World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn
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THE ARCHIVE OF AMBASSADOR KENNETH M. QUINN
FROM THE MISSISSIPPI TO THE MEKONG
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About to Become a Legend in the Foreign Service, but Not for the Reasons He Hoped For

17/3/89

Amb. Quinn describes the situation at the embassy late at night as a coup attempt against the democratic government unfolds in Manila in 1989. As the Deputy Chief of Mission, he was in charge of the overnight crew of young Foreign Service Officers who are monitoring the situation. With a lull in the action, he is taking a shower in the bathroom of his office, when one of the officers pounds on the door telling him that there is an urgent phone call from a general under attack and in desperate need of help. Dripping wet and clad only in a small towel secured by a knot that he has to hold together with his left hand, he steps into his office and picks up the phone in his other hand. When the general starts giving him so many details that Quinn has to write down the information, he is forced to let go of the knot. With the eyes of all of the young officers, both male and female, riveted on the slowly unraveling knot, Quinn realizes he has the prospect of becoming a legend in the Foreign Service, should the towel drop to the floor. Quinn just isn’t sure whether he would become a big legend, or a small legend. 

© 2020 World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn. All rights reserved.