WHEN JOSEPH S FARLAND CAME CALLING
AMERICAN AMBASSADOR AT CHUGHTAI HOME
Virginia forgot her handbag
American diplomats were lovers of Art in Pakistan. It was routine for American Ambassadors to call at the home of M.A. Rahman Chughtai, National Artist of Pakistan. The American Consulate had a couple of drivers (for special duty only), one was with a big mustache, and the other younger. Eventually both settled in the United States, and both knew the way to our house, blind folded. They would wave at us whenever they got a chance, and that was most true, for they were next to our school, Sacred Heart High School. The American Consulate was in Bank Square, and the U.S.I.S in front of it. American diplomats favourite rendezvous was with the studio of the artist.
Ambassador Benjamin H. Oehlert left back for the States to his Everglades Club. The new Ambassador was to be very important, for Henry Kissinger was planning to go on a secret trip to China, and Pakistan was helping in the same. When Farland landed at the airport, I remember he said, ‘I have come with an out stretched hand for Pakistan’. When his car stopped in front of our doorstep I was there to receive him. My question was more simple, ‘I said where Mr Ambassador is that out stretched hand’, and he laughed, and offered it to me, with a pretty warm hand shake.
The Farlands were very happy to view the paintings, and in their delight, they left, but the Lady Ambassador Virginia, forgot her handbag in our house. And with it were few pages. We could not dare to even look at the handbag but the papers were open, so we sneaked a look. In them was detail of everything. What to say, what to do, who will receive them, what they will do- a complete before hand report of the Farlands visit to our house. Perhaps it was routine or that Farland was an FBI agent, before he joined the Diplomatic core. It provided a rare insight into the life of diplomats in Pakistan.
Many American Ambassadors we met or we communicated with, but Joseph S. Farland (he died in 2007 at age of 92 years) was unique in many ways. One thing about him was very particular, he was laughing all the time. His laughter still rings in our house even today.