and Arabic aid in calming the panic but not until the hotel manager rescinded all the guests in the hotel, including the deceased man’s wife who was devastated. The next day, Jaren confided that to me “Back the way in Washington I disliked my teacher of French. At this moment I’d want to take his hand and kiss it.”

A consular officer manages American citizen matters, such as the disposal of deceased bodies as well as issuance of passports and visas. So what’s the difference between consulate and embassy? I’m glad you asked.

First of all, embassies are in capital cities , with ambassadors at the helm. Instead of CEOs they’re Chiefs of Mission. They work for the Secretary of State and serve in the decision-making of the president. Consulate General Consulates are located in various cities, headed by a Consul General. The President elects the majority of principal officers; a few are career officers of the Senior Foreign Service. Depending on the circumstances, certain American embassies such as Baghdad, Paris or London have hundreds to thousands of personnel, whereas smaller embassies like Lithuania or Luxembourg have less staff. In the past, there was an entity known as a legation. Confused? Fahgetaboutit.

Imagine of romance as: Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Arabs; author Paul Bowles and painter Henri Matisse. A sanctuary for writers and artists, Tangier, Morocco was probably one of the final of the State Department legations before the American diplomatic presence in that Bohemian city was moved out of the old walled quarter and into the town of the future where it eventually shut down.

The close bond with Morocco with the United States goes way back. The old legation in the middle of Tangier’s medina was a gift to the United States from the Sultan of Morocco in 1821. In the 1970s , from its roof, I can recall admiring the views of the Strait of Gibraltar and the RIF Mountains. From the cobblestone medieval streets below wafted the aromatic fragrance of Moroccan cuisine delicious. Its original construction (restored) was a now an American museum and cultural center amid the bustle of merchants artist, donkeys and other expatriates. The museum is stunning with stunning Moorish architectural style, and a distinctive inner courtyard, free of any obstructions, the museum has an impressive collection of 17th to 20th century art, an American jewel at the top of the North African Kingdom. The winter months of December to January are ideal for skiing in the Atlas Mountains, one hour from the oasis of Marrakesh is no hardship either. One of the advantages of a job in paradise. Color me pink!