WHITTINGTON, Floyd L. and wife Carol
Posted By: Joey Stark
Date: 10/4/2011 at 22:31:52
"The Fairfield Ledger"
Wednesday, June 5, 1985
By Helen Allen.
(Note: This article appeared in "The Fairfield Ledger" on Floyd and Carol (sic - Winifred Carol) WHITTINGTON of Sun City, Arizona. The son of a Fairfield foundry worker, WHITTINGTON had a distinguished career as a U. S. Diplomat and as International Businessman. Both Mr. and Mrs. WHITTINGTON are graduates of Parsons College and he is a former teacher at Fairfield High School. Mrs. WHITTINGTON's father, Howard McDONALD, was president of Parsons from 1922 to 1927.)
Trying to speed up the burning of private British Embassy papers during the early 1960 Communist riots in Indonesia, American officials ended up melting their own furnace. Floyd WHITTINGTON, who now finds the incident amusing, said it was taking days to burn up the mass of British papers, and then, of course, the American Embassy thought it would be a good idea to get rid of some of its own. A chemical was poured on the blaze to speed up the process, he said, but it made the fire so hot the furnace melted. WHITTINGTON, who was then American Counselor of Political Affairs in Jakarta, said the British came under attack during the riots and had to be evacuated after the burning and looting of their embassy and homes. Left behind, in a vault-type building on the embassy grounds, was a mass of confidential paperwork. WHITTINGTON, who spent 2-1/2 years in Jakarta after a diplomatic stint in Thailand, described Indonesia as a 'paradise' until taken over by President Sukarno. Conditions deteriorated rapidly then, he said, and inflation became rampant. The WHITTINGTONs are still amazed about the paths their lives took, leading them to associate with royalty and high ranking officials. "We both came from a small town in Iowa", he mused, and "were never exposed to international culture". The exposure came when WHITTINGTON, who was Industrial Relations Manager for Lakeshore Tire Company in Des Moines, Iowa accepted a state department post in Japan.
His work on the Price Control Board during World War II, he said, apparently led the state department to ask that he take a similar post in Japan, as part of General Douglas MacArthur's staff. During his three years there, however, he met the General only twice. One occasion was for a briefing on a trip he would be making to Singapore. The British he explained, wanted information on a rice deal the U.S. was making with Japan. His instructions were to offer only the barest details and if pressed for more information, he was to say the U. S. would be willing to send a planeload of Japanese to explain the matter further. This, of course was the last thing anyone in Singapore wanted in 1949, he quipped. The WHITTINGTONs still have fond memories of Japan, especially of a friendship that developed with three of the Emperor's daughters.
With the outbreak of the Korean War, the ex-diplomat was returned to the States to join President Harry Truman's staff as an international economist. His main job was to locate raw material for manufacturing clothing and equipment for the U.S. armed forces fighting in Korea. Following were stints as Assistant Advisor to Secretary of State Dean Acheson, a member of the Federal Reserve Board and Deputy Directory for Southeast Asian Affairs. Then came an assignment in Thailand as Counselor for Economic Affairs. His function, during the four years he spent in Thailand, WHITTINGTON said, was to entice American industry into the country.
Mrs. WHITTINGTON, meantime, became immersed in civic affairs, serving on the board of the newly established Y.W.C.A and a Cancer Society Board. She was also president of the American Women's Club, which operated a thrift shop for the benefit of a girls rehabilitation home. The home, her husband explained, provided a place to stay for girls coming into the city from the northern part of the country so they would not be lured into prostitution. WHITTINGTON smilingly remarked that the Y.W.C.A. in Bangkok, from which emerged extensive social work, is probably the only one established through the efforts of a group of Buddhist women. But a requirement has been that Christians make up the majority of the Y's board. Explaining the Thai's interest in social work, he said the Buddhist attitude in helping others is not a matter of aiding people in need but to gain merit for oneself.
For her own dedication to social services in Thailand, Mrs. WHITTINGTON was presented the Order of the White Elephant by King Bhumibol. In moving to southeast Asia, the WHITTINGTONs said they had to adjust quickly to a different way of life. He could no longer do little things around a house, like minor repairs or gardening, because this would mean taking away someone's livelihood. Nor could he get behind the wheel of a car. One major problem, WHITTINGTON explained, was finding a parking space. Another was having the car stripped if left unattended. Foreigners, in addition, faced the possibility of being beaten up if involved in an accident.
His wife also had to give up household chores. The reason, he said, is that servants are automatically inherited with a home and cannot be dismissed. Dismissal would mean starvation. Servants also have the privilege of rummaging through wastebaskets and retrieving anything they might be able to sell, according to Mrs. WHITTINGTON.
Other positions held by WHITTINGTON were Economic Counselor at the American Embassy in Korea and, after his retirement from the state department, Executive Vice President of Pacific Gulf Oil Company.
Copied with permission from The Fairfield Ledger, Inc.
*Transcribed for genealogy purposes; I am not related to the person(s) mentioned.
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