Washington Press Club Foundation
Aline Mosby:
Interview #2 (pp. 35-83)
May 9, 1991 in Takoma Park, Maryland
Kathleen Currie, Interviewer

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[Begin Tape 1, Side A]

Currie: I want to start with a few things from yesterday, some follow-up questions. Getting back to your growing-up years, can you remember what kinds of things you liked to read?

Mosby: I remember reading Gone With the Wind.

Currie: Did you like it?

Mosby: Oh, yes. You mean in grammar school?

Currie: Grammar school, high school. For example, I remember I used to read Nancy Drew mystery books, and I liked those quite a bit. I remember reading Shakespeare. My grandmother used to read Shakespeare to me.

Mosby: There was a book of poems that my mother had, I used to read, "[The Rubáiyát of] Omar Khayyám." I can't even remember the children's books. When I was in the hospital and had my tonsils out, my mother gave me a marvelous book called The Cat Who Went to Heaven. I still have that. It's really a beautiful book with beautiful drawings, very artistic drawings.

Currie: Were you drawn to any particular genre?

Mosby: I can't remember. My parents subscribed to Collier's and Women's Home Companion, McCall's, Saturday Evening Post. Are any of those still published now?

Currie: McCall's.

Mosby: I was trying to remember if we ever had Time magazine. I don't remember that. We didn't have many books in the house. Neither of my parents were that interested in books, unfortunately. But, of course, in high school and university I took literature courses. Of course we read Shakespeare. I'm sorry my memory is very blank on that. I'm trying to remember what would have happened to those books. They might, some of them, still be in the house there. I know we had encyclopedias and several books on the history of Montana. Maybe when I get out there, I'll look and see.

Currie: What role did politics and religion play in your family?

Mosby: My father was a Republican, as I recall. My mother, too, of course. In those days, women did what their husbands did. Because he was a businessman, I guess that would be part of it. He was very interested in local politics because, of course, he was a strong member of the

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community. I would just say not an intense interest, what I'd call an average interest, I guess. My parents always voted, of course. I remember that.

My father wasn't very interested in religion. He was too absorbed with what he was doing, until he was divorced and married a second time to a woman who was a Christian Scientist. I think he went to her church with her just because he wanted to be with her, not necessarily because he believed in it. But she did, and refused all medical treatment (according to Christian Science practice). Everybody in her family was that way.

My mother was very firm about religious education for my sister and myself. I remember going to Sunday school when I was little, going to the Episcopal Church that my mother was attached to, which is normal for Irish families from Northern Ireland. That is, she wasn't from Catholic Ireland. Yes, I remember going to Sunday school, where you do drawings, in the basement of the Episcopal Church, I think it was. Then I was confirmed in the church and sang in the choir. I gave up on religion when I was about thirteen or fourteen, I think.

Currie: What made you give up on it?

Mosby: I remember announcing to my parents at the dinner table that I was atheist, and they were very shocked. [Laughter.] Well, after learning about human reproduction, I announced, "I don't see how Christ could have been born of a virgin." I thought the whole thing was just made up. So I announced that I just didn't believe it.

Then when my parents got divorced, I was very sad and I started going back to church because I really felt very lonely. By then my sister had married and moved away, so I felt quite alone. I just clung to going to church, because I just felt very alone in the world. I think that happens to a lot of people—millions—that they just need something to hang on to.

But then when I left university, after I worked for UPI in Seattle and I was in Los Angeles, I met some artist from New York, who got me very interested in the art world. I owe them a lot. We got to talking about religion once, and I remember coming to the conclusion that it's fine for people who need it, and it's very understandable, but to believe all those things that they teach you in Sunday school, I just don't think they're true. I don't believe them. And also, when I got in the outside world, out of my little town in Montana, and discovered that there are other religions, I became very upset with the anti-Semitism of Christians. I think that would be maybe the major thing that turned me off to Christianity.

Currie: How were you first exposed to the anti-Semitism?

Mosby: Just meeting Jewish people in Los Angeles, of course, where there's a very large population of them, and realizing how many there were. I just hadn't realized it, being closeted in Montana. I thought there were just a few left wandering around the world. Then I got interested in exploring, from an outsider's point of view, all religions. I remember reading things about them, and I have several books on anti-Semitism. That was when I was in my early twenties. So I am very interested in religion, still today, but strictly from an outsider's point of view. A great many of my close friends in Los Angeles were Jewish.

When I realized all of that and began to read about other religions, I look at it, I think, from a more objective point of view now, of all religions. But I still think there are many bad things about religion, to put it mildly. I mean, look at the Gulf war, you know. To Moslems, the religion is too important to them. This business of praying five times a day, they would get

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farther in the world, it seems to me, if they'd work instead of getting down on their knees five times a day. It's absurd, really, and I think that's one of the main reasons why they're still living in the Middle Ages down there. They're a group of people who are really tied by religion that isn't very practical for getting along in the world. And fights between the Hindus and the Moslems in India, etc., are just so ridiculous, not to mention the Christian civil war, which has been going on in Ireland for how many years? Fourteen years.

Currie: In this phase, fourteen years, but you could actually date it much earlier.

Mosby: Yes. It's just absurd. I mean, it's just so ridiculous how the Irish can keep killing each other. What would Jesus Christ say if he could come back on earth today and go to Ireland? What would he say? He would just say, "They're out of their minds." They are. He would say, "Why don't you just believe in my teachings?" I do believe in Christ's teachings, because he taught peace and love, and I'll buy that anytime. And if he would say that to the Irish, just tell them, "You're being ridiculous," it seems to me maybe he would convince them to be a Christian religion and not all these subdivisions that get everybody so upset. If Jesus Christ came back on earth today, he couldn't join the Los Angeles Country Club. I don't know about Washington country clubs. So what would the Christians who run those country clubs have to say when Jesus walked into the room and said he wanted to apply for membership?

I mean, the whole thing is so absurd, and yet mankind has done so many fantastic things by learning how to fly in the air. Don't do it as well as birds do, because they keep crashing, but nonetheless. And all the machines and the atom bombs and the modern conveniences that we just take for granted, electronic watches and all of that. But they just haven't learned to love each other and stop having wars and really practice what Jesus preached. It's just ridiculous. So many people I know who are fervent Christians do it because it's the chic thing to do and for their social set in the city which they live in.

It's interesting also—you shouldn't have got me started on this. Just one sentence more. In many countries of the world, when their economic level goes up so that people have enough to eat and a roof over their head and clothes to wear, and even a little car out in front, their dependence on religion goes down. In France, for example, now that the nation is economically doing quite well, the attendance in Catholic churches has gone down quite a bit. People now use them for baptisms, marriages, weddings, and funerals, and that's about it. In between time, it's just sort of a social custom. The church attendance is very low and there are many small town churches that have closed.

In my village in the Dordogne, there's a very sweet little church next to the chateau on top of the hill. I have a Portuguese caretaker, a young couple in their very early thirties, I would say, thirty-one, something like that, thirty-two. I wanted to see what the church was like and what it looked like inside, because it's fourteenth century, I think. I said, "Jose, what time is mass up there? I want to go look at the church." And they'd been living there six or seven years, no longer than that. He said, "We don't know. We've never been inside of it." That's very typical. Their standard of living is quite high. They built their own home, they built their home near Lisbon in Portugal that they go back to and they rent while they're not there, and they built a house right behind my village with the help of other Portuguese immigrants, who helped them hammer things together. They have three children. The last one, they realized their mistake and they swear they won't have any more. I don't think they will. So that's interesting, I think, that they don't go to church anymore. However, their son was baptized in the church and at age twelve took his first communion.

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In Spain, I read an article recently, since Franco died and the economy of Spain has gone up and they're really now just charging ahead and part of Europe, the church attendance in Spain has plummeted downward. It's interesting. But in the United States, probably the most religious country, there are so many sects and so many of them are rip-offs, criminals! You know what I mean, those people. I listen to them in Montana. They're on a small town radio station that I tune in on to get the news. They have these programs where these men talk in great religious fervor and say, "You send me $30 and I'll help you with your problems," or something like that. And some people up there are very simple. They send these people money. They've been doing it for years, even before all the rip-off people got started.

All right. Okay. [Laughter.] You ask a question.

Currie: We can talk about it later, too. Just to follow up, how do you think your family's political stance or beliefs affected you?

