Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Lucius Horiuchi Interview II
Narrator: Lucius Horiuchi
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location:Sonoma, California
Date: November 21, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-hlucius-02-0002
Japanese translation of this segment Japanese translation of complete interview

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: So let's get into your career. Your first tour of duty, tell me about that.

LH: Yes, well, I was assigned to the embassy in Japan, and I was a junior political officer. And a lot of people think that the foreign service is exciting. Maybe not quite as exciting as being an intelligence officer, but still, they see movies of diplomats and movies of so-called spies or intelligence officers, and think that every moment of the day is exciting and thrilling. Well, of course, as a diplomat, you deal with, for instance, in Japan, with members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Japanese counterpart of our Department of State. And I'll interrupt, I call it the Department because we are the premier department. And in the line of succession to the presidency, when it moves to the cabinet, the first in line is the Secretary of State. So to me, it's a misnomer when people call it the State Department, because people then think, "You mean like you work for the State Department of California?" No, the Department of State of the federal government. And so you associate with your counterparts in whatever country you're assigned to. But it isn't like being dined every day for lunch and dinner, and oftentimes called the "Striped Pants Brigade" because you're in formal black tie or white tie, euphemistically called a tuxedo. There's an awful lot of humdrum work where you sit and read report after report of not only other government agencies of the U.S., but also translations of all the possible publications of interest to the U.S. into English, that you review, so you have a better picture of that particular country's politics, economics, financial situation, and then search for the right individuals to talk to to gather up information. And that reminds me that I should always explain to people that gathering information through the Department of State is an overt act. There's nothing clandestine, nothing secret about it, even though you don't go around blabbing that you met with Joe Blow or the Deputy Prime Minister or the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for American Affairs. But it's just that that's the job of other agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency to gather information on a covert, secret basis. And maybe to... I won't say maybe, but at least from what I've read and what I've heard, to gain the cooperation maybe beyond what foreign service officers do. Because foreign service officers only exchange ideas with their counterparts.

TI: So let me ask this then. In the foreign service, gaining or collecting this information, increasing your knowledge, how does that translate into a benefit for the United States? What's the benefit of the foreign service doing this?

LH: Well, the foreign service in line with other agencies, whatever information is collected, is collated and then distributed to the primary customers, so to speak, meaning the Department of State, the intelligence agencies, to Commerce and others that may be able to use this information in their private negotiations with Japan, or in our official negotiations with Japan.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.