Virginia forgot her handbag

Bob Hope, Walt Disney and Joseph S Farland
Bob Hope, Walt Disney and Joseph S Farland

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.

Joseph S Farland
Joseph S Farland

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.

Joseph S Farland with Henry Kissinger
Joseph S Farland with Henry Kissinger


  1. Dear Arif,

    I am Christopher or Chris, the youngest son of Joseph Farland. Thank you for this insightful blog regarding my father. His greatest lesson to me was to honor and respect everyone regardless of what judgments may come to mind. He said that you have to try your best to walk in another man’s shoes. He commented that because you can’t possibly accomplish this, the effort will provide an open window to communication.

    I am grateful for the time I spent in Pakistan. I feel for Pakistan as the world has caught this country and so many others in a complex web of greed and power. It is a shame that as humans we have not yet figured out a way to live together without slipping into to the constant revolving door of “the haves and the have not.” Everything seems manipulated to feed the insatiable egos of those who seek power and steal from those who simply want the best for mankind. The greatest change I have seen is how all our lives revolve around mandated changes we make caused by the criminally insane and those who seek to hurt their fellow man. The critical word here is insane. Insanity to me is measured by the damage it causes. What has the last 40 years led to but more violence, more evil, more death, more separation, more fear, more devastation and more suffering.

    I know my father look at art as a redeeming element of mankind, something that unites and transforms. I am sure he saw this at your home. Again, thank you for this perspective of my parents. I miss them very much.

    All the best,


    1. It is Americans like you that keeps hope in our heart alive. We respected and loved the American dream and we respect the American Constitution. But alas, Americans like you are yourself hostages to Greed of the Neo Cons of the world. We cannot live in hatred and prejudice. Love and respect is the ultimate way out. I know Americans are the most friendly people in the world but hostage to a media which does not tell them the truth about the world. Thank you for sharing! You have friends here!

    2. Hi I was trying to a video together with all the US ambassadors to Pakistan…i was wondering if you could share a pic of your father Joseph Simpson Farland so i could use it in a clip thanks…tanveersardar@gmail.com

      Tanveer Sardar – Islamabad Pakistan

    3. Hello Dear Christopher,
      My father Khalifo Haji Ghulam Hussain invited Mr. Joseph S Farland on a hunting trip to his lands in Sindh rural area of Thatta in 1970. I have signed pictures of that trip and the letter sent by Mr. Amabassodor. You are like 14 years of age in the pictures. I was 3 years old then so can not recall much.
      Great Times indeed
      Ali Ahmed

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