Mosby: Since I was determined to be independent, I tried to think for myself. I also may have been influenced by many of my friends whom I knew socially. They were Democrats. So when I started to vote—let's see. Where was I when I was twenty-one? I was in New York. I don't think I was a registered voter there. I don't remember the first time I voted. But anyway, I voted Democrat. In fact, I usually did until the last election. I didn't like either one of them, but I voted for [George] Bush. I didn't really like either one of them. But I've never been interested in any of the smaller parties, probably because I was born in a small community where there weren't any. I suppose there are a lot of small parties in big cities, and I can understand how voters thought at first that the Communist party was a great idea or the Socialist party.

Currie: How would you describe your journalist colleagues' political views?

Mosby: You mean down the years in various cities?

Currie: Yes.

Mosby: I would say that the majority of the journalists whom I've known were voting Democrat, maybe because they were salaried workers and weren't owning the enterprise.

Currie: One study I read said that publishers and owners tended to be Republicans, and the reporters and editorial staff tended to be Democrats.

Mosby: Yes. Whether that holds true today, I don't know. I'm trying to think of journalist friends in Paris. I think that may still be largely true. Of course, for the next election, I don't know what I'll do. I'm so disappointed in the Democratic party, it's just as if they've thrown in the towel. They're just sitting around reading a book or something. They don't seem to be doing anything.

Currie: They can't seem to figure out what they need to do.

Mosby: Yes. They can't get their act together. It's really unfortunate. Actually, they have a lot of material to draw upon. I mean, they certainly would have. But then you're closer to it than I am, because you're living in the city where you're surrounded by politics. Of course, I read the Washington Post and the New York Times, what's published in the Herald Tribune. You know that's owned by the Times and Post. I just mention that because Fern and Jay [Ingersoll] didn't

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know that, and I was very surprised they didn't know that. That's why it's such a great newspaper. It's fabulous.

Currie: I remember you said yesterday that you were very interested in a career. Was that usual or unusual among the women in your peer group?

Mosby: I would say that maybe it was usual because of the war. I can think of only one friend who, in university, married her boyfriend, who went off to war and then got killed. I don't know what happened to her. I can't think of anyone else whom I know who was married when we were in university or right after that, because of the war. So I went off, as I told you, to Seattle with these other friends who were working. One of them in that group, she was the one who was in advertising, and she still lives in the Seattle area, has her own home, and she's never married, as I haven't. One of the others went back to live in Helena, and she was married for a while but got divorced and has never remarried. The other one did get married, but she died very young of cancer.

Currie: But among your friends, the expectation was they would have careers?

Mosby: Well, no, not that strong. Oh, no, not nearly as strong as today. They knew they wanted to work, but as far as their careers were concerned, I can't think of—I'm trying to think of the university. I knew no women studying law or medicine or business administration. One of my close friends in the university, in the journalism school, she had a big career. She still is a big columnist on the Spokesman Review in Spokane, quite well known in the Northwest.

Currie: What is her name?

Mosby: Dorothy Rochon. She's of French ancestry. I think she still writes under her maiden name; I'm not sure about that. In the journalism school, I think—were she and I the only women? It could have been. Of the others I knew, of course, it was different when I went off to New York. There were a lot of ambitious women there. It isn't fair to judge Missoula, Montana, being at that time a very small university and a very small town. But of the women I knew in Los Angeles, one of them is an artist, but doesn't make a living at it. She's married. She's a very serious artist, I mean really works at it, in New York. The others who were down there, one I knew in Los Angeles was just divorced from her husband and went to work in real estate, and she became very, very rich. She's my neighbor in Paris now, who I am going to see in Fort Lauderdale, which is her winter home. She's a billionaire. Not a millionaire; a billionaire.

Currie: Was it your expectation, when you left university and got your first job, that you would work until you married, or that you would have a career and marriage?

Mosby: I wanted both, although I used to be confused. What do you do when you have children? It wasn't that easy as it is now, because the women's liberation movement is so much bigger now. Even then it was a dozen or fifteen years ago, don't you think so?

Currie: Oh, yes.

Mosby: I wanted both, but I was confused as to how it would work out, and at times I felt lonely and I thought that I really wanted to marry, but I don't know, it just never worked, probably because I really did not want to marry. I mean, the man who wanted to marry me so much, I went with him for eight years, and he was a writer, but he didn't like the idea of my working. I never wanted to marry him. I don't know. That's a complicated subject, but because I was confused as

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to how one could have a career and children and be married. I knew one thing, I wanted to be independent and not rely on some man to give me household expense money to pay for my clothes and my metro fare and so forth. That whole idea just never appealed to me. The situation, I think, is much more clear now. In the first place, men accept women having careers now, don't you think, much more easily?

Currie: Because it's the norm.

Mosby: Yes. A lot of men, I think, probably enjoy it because it makes their life easier, in a way, because there are two paychecks coming into the house.

Currie: I only have one friend who's a full-time homemaker. You said yesterday that you were thirty-seven when you went to Moscow, and you said there had been several romances, but nothing worked out.

Mosby: I think a lot of men aren't interested in a woman who wants to work all the time and is busy running around, at least in my generation. It's different now. Men accept it. I think they want it. I'm thinking of young journalist couples, American and otherwise, they still work and their husbands don't just accept it, I think they want it that way.

Currie: I think you're right. First of all, you need the money. Secondly, it's actually much better when you are two independent people.

Mosby: Absolutely. I'm thinking of a farewell party I went to just before I left, at the home of a Canadian with whom I worked in United Press for years. She was married to a Canadian. I think they have to trade off deciding where to live, because the husband in Canada was with the OECD, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which links all of the highly developed countries, the West, plus Japan and so forth, and the headquarters is in Paris. They guide the economies of all the member countries. It's very important. Anyway, he was transferred from the Canadian government, which was connected with OECD, to the OECD in Paris. His wife had been with UPI in Canada, so it was easy for her to get a transfer. It worked out fine.

Well, anyway, after she left UPI, she had a baby and she got a job at OECD. His term of duty is up there, but he is doing freelance work, the same kind of thing, advising companies, etc., on their economic matters, and he travels all over, the Middle East and all over Europe, always going off to Turkey or something. She works at the OECD and brings up their baby. It works out great. They've managed to adjust.

Another couple—her name has gone out of my mind—she was transferred to someplace in Europe. Where was it? So he gave up his job in the States and still doesn't exactly know what he's going to do, but he's trying to find something. It depends on maybe which job is the most important.

The farewell party was for an Australian journalist who worked for UPI and then Reuters in Paris. I knew her very well. She married a French journalist with AFP, Agence France Press. They just had a baby. He was bored being in Paris and had actually asked to go to Moscow, but they didn't send him there. They sent him to South Africa. In this case, she was with Reuters and couldn't get a transfer with Reuters to South Africa. They didn't need anybody in the bureau down there. But this is understandable. In this case it would be better if they go to where his job is, so they have. Before she went, she just got on the phone and lined up freelance stringer deals

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with about five or six different papers in Europe and Australia and North America, and some American papers. So she will keep more than busy.

That's one thing good about being a journalist: you don't necessarily have to be trapped in one country. That's very normal now, but it wasn't that normal for me. It was beginning, but it wasn't that normal.

Currie: You said you had one long-term relationship, an eight-year relationship.

Mosby: Yes. That was in Los Angeles. I just didn't want to get married and not work. So that ended that.

Currie: He really wanted a non-working spouse?

Mosby: Yes. So we broke up. I don't know, four or five years later he married someone. They still live in the California area, not in Los Angeles. I guess he's still writing books. I don't know what he's doing. I don't see him anymore.

Currie: Do you want to say who he is?

Mosby: I don't know. Do other people do that in these interviews?

Currie: It depends. It's really up to you. Some people do, some people don't.

Mosby: I don't. He wrote some books on the film industry.

Currie: How did you handle your social life since work was so demanding?

Mosby: When I worked in the States, it wasn't nearly as demanding as in Europe. When I worked in the States, I worked sometimes in the evening, but usually not. Then in Europe, of course, it's different, because there's none of this overtime business of the Newspaper Guild. [Laughter.] And also you may go for days without much happening, and then things start happening and they're all at night or three in the morning or something. In a way, that's much more interesting and more fun than working union hours.

Currie: Did you tend to socialize with other journalists?

Mosby: When I worked in the New York bureau, that was a definite shift. I couldn't adjust to that. Yes, in New York I would say most of my friends were journalists. That's true, I think, wherever I've gone. Journalists or writers or people in the music field or the art field.

Currie: Why do you think you've gravitated toward those people?

Mosby: I don't know. Common interests, I guess. Although my billionaire neighbor in Paris was never a journalist, but she was a neighbor. Maybe that's a difference. I have a good friend who is in the concert music business. Well, that happens to interest me. An American married to a Frenchman, who is a neighbor, also, on my street in Paris. But I think practically everyone else whom I know is either in journalism or writing or art or music. The people I know in Europe, one woman is an architect and builder in London. Or in public relations. I guess they all are linked.

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Currie: Yes, they're similar fields.

Mosby: Or maybe because I'm just interested in art and in music.

Currie: Were there any other serious relationships over the years?

Mosby: Oh, yes. Oh, yes, in Paris and Moscow. Yes. Next question? [Laughter.]

Currie: You don't want to talk about it?

Mosby: I just don't think it's very interesting. I don't know, they just didn't work out. The last man I knew was an American diplomat and he was obviously looking for a woman who would be extremely feminine in the old sense—he's a little bit older than I am now—who would cook and take care of him and keep house and entertain and do all that sort of thing. That didn't interest me. I just couldn't live with somebody like that.

Currie: I'm afraid you missed the generation of men who—

Mosby: Yes, that's true. I have one friend, one of my very close friends, her husband is someone who was interested in a woman like that, and I was attracted to him first, but I just didn't think I could live with him. When I was in New York, I introduced him to a woman friend because he was just dying to get married, and she was, too. She was just really dying to get married. So they got married, and every time I see them, they're always thanking me profusely for having introduced them. And the marriage worked out beautifully. That was many years ago. It worked because she writes features sometimes for the paper that he's with, so that satisfies her yearnings to express herself.

Now he's covering Eastern Europe and the Gulf, and he's hardly ever in Paris, and she works as his secretary and assistant. He calls up and will dictate stories to her, and she'll dictate to his paper in the States. She has to be in their office all alone, watching the fax machine to see if he's sending something or if he's phoning in. He phones in, and she reads what's on the Reuters wire in the office to him so he keeps up with the news. Takes care of all those things, takes care of all their business relationships and the whole household accounts and their financial dealings and everything. She works very hard at that. She's really working for their paper, too, and they should pay her.

[End Tape 1, Side A; Begin Tape 1, Side B]

Currie: When you said they were both desperate to get married, it doesn't sound like you ever really were.

Mosby: No, no. No, possibly that's correct.

Currie: Only you could say.

Mosby: Yes. When I came back from New York to Montana, I was very homesick. I felt very lonely and alone then. I probably would have married the first person who came along if there had been a man around at the time. [Laughter.] But then when I went to work for UP, I gained back my self-confidence and my ability to work and be single.

Currie: And be self-sufficient.

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Mosby: Yes. My sister married. I told you she dropped out of university when she was a junior, to marry. She had four children, which have sort of taken the place of mine, because I've helped bring them up. I think her marriage was a failure, and I could see that many, many tens of years ago. She didn't divorce him. She could have remarried again. I'm sure she could have, but she didn't divorce him until it was really too late, until she was in her late sixties. She has to pay him alimony, because she wanted the divorce and he didn't, and that was the court settlement. She pays him alimony, she had to buy him a car, and she supports him and helps their four children. I think because the marriage didn't work, three of her four children are divorced. I guess divorce is very common now.

Currie: Fifty percent.

Mosby: I think it's probably the better idea than the old idea, the marriage stays together and usually the husband winds up with a mistress someplace. That's the way it used to be in France, and now in modern France there are lots of divorces and a lot of people live together who aren't married, which may be better than to go through the legality of it all.

Currie: Do you have any other thoughts about it?

Mosby: I'm very happy, very content with life. I'm very happy. I would have liked to have had children, but I didn't, and I accept that. I adjusted to it many, many years ago. I'm not unhappy or the least bit lonely. I'm so busy, I can't keep up with everything. I'm very happy, couldn't be happier.

I should say I have two goddaughters. Close friends whom I knew in Los Angeles, who were journalists, who are my neighbors on Menorca Island (they helped me get an old farmhouse right next door to theirs), their children are my goddaughters. The goddaughters just got married and had babies. I'm busy buying gifts for their babies. So I have a secondhand family.

Currie: I'm childless and I have one goddaughter, a friend of mine had a daughter eight years ago, and it's a nice role to play. I get to come in on birthdays and Christmas, and I give her frivolous things that her parents might not buy her.

Mosby: That's right. Yes. It's fun. Mine live far away; they both live in San Francisco. This year I'm not going down there. Last year I was down there and visited both of them and saw the children. That was great fun. This year, one of my goddaughters is coming up to Montana with her husband and their baby. They'll be there for a while. In fact, I have house guests all the time I'm there. I'm only going to have four days to get the house in order before they all start coming.

Currie: This is your summer home?

Mosby: That was a family summer home in Montana, which my father left to me. It's on an Indian reservation up in the Rocky Mountains on a lake. To me, that's really going home. I just love to go back to Montana. It's great.

Currie: You return once a year?

Mosby: Yes, in May. Then I have a schoolteacher friend who is a friend of my lawyer cousin there, and she rents it from me for two months in the summer and takes care of it as if it's her own home, so I don't have any problems and that helps pay the expenses.

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Then through my friends, the goddaughters' parents, I have an old farm house on Menorca Island. I have now started to go there more often. I decided I was working too hard as a freelancer, and this is ridiculous. I was only going there for a month in the summer. Last year I was there for more than two months, and this year I'll be there more than two months, too, but I will be writing a magazine article there. I have close friends there, a couple from London and other Americans who have homes there, and my really very close friends, two South African artists who became Canadian citizens. Alas, they've left. They've gone up to Canada now.

Currie: Then you have a place in the Dordogne.

Mosby: Yes. That I share with another journalist, a friend from Paris, because it's too expensive now to buy a country home and remodel it yourself. I bought the one in Spain for $1,800 twenty-six years ago; it was just nothing. L'Express magazine asked me in Paris to do a story on Lee Harvey Oswald, because I had interviewed Lee Harvey Oswald, and they paid me really a good hunk of money—$5,000. That's a good hunk of money for a quick story twenty-eight years ago.

Currie: That was twenty-eight years ago?

Mosby: Yes. It was whenever [John F.] Kennedy was killed. When was that?

Currie: 1963.

Mosby: Yes. So with that money, I bought the house on the island and fixed it up, and one of the goddaughters has an old stable right across the pasture, and she's made that into a home. So I have close friends and my goddaughters are there. It's like family to me.

Currie: It's like a big extended family.

Mosby: The one in the Dordogne, I've been trying to get down there about a week every six weeks. That's rented out to friends during the summer while I'm down in Spain, because there are just too many tourists there for me. It's in a village and there's a chateau in the village, a lot of tourists around. My friend, Nan Robertson, has rented it for June. She's going there. Then I'll see her down there for the first week in July, before I go down off to Spain.

Currie: You own it with Flora Lewis.

Mosby: Yes. Oh, yes, you know that because you talked to Flora.

Currie: When you first got your jobs at UPI in Seattle and Los Angeles, was there anyone who helped you out, who showed you what to do, or sort of took you in hand as a raw recruit, so to speak?

Mosby: Oh, yes. The bureau managers explain everything. I guess some of the more experienced staffers who were there probably helped me and gave me tips and so forth. With beginners, UPI is very helpful. Even when I changed departments, after I'd been with UPI many years, in the New York bureau, when I went there in between Moscow and Paris [staffers were helpful]. They wanted to put me in the department that writes Sunday features. I remember they sent me all over America to write something about television.

Then the foreign editor needed somebody a year or so later on the foreign desk, and he ran out of people, so he came in and asked me if I'd work on the foreign desk. I said, "I've never

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worked in editing before." He said, "That's all right. We'll show you. You'll learn." But maybe that's UPI. I don't know whether the AP would do that. I had always been a reporter and a writer; I'd never been an editor. But he gave me some tips and showed me what to do, and it's something you do catch on very quickly.

Currie: Was there a big difference in reporting and editing?

Mosby: Yes. I think you're just looking for different things. In fact, I liked editing very much. It's funny, when I read newspapers now, I still see things that I think, "Oh, they should have—" [Laughter.] The Herald Tribune in Paris, they either have a lot of young people who weren't very well educated in the United States in the simple things like grammar and punctuation, or else they hire English people. British punctuation and grammar is a little bit different than U.S. punctuation and grammar. Since the Herald Tribune is an American-owned newspaper, I think they should have American punctuation and grammar. When I read the stories, I still mentally say, "Oh! There should be two commas instead of one for parenthetical phrases." [Laughter.] You get hooked on it. No, I enjoyed editing on the foreign desk. I liked it very much.

Where were we in Moscow?

Currie: You had arrived in Moscow and you described where you lived. You talked a little bit about Henry Shapiro, but I wonder if we could go back to him. What can you tell me about Henry Shapiro's working style?

Mosby: He had been there so long and he had gone there as a lawyer. He was very interested in Soviet affairs and fell into journalism there. So he still had the academic mind, which I think is very good for journalists. I think now they do it that way. If they want to be a correspondent in Eastern European countries, they not only, in university, specialize in learning the language, but specialize in the affairs of that country and its history, write down all the fine points. I think that's the way it should be.

So Henry Shapiro was very helpful, and Bob Korengold and I were like two students sitting at the feet of the professor. That's why the three of us always got along so well. His wife, Ludmilla, often said that Henry's happiest days in Moscow were when the three of us were together.

Currie: Why did it work so well?

Mosby: Because, in the first place, we didn't try to compete with him. I could see right away that that's the way it was, and I had great respect and awe for him. When Bob Korengold—Bud, he was called—got there, he saw that, too. I remember we used to discuss it, and we agreed. We were both very happy to sit at his feet and do what he wanted to do. There was plenty to do and no point in fighting over bylines or anything like that. We all got along fine because we were not trying to compete with him. There was so much going on that Bud and I got plenty of bylines. If he wanted to cover the Politburo meetings and the fall of [Nikita] Khrushchev and all of this, you know, let him sign it, because an agency that has to run on at least two cycles, and so if you would be writing the story, one of us would be doing the overnight story or the night lead or whatever on the next cycle, rewriting what he had done and picking things up off the newspaper and off the radio and gathering other things together. So there were plenty of bylines. There was nothing to fight over. Naturally, he was, of course, very possessive of his turf, so to speak.

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So we got along fine. We both learned a lot from him, because neither one of us had been Soviet experts or knew that much about it. Now the journalists who are sent there, there's room for more journalists and now there are more Americans who really study Soviet affairs, like Nicholas Daniloff, who replaced me when I left the first time. He came from a Russian family. He was a little more acquainted with the language than either Bud Korengold and I were.

Anyway, we got along fine with Henry. As I told you, he didn't live in the diplomatic ghetto, as we called it; he lived by himself with his Russian wife, and he worked at home. It was easier for him that way. He wasn't exactly young or the type of person who runs around. Some days he would send the chauffeur, who was usually attached to him. We used to battle over that now and then. When we desperately needed him, we would call Henry's house and say, "We just have to have Victor (who was the chauffeur) to come over quickly." In those days, you just had to have somebody take copy to the central telegraph. It had to go past the censor. You just had to have a car and a driver. I notice that the journalists there still do. It's very difficult to work in Moscow without a car and a driver.

Currie: Why is that?

Mosby: In the censorship days, we had to. You needed somebody to take your copy to the telegraph office, because there was censorship then and we could not use our phones to file material on. Our phones were tapped. There weren't any direct wires then between the Soviet Union and the outside world. You had to either telegraph or phone your copy. We weren't allowed to phone the copy from the office because they would instantly cut you off. You had to go to the central telegraph office and type out your copy, and you didn't even have to write it with very great style, because you were sending telegrams. So to save money, you did it sort of briefly, and then UPI in London would rewrite it and get it into newspaper style. If you were going to phone it, it was the same way. You still had to type it out. You gave it to the censor.

Years before that, when Henry was first there, you could talk to the censor. It was somebody sitting at a little desk, and you could go and yell at him and argue. But then by the time I got there, there were a couple dozen journalists from various countries, and it was just too much. The censors got tired of being yelled at. You had a long counter, where you sent telegrams, and then the censor was in the door behind that counter with a green curtain. So you couldn't see them. There were several censors in there. By then they had to have censors in Japanese. There were Japanese correspondents then. The censors could read Japanese. One day a big story broke, the Japanese correspondents went rushing down with their stories, and the Japanese reading censor was sick, so they couldn't send anything. [Laughter.] You just sat there and waited for your copy to be cleared. Sometimes you could wait a couple of days, literally! There was a couch in the entry way, and sometimes you'd spend the night on that, sleeping on the couch.

Currie: So you'd have the driver take you down to the central telegraph office.

Mosby: If we were very busy at the office, we would just give him the copy to take down, or if it was just an ordinary story, you would. If it was a big story, we would go to the telegraph office and phone. It would depend. Sometimes we'd write it out and send it by telegraph, but then we'd also have a copy and try to get on the phone with that, maybe phone London first before the telegram would get there.

Currie: But if they didn't like what they were hearing on the phone, they'd cut you off?

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Mosby: You couldn't phone from your office. You had to phone from central telegraph, where they had phone booths. Your copy for the phone still had to be passed by the censors. You got on the phone and you'd start reading it, and if you put in anything extra, BANG! They'd cut the line.

Currie: So they had their copy and would listen to you?

Mosby: Yes, they had their copy and would listen to you. So if it was really a hot story, you'd send both by telegraph and phone. You'd sit in the central telegraph, waiting to get it cleared so you could rush to the phone booth there. I can't remember how many phone booths they had.

Currie: That clearing could take days sometimes?

Mosby: Yes. Sometimes they'd clear it right away if it was a story that did them good. Otherwise, you could wait maybe five minutes or maybe five hours. On some stories down the years, oh, yes, there was copy that could be days in the censors' office, while they brooded about it. If it was an ordinary story like something that the translator would find in Pravda or the other morning papers, you'd write a story that would be not a front page story, not page two, but page four or five or something, and you'd give that to the driver just to take down and dump at the censor's office at central telegraph.

Currie: But if there was a story that was important, you'd go yourself?

Mosby: Yes, hoping that one could get on the phone, too.

Currie: Once you gave it to these people behind the curtain, you couldn't really argue with them, could you?

Mosby: Oh, no. Oh, no. You just sat there, waiting. There would be several correspondents sitting around waiting, and we'd chat and swap stories. There was a great camaraderie. There was rivalry, sort of, with the AP, but we were all in the same boat. UPI would try to beat the AP. We'd get tips on stories that were floating around maybe from a friend at the New York Times, for example. There wasn't then that bitter rivalry, because there weren't very many of us.

Currie: So you helped each other out?

Mosby: Yes, at times. They had little booths that you could sit in and even leave a typewriter there. I think we did leave the typewriters there. Maybe they were in the car and we brought them in. I'm not sure about that. But there was a little tiny shelf where you could fit a small typewriter. You'd sit there, and if you were covering a story that was at the Kremlin or something, you'd leave your typewriter there, then come back. You were writing a story there.

Currie: That saved you time, I bet.

Mosby: Yes, if it was some really fast-breaking story. Everybody had their own little booth, one marked UPI and one marked AP and so forth.

Currie: What if a censor sent you back a story that was completely garbled after the censor got it? How did you handle that?

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Mosby: Of course, the story that would have been sent, the London office would just try to figure out what we meant. If it was completely garbled, it wouldn't make any sense. If you were trying to phone it in—I'm trying to remember—I think we would just say to London, "We just can't give you the details," or something like that.

One of my predecessors was Whit Bassow. He was expelled, I think. I can't remember why. It was something ridiculous. Anyway, he's written a book recently called Moscow Correspondents. I should have brought it with me to show you. I have two copies back in Paris. Whit Bassow lives in New York now. I could maybe get a copy of it from somebody here.

Currie: I actually have a copy.

Mosby: Oh, you have it. If you look under "Shapiro," there are a lot of anecdotes in there about how he tried to get stories passed and so forth.

Currie: I was hoping to add to the record with your recollections.

Mosby: Yes. I just have to refresh my memory. There would be some hilarious things. They would cut out things that were just—the Russians have a big inferiority complex, you know, about their country. That's one of the problems of dealing with them now. That's an idea. I'm going to suggest that to somebody to write a column on it. I think the State Department realizes that. With people who have inferiority complexes, they're unsure of themselves. In personal relationships, you treat them a little differently, don't you?

Currie: Yes.

Mosby: A little differently.

Currie: How would you treat them?

Mosby: You understand that if they get bridling and bristly, they're trying to make up for the fact that they do feel inferior, and all that bluster is all part of it. You just have to be more understanding. I'm getting edgy now that the Bush administration—not Bush, I don't think; it's all those people around him—are snarling about the Soviet Union. And those columnists who are doing the same thing—[A.M.] Rosenthal in the New York Times and [William] Safire.

This is no time to start reviving Cold War attitudes toward the Soviet Union just because the army and the KGB are making a lot of noises. You just have to be very understanding that some in the army are getting very frightened and worried themselves that the United States is going to attack them. They don't understand that we desperately want to have a close relationship with them and that we do things together. Bush is trying to do that, like the Soviet Union and the United States being co-chairmen of the Middle Eastern negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis. But some of those people around Bush are too right-wing. I don't think they realize the situation. They should go to the Soviet Union and live there a while and see how bad it is, etc.

Currie: Did it surprise you? Was the Soviet Union different than what you expected?

Mosby: Oh, yes! I told you I expected to see everybody marching toward communism and being very strong, and then you see it isn't that way at all. They put an awful lot of money into military things. Of course, that's terrifying, but then society, as a whole, is just so backward, it's just incredible.

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They cover up their shortcomings and try to hide that and pretend that they're very big and strong, this, that, and the other, and they're not.

Currie: Did you ever write stories on these kinds of issues?

Mosby: I can't remember. I wouldn't have done that while I was there. You couldn't have done it. No, I've never written a political column.

Currie: Why couldn't you have written stories like that?

Mosby: That would have been a commentary. The journalists now could write that because they don't have censorship. I'd have to stop and think if Henry Shapiro ever did. I don't think he ever did. He knew what was going on. He probably has written that since he left. Was censorship off when he was still there? I can't remember when they finally abolished it. Oh, yes, they abolished it when I was there the second time. They abolished it by saying, "You don't have to file your copy through the central telegraph anymore." But they never would admit that censorship ever existed.

Currie: What did they say it was?

Mosby: "We have no censorship." That's all they would say. "There is no censorship in the Soviet Union." All you can do is laugh. What are you going to do? [Laughter.] Then they announced to the journalists, they brought them together at a press conference and said, "You no longer have to file through the central telegraph office." That's all. So then we could be like normal journalists, and everybody instantly got in machines that linked them to the outside world.

Currie: Teletypes?

Mosby: Teletypes, yes. You could get on a teletype and send a story out. Of course, now they have computers since those came in.

Currie: How did that change the kind of coverage you could do?

Mosby: It saved everybody a lot of time. Just read any of the stories out of the Soviet Union now. If there were censorship, they couldn't be sending all the stories about the demonstrations in the street, probably would have been censored. And they wouldn't be sending stories about the Soviet troops in Armenia. My God! A lot of that stuff was going on when we were there. We would hear, vaguely, rumors about it, but there was nothing that you could write.

Of course, nobody would even talk to you then. Now as the journalists there say—I was there last December for a week—people will openly talk to you and say, "We never would have dared to even speak to you before. Now we can tell you that we don't have this and we don't have that," and they speak very openly, just an ordinary man on the street. They never would before. That's why the world really didn't know what was going on there.

Currie: You said Henry Shapiro taught you a lot, both you and Bob Korengold.

Mosby: Oh, yes.

Currie: Can you give me some examples of what Henry Shapiro taught you?

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Mosby: Because there was censorship and because he was a strict academician, he taught us to be really very, 100 percent sure of our facts. I mean, anything involving history, to get the quote exactly right, and to write things very carefully without editorializing in any way. I think that was a very important thing, because, as I said to you before, I can read stories now, written from various capitals of the world, that I think are not right down the middle of the line. Henry was very careful about that, because a lot of journalists come there with a patriotic idea of, "We're from the United States, and the Soviet Union is wrong and we're right," especially in those days when it was really the height of the Cold War, and that's not necessarily correct. I think journalists now realize that, but not all of them. There's still some stories from Washington that are still too much reflecting what the government wants you to say, I think, and not really objective. But I would say that Henry really hammered that home. Of course, because there was censorship, you had to be very careful, too, about not getting any editorializing words in there.

I would say that was very important, and also being very conscious of history when reporting from a foreign country. You really have to know their history, going back many centuries, and take all of that into account, which explains a lot of their attitudes and so forth. He just taught us to be very discreet and very careful. For example, I told you when I was in Brussels I had three Soviet friends there who were working in the Soviet Pavilion. One was a journalist and the other two were in the government hierarchy. Of course, they were very careful about being friends with me, and if I should come to Moscow, I must be very careful. I learned that from them. I also learned it from Henry. I told him, because I didn't want to have any secrets from him, I told him that I knew some Soviets that I had met in Brussels and that I was going to contact them and be friends with them. He never asked me their names. He knew perfectly well that I wouldn't say. I mean, I wouldn't even tell him. Who knows who could be overhearing? His apartment may have been tapped; probably was. Even asking me outside, I just wouldn't tell anybody, and I never did.

Currie: Is there anything else that Henry Shapiro taught you?

Mosby: He wanted us to tell him, which we always did, of anything that we would hear which would be a story for him. That was fine.

Currie: You mean a story that was more political in nature?

Mosby: Yes, yes. Which, of course, was the big thing—the politics. When UPI sent me there, they wanted me to write stories about the people, which I did. I don't think anybody had before. There weren't enough people there to start writing stories like that. That's one thing I was interested in, too. I think that nations understand each other better if you know what the people are like. They just aren't militant villains marching down the street; they are people with problems, like anybody else. A lot of the things that I wrote about were really very welcomed and very widely printed.

For example, the Soviet friend who was a journalist, I saw him one day. You sort of meet them privately for a walk or maybe even a lunch in a little out-of-the-way place, something like that. They were always afraid they were being followed or that I was being followed. He had talked to somebody in his company—see, I'm even afraid to say it to you—who had just come back from China, and all the Russian technicians were leaving China. Well, Russia and China were just like this. [Mosby holds fingers closely together.] I told this to Henry. I waited till I got him outside, not in the office or anyplace where we could be overheard or tapped, and I told him that. He didn't believe it. At first he said, "That's not true. That's just a rumor." I said, "I don't know. The source is very reliable." The source really was. As far as I was concerned, he would

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follow it up from there. I mean, if I were there now with another bureau manager, I would say, "I'm going to look into this more and write something about it," but I wouldn't with Henry. Besides that, he had sources that Korengold and I certainly didn't have. He had been there so long, he knew a lot of people in subordinate jobs in government and in the Central Committee and all of this that he often got tips from. That's in Whit Bassow's book.

He didn't believe it at first, but then he was very wise, I think, to wait. He waited, and then there was something else that came up, where he heard something else or somebody did. I can't remember what the second clue was. Just a couple of weeks later, there was something else that came up, something in Pravda. I don't know. Then he began to look into it, and he did write a story about the Soviet Union and China, that there appeared to be some sort of a break there.

Currie: That's interesting. Was he first with that story?

Mosby: As I recall, he was. I'm not sure about that. Maybe that's in Whit Bassow's book. Too late to ask Henry now.

Currie: Yes.

Mosby: Maybe it broke, everybody got it, and I was thinking—I don't know. Maybe it's possible. Henry should have written it when I told him. I'm not sure about that. It's too long ago. I don't know.

Currie: It must have been difficult to develop sources in a country like the Soviet Union.

Mosby: Yes. Henry had been there so long, and he went there when the Soviet Union was still reasonably open, before everything cracked down. Also the fact that he had a Russian wife also helped.

Currie: How did that help?

Mosby: I always assumed that she would hear things from her Russian friends, just people she had known since childhood, and her father had been an academician, I think, of some sort. And [I assumed] that she would tell Henry, that she would hear things and would tell him .

Currie: I'm going to change this tape.

[End Tape 1, Side B; Begin Tape 2, Side A]

Mosby: I used to say, "Henry, you've got to write a book. You simply must." And he just couldn't get around to it. When he finally retired from UPI, I remember I went to visit them in Madison [Wisconsin], and I said, "Henry, are you working on a book?" He would sort of laugh and say, "Well, I am." I wasn't sure that he was. There were people who offered to go there and sit at his feet and have him just talk, and they would take down notes. I think that Whit Bassow may have been one. I think I offered to, too. Other people did [offer], and say, "Henry, just talk on a tape recorder." It was just really tragic that he never did. He just knew so much.

Currie: Someone told me that Khrushchev would often call him in and ask him how things were going to play politically. Do you know anything about that?

Mosby: I don't remember that. Was that in Whit Bassow's book?

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Currie: No.

Mosby: I don't remember that. I don't know whether he would have called him in. I don't know. Whit Bassow might know more about it than I. But they could have easily talked together at receptions. I used to talk to Khrushchev. He was very easy to get to in those days, before he was bounced out. You never knew which embassy reception he was going to show up at, and there were so many. The embassies had nothing else to do except give cocktail parties. [Laughter.] Between the three of us in the office, we may be invited to three different receptions, and we'd share them. So in addition to working all day long, you had to go to these receptions. I would have to at least quickly put on some clothing halfway acceptable and go to these receptions. There always would be some journalist at each one, wondering if Khrushchev was going to show up.

Currie: You could just walk up to him and talk to him?

Mosby: Oh, that's what he would come there for, I think. So when somebody would finally say, "My God, here comes Khrushchev," you know, we would all run and get around him and get out our notebooks. We would be politely hanging back while he talked to the diplomats and the hosts, and then we would wait for a time to sidle up close to him, and we would all get around him and try to do it in a polite and dignified way, and then he'd start talking to us. You never knew which embassy he was going to come to, so all of those receptions had to be covered. Later, as I recall, under [Leonid] Brezhnev, I don't think Brezhnev went to them. So that made that part of the work a bit easier. But Khrushchev was very easy to get to. I remember he used to put his arm around me sometimes.

Then I was sent to New York when he was there at the United Nations. I was sent to New York to help UPI's U.N. staff cover him. It was the same situation there. He would remember me and wave. He was very friendly and very open.

Currie: When he would come to these embassy parties, possibly even to give information, what kinds of information would he want to hand out?

Mosby: We would be asking him about the politics of the day, what was happening. There always was something going on. There would be some local things, too. Was the Soviet Union going to do this or that or the other? Is it true that he's going on a visit to Paris next week? Or whatever. You know, things that you never could get out of the press office.

Currie: Did they actually have press conferences?

Mosby: Yes, they had press conferences, but they would be about technical things that they wanted known. I'm not giving you a very good example, but maybe something connected with science or something that they wanted, some publicity on the minister in charge of something or other, something that they wanted publicized.

Currie: Were you doing your interviewing in Russian at this point?

Mosby: Yes. I interviewed people in Russian, but if it was something very technical, I would take along one of the translators. My Russian wasn't that good. Henry could, of course. Interviewing people on the street or talking to people on the street, something where the Russian would have been easier, I could do that.

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I could read the Tass wire in Russian and know what that was about, and also listen to the radio, the newscasts. But the translator also listened, too, in case I missed something. Also, of course, there were times when the translator wasn't there. We didn't have one twenty-four hours of the day. I can't remember when they went home. The first one would come at eight in the morning to start reading the papers, and then I'd go in my nightgown or pajamas into his office, nightgown and dressing gown. [Laughter.] Actually, I would get up probably even before that and look at the Tass wire that had run during the night, to see if we'd missed anything. Then the translator would come. I would stick my head in the door before I got dressed or ate breakfast, and say, "Is there any bulletin?" He was an ex-American who had defected many years before and spoke good American English. He was always very honest about what was news. He would say, "No, there's nothing." I'd go eat breakfast, take a bath, and get dressed.

Currie: How did you get your Russian to be so adequate?

Mosby: I had taken lessons in London before I went there, so that I knew a bit. When I got there, I was taking lessons, too. I can't remember from whom. There was a bureau called Opedika, which was in charge of foreigners, and you'd just say, "I want a Russian teacher." Because anybody in contact with us had to be somebody that was cleared. Actually, I thought that was terrible at the time, but I realized later it was a good idea, because Tonya, the cleaning woman who cleaned our office and cleaned, therefore, my apartment, was somebody that Henry just sort of hired on the black market. She was living in a hovel underneath our building, a basement or something awful. She had a husband and children, I think. So we hired her.

Then when we moved to the new building that they'd built for us, my beautiful brass curtain rods and those brass loops, you know, like that, only brass, had disappeared. I remember saying to Tonya, "What happened to those curtain rods? They were right there." She said, "I don't know." Well, obviously she'd taken them. When we were moving my things over, instead of using one of these official movers, Victor, the chauffeur, got some of his friends with a truck or something and moved my things over. On the way, they just opened my wooden chest of drawers that I'd brought, an unpainted thing that I kept my underwear in, and all my woolen underwear had vanished. Of course, they couldn't buy anything like that. And jewelry vanished, too. They really cleaned me out. What was I going to do?

When I moved to Paris and had my things shipped, again Victor and his friends packed them, and I should have known better by then. The Palekh boxes, those had disappeared. I was so mad, that time I sent a telegram to Henry. I was so mad, you know, and I said that my things had disappeared. I was just furious. So someone else was in the office, I can't remember who it was who calmed me down—maybe it was Korengold or Dick Longworth, I'm not sure—but the next time I saw them, they brought me some Palekh boxes and said, "We're giving you these." The bureau was giving me those to replace the ones that were pinched.

Currie: What are Palekh boxes?

Mosby: They're boxes made out of many layers of paper glued together, papier mâché, and they're painted enamel black. Then on the cover are these beautiful drawings of Russian folklore. You've seen them.

Currie: Yes, I have seen them.

Mosby: They come in all sizes and they were a decent price when I was there. Now they cost a fortune. In fact, I was there last December and all the correspondents were telling me this,

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it's almost impossible to find a real box made in Palekh, which is the name of a town. They're now just reproductions. And the same way with the enameled vodka cups that I bought. They only cost about $15 or $20 for one at the time; now they're about $80. Again, they're just cheap reproductions that aren't the real fine handwork. I never use them anymore because if you're serving a Russian meal, you put one at each place and put vodka in it, and you're serving caviar or smoked salmon. But who do you know now who drinks vodka? My American friends don't drink hard liquor anymore, you know. Neither do I. [Laughter.] But I would drink a shot of vodka with real caviar if somebody brought me some from Moscow. I have a lot of antique vodka cups that I bought there, and they're never going to be used, so I gave them as wedding presents to the daughter of a French friend who was getting married.

Currie: What a great present!

Mosby: Yes. I still have about three left, and I think I'll give those away, because it's a shame not to.

Currie: How important was it that you be able to do interviews in Russian?

Mosby: Of course, it's much better if you can. By the time I left, I was doing fairly well. I could go to press conferences when somebody would be button-holed, you know, and could understand what they were saying and ask questions in Russian and get a reply and so forth. I could do that. That is very important, because you don't have to waste time going through a translator. A lot of translators make mistakes. Some of them might even be hiding things, but I don't think ours were. They would just make mistakes under pressure.

Currie: It's understandable.

Mosby: Yes.

Currie: Did you know much about Russian history or culture before you arrived?

Mosby: I had studied it in university, but I hadn't specialized in it. But then before I went, I got books on Russian history. Not Russian culture, I don't think, but Russian history, and read those. When I was there, I collected some. In Paris I have, in my bookcase, quite a collection of books on Russian art and Russian history and so forth that I collected when I was there. But, of course, we had a great expert in the office in Henry. If we were writing a story and couldn't remember what happened on a certain day in 1920 or something, and even the translators would scratch their heads, I'd call up Henry. He knew. [Laughter.] His wife, of course, was also a great source because she came from a very highly educated family and she would help us on lots of things. That was one great advantage we had over the other Western correspondents there, because they didn't have anybody like that in their office. We were really number one over the AP.

Currie: In Moscow?

Mosby: Yes. When Harrison Salisbury was there during the period of time I was there, he became a very good friend. I still talk to him now and then. He had been there in the early days with Henry, too, and then gone back to the States. He was very knowledgeable about history and everything. He's an incredible man. He's written so many books.

Currie: When you knew him, he was there with the New York Times?

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Mosby: Yes. Earlier, he had been there for UPI. He had worked for UPI in Moscow.

Currie: You think the advantage you had over AP was the fact that Henry Shapiro was so well connected and so knowledgeable?

Mosby: Yes, and had such sources that the AP didn't possibly have. I don't think we were hardly ever beaten on anything.

Currie: I heard a criticism of him from someone who was in Moscow in the late seventies. This person said that he wanted to hold back on coverage of dissidents, and that some of the younger reporters were a little upset by this, that they felt the dissidents should be covered.

Mosby: There was an incident like that. I'm trying to think. That gets up to the second time I was posted there, I think. Those two times I was there, sort of blur in my mind. When the first dissident appeared, Henry waved it off, just as he had waved off when I told him that from this very good source I had this thing about the Russian technicians and everything pouring out of China and going back to the Soviet Union, there was something wrong. I remember he fluffed off that dissident thing. "Oh, you know, that's nothing." But, of course, we ran something on it. We used something on it. Then when the second one came along, to me that wasn't just somebody who was a nut, but that was somebody who was really getting serious.

He just couldn't believe it. I think he had always hoped that the Soviet system would work, the socialist system would work, and that they would get out of their problems. But on the other hand, he certainly knew from his wife and her family and various people that he knew, that there certainly were an awful lot of people who were not very happy with things. I don't know. I think it was just maybe wishful thinking. He just couldn't face the fact that it was going to become a big movement. But what were those first dissident stories? I can't remember. Was it when they were hijacking airplanes and going abroad? That was much later, the dissidents trying to get into Stockholm and so forth. Or was it diplomats who defected in the U.S?

Currie: There were a series of things.

Mosby: I'll have to read Whit Bassow's book when I get back to Paris. I've forgotten that. In my mind I'm also confusing with the American dissidents who started to come. But you're talking about Russian dissidents.

Currie: Soviet dissidents. By the late seventies, the dissidents were a big story.

Mosby: Yes. The first time, I was there from '59 through '61. Then I was in Paris until, I think, till '63. Then I got this Ford Foundation Scholarship Fund. John what's-his-name, who was in charge of it, came to Paris and asked me if I wanted to apply. By the time I decided to do it and called him, that would have been the year before, it was too late. He said, "Try for next year." So I tried for next year, and UPI gave me a year's leave of absence to study Chinese at Columbia. Then when everything fell apart in January, February, the year when [Lyndon B.] Johnson upped the war in Vietnam, the State Department told the three of us who were studying Chinese and Chinese history that we wouldn't be able to get visas to get in, so forget it.

Then UPI said, "Why don't you go back to Moscow?" I said I didn't really want to go for another term, but they said that Henry wanted to have a six-month leave of absence because he hadn't had a vacation for years. So then they sent me back to Moscow.

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Currie: What year was that?

Mosby: That would have been '64, I think. I remember that year Bud Korengold, by then, had left UPI in Moscow and gone to Newsweek. I remember we were together covering a story in Tashkent, the summit between Brezhnev and the president of India, [Lal Bahadur] Shastri. He [Shastri] died there. He died in the middle of the conference. It was a summit conference between Shastri and Brezhnev, and Shastri died. If it was '64, then that's when I was there the second time. [Shastri died on January 6, 1966.]

But all the American dissidents were—but you weren't talking about American dissidents.

Currie: Is there something interesting about the American dissidents?

Mosby: Yes. What did that person say?

Currie: She said basically that there was some controversy about Shapiro when she was in Moscow in the late seventies, that he had tried to circumvent coverage of the dissidents, and that that caused some consternation on the part of younger journalists. They felt that maybe he was either co-opted or had lost some of his objectivity.

Mosby: Yes, that's so. That's very possible, because I had met some dissidents while I was there, and, of course, Henry didn't approve of that, the first time I was there. Dissident artists. I bought a painting from one of them, Oskar Rabin, and he became quite well known. He's now in Paris. I bought another painting from him there. The second time I went to his home near Moscow to buy something, the police followed me and told me I couldn't do that. Of course, the foreign ministry found out about the dissident paintings and gently scolded me for it. They didn't get too upset.

Currie: What about Henry?

Mosby: I can't remember. Henry didn't tell me I shouldn't have bought it. He didn't say anything. In fact, did I write something about that? I can't remember.

Currie: You wrote about it in your book.

Mosby: Yes, but if I wrote something for UPI, I don't remember, about the dissident artist. That great thing about the really big movement of dissident artists, that was after I left.

Currie: Do you think Henry Shapiro had lost some of his objectivity from being there so long?

Mosby: I don't know. I'll have to think about that for a while.

When we were talking about dissidents, I was confusing it in my mind, because American dissidents started showing up, and that was really quite interesting. I think it's just because when Russia opened up to the outside world a little bit more in the sixties and the seventies, it got to be a fad, so to speak. Americans are like that. One went—that was Lee Harvey Oswald. The next thing you know, a couple of others came after that. They thought they were going to find the promised land there, and they sure didn't.

Currie: You covered some of these American dissidents?

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Mosby: Lee Harvey Oswald—I guess you must have seen that in my book. I just happened to be at the American Embassy one day checking around, which we did to find out if there was anything going on that we should know about, such as some important Americans coming to Moscow that we could interview, or any sort of a story. Just part of the beat was to drop [in] now and then at the American Embassy. We would go there often to eat in the PX, because we could get a good meal there, could get a hamburger. [Laughter.]

I guess I was in the visa passport department or something, to find out if some Americans were coming in that we should be covering. Somebody I knew there said that this American had come in and turned in his passport and said he didn't want it anymore, he was going to stay in the Soviet Union. I said, "My God! This has never happened before." They gave me his name and they said that he was staying at the Metropole Hotel.

So I called him up and said I was with United Press and I wanted to come over and talk to him. He didn't want anybody to come at first. He said no at first. I can't remember how I talked him into it. Anyway, he said I could come over, so I went over to the Metropole Hotel and interviewed him. We passed a story on him. There was censorship then. I guess they didn't care about that. There was nothing there that the Russians would object to, and that was quite a big story. It was quite a scoop.

Currie: How did he strike you?

Mosby: After I'd been with him just a short period of time, he struck me as being certainly not as if the head of the Los Alamos Laboratory or something defected, or who was a serious intellectual of obvious stature and solidity, that the Russians would snap him up and it would be really somebody. He struck me as being a rather mixed-up young man of not great intellectual capacity or training, and somebody that the Soviet Union wouldn't certainly be much interested in. But he had this cover of conceit that—oh, that they were just going to welcome him and welcome him into the hierarchy, that he'd be having lunch with all the top leaders, Khrushchev or whoever was in power then, and would be given a dacha and a big apartment and a car or something. I couldn't imagine that.

Anyway, I went back to the office and filed a story. I was very proud of my scoop. But he called me up after the other journalists got call-backs. They started yelling at him and chasing him around and everything, and he was very upset that I had written something. He said, "I let you come to see me because you were a woman, so I thought that you'd be understanding." And I felt sort of sorry for him.

Currie: That's interesting.

Mosby: Yes.

Currie: Was there ever another time where being a woman was an advantage or a disadvantage to you?

Mosby: Oh, yes, there have been times. I would say that being a woman in some ways is an advantage if people think you will be more sympathetic and understanding. But there are other times, on other stories, when physical strength was needed, for example, where it has been a disadvantage being a woman.

Currie: Can you give me an example of that?

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Mosby: I incorrectly thought that it would be a disadvantage if I went to Vietnam or to the war in the Pacific. Looking back on it now, I see that I was wrong. I should have gone. Because there were several women correspondents in Vietnam, Americans.

Currie: I talked to Roger Tatarian.*

Mosby: Oh, I must call him. Thank you for reminding me, because he's not in the best of health.

Currie: He isn't?

Mosby: No.

Currie: He sounded pretty spunky.

Mosby: That's good. He's had a heart problem for many years. That's why he quit UPI and went to teach in a small, quiet community [Fresno, California] and got out of New York. He was just a hero. He's an example of the way a lot of UPI people were. I don't know whether they are now. You could just tell by talking to him, I'm sure, that he is someone who's kind and warm.

Currie: He was the editor-in-chief of UPI at one point, wasn't he?

Mosby: Yes. When he quit, he was editor-in-chief, but he had a heart attack or some sort of a heart problem. The doctor told him he'd just have to get out of the news business and out of New York. He was right to have done so, because this was many years ago. He's still alive and okay. I must call him.

Currie: One of the things he said to me was that no women he'd ever assigned to Vietnam ever asked to be relieved, but some of the men did.

Mosby: Oh, really? That's interesting. Well, the women would have been trying to prove something. I never asked to be relieved from either China or Moscow. Anyway, I should have gone to Vietnam. I'm sorry I didn't.

Currie: It's interesting that you said the women were probably trying to prove something. Did you feel, as a woman, you had to prove something?

Mosby: Yes. As I told you yesterday, it's like Avis rental cars. If you're number two, you try harder.

Currie: You said that about UPI.

Mosby: Yes. I feel that about myself, too. I would think that most women journalists whom I knew at the time were the same. I think that's true probably in a great number of fields.

Currie: Do you think you were ever denied an assignment because you were a woman? Not one that you refused, but one that was denied you because you were a woman?

* Former editor-in-chief of UPI.

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Mosby: Yes. If I had a better memory, I'm sure I could think of some stories that I wanted to go out on, but that a man was sent because it would have been physically harder. Maybe I can think of some in the next couple of days. I can't think of one offhand, but I'll try to think of one.

Currie: You talked about stories and how they would be censored. I wonder if you can give me an example of a story that sailed through without censorship, either a specific example or the kind of story that might get through censorship easily.

Mosby: The kind of story would have been something very official, such as Khrushchev announcing something or a speech that Khrushchev had made to the Central Committee or something that had been released. I suspect the censors may have even had a copy of it to check by, to make sure the quotes were right or something. Other than that, it would go right through.

Currie: Do you remember a particular story that the censors gave you a hard time with?

Mosby: I think there are some examples in my book. I should look in my book and see. I remember that there was something. They would take the press now and then visiting places. We went way to the far north, where there were reindeer and things. I was just describing something there, and they kept refusing my copy. I couldn't figure out why, and I finally did. It was something I said about the reindeer.

Currie: Something that they just didn't like. I think there is that example in your book.

Maybe this is a good place to stop for now.

Mosby: Okay.

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Currie: We still have you in Moscow. I was wondering if we would talk a little bit about some of the stories you covered when you were in Moscow.

Mosby: Yes. I remember when the U-2 spy plane was shot down and the pilot was captured and brought to Moscow, and his family was there.* I still have a photograph that I took of the mother standing there with her son. That was quite a touching thing. I've forgotten what happened to him.

Currie: He was sentenced and then released.

Mosby: Yes. Then there were trips of various American officials who would come there, and I would be assigned by Henry to chase them around. I remember Richard Nixon's trip. We went way out to Siberia with him on that. It was a good way to see the Soviet Union. Correspondents didn't travel then as much as they do now, because especially under Khrushchev, there was so much happening in Moscow, you just couldn't leave the agency, couldn't leave the Tass machine unwatched and the papers unwatched. Somebody always had to be there.

Currie: Would the Soviets allow you to travel?

Mosby: They didn't allow us to travel nearly as much as the correspondents can do now. I went to Leningrad a couple of times.

Currie: But these visits of American officials were good excuses to get out into the country?

Mosby: Yes, get to see things. Siberia was really quite fascinating.

Currie: Were you restricted in what you could cover, even of their trips? How did you handle filing and coverage when you would go outside of Moscow?

Mosby: As I recall, I would phone into the Moscow bureau and dictate it, and they would handle it from there. We may have sent some things on teletype. The second time I was in Moscow, that was when Shastri died, the Brezhnev-Shastri summit meeting in Tashkent, I believe it was.

On those junket things, you had to keep an eye on what was going on. I had my nightgown on, but a dressing gown over it, and I had the door to my room open, so that if anything happened or somebody ran down the hallway, I would hear it. I just happened to be peering out the door when my old friend Bob Korengold went striding by. He was then with Newsweek, as I told you. He said, "Shastri has died." So I went running to find somebody from either Shastri's delegation or the Soviet press people to confirm it. This was after midnight. Most people had gone to bed. I finally found somebody to confirm it, so then I went running down to the telex office. The hotel had a big telex, and I sent it by telex to London. I called the London office on the telex and sent a flash that Shastri had died. So I really beat the AP on that. [Laughter.]

* On May 5, 1960, Francis Gary Powers, an American on a spy mission for the U.S. in a U-2 plane, was shot down over the USSR. He was put on trial, convicted, and in 1962 exchanged for a Soviet spy.

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Then having done that, I went upstairs. As I went upstairs to go to Henry's room, because he had gone to bed early, he usually did go to bed earlier than the rest, I passed the AP correspondent who was running around trying to find somebody to confirm it. I didn't help him, however. [Laughter.] I went into Henry's room and woke him up, and I said, "Henry, Shastri has died." He said, "Oh," you know. Feeling that he would be pleased, I said, "I sent a flash to London that he died." He said, "You mean you sent out a story without showing it to me first?" [Laughter.]

Currie: So you were supposed to show everything to him?

Mosby: Oh, that was his attitude at the moment, yes. Heavens, it was just the news story; I wasn't writing a political commentary or anything. So then he got up and we pieced together another longer piece.

It was interesting to see that part of the Soviet Union. After I left there, I wanted to see something else, so Henry said I could visit Uzbekistan and other nearby republic of the Soviet Union. But I think it was in Tashkent itself that I was with two East German correspondents, and we had heard that there was a ballet theater there, so we thought, "Let's go to the theater tonight and see what they're doing." So we went to this ballet theater, and it was reasonably large and really quite beautiful. It was Russian ballet from Moscow, some sort of a troupe doing "Swan Lake" or something. There were about ten people in the audience. During the intermission, we were outside. I said to the usher who showed us to our seats—now, an interview like this I would do in Russian, and that would be simple. I wouldn't need a translator to talk to somebody like that. I said, "There are only ten people here to see this lovely Russian ballet. I don't understand. What's wrong?"

He said, "Oh, but you should come some night when we're showing our own folk dances." That was a really strong feeling I had, and one of the first-hand feelings I had gotten about the attitudes among the various ethnic groups and the fact that they regarded Russia as their conqueror. Of course, that was something you would never see reflected in the Soviet press.

In fact, that was one thing I disagreed with Henry on from the very beginning. When I first arrived in Moscow, as I said, I had not been a Soviet expert, although I had studied Russian history before I went in. I read books on Soviet history and so forth. But when I got there, I had been there just a couple of weeks and I said to Henry, listening to the translator, reading all the papers, the papers from the provinces and these other republics, looking at them all to see if there was anything exciting and so forth, and just observing—maybe I'd been there two months—I said, "Henry, this business of the Soviet Union, to me, I've looked around now and I've come to the conclusion it isn't the Soviet Union; it's Russia and her colonies. I don't see how it's any different than France and Britain when they had colonies."

He huffed and puffed and didn't like that. He said, "Well, if you call it a colony, there has to be a body of water between the motherland and the colony." I wasn't going to argue with him, so I didn't say anything. That was one thing I disagreed with him on very strongly.

I'm interested to see now that the ruptures that come between Russia and its colonies, that there are correspondents now using the word "colonies." The New York Times people do, the Washington Post people do. They use that word, and they keep saying "Soviet empire" and "colonialism" and the "colonies." So it wasn't just me. When I read that, I felt vindicated. [Laughter.]

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Currie: Did you ever write any stories about that?

Mosby: No, no. To write something like that, I don't know, you're just so busy covering news stories, you don't think of it. It wouldn't be a news story; it would be more or less a commentary. It's something that I don't think I could have written inside the Soviet Union. It would have had to be written outside for somebody else. UPI didn't have any sort of a thing that allowed for—you could do it in certain ways, but not really. It would have taken a lot of research. I never did it.

Currie: Maybe this is the time to talk about your experience with the KGB.

Mosby: Oh, yes. That was on the first visit. In Whitman Bassow's book, we're old pals, and he came to Paris and interviewed me, and I don't know why he didn't get it a little more straight.

Currie: This is your chance to tell the whole story from beginning to end, put it on the record, so it's exactly right.

Mosby: Yes. I was covering the British fair in Moscow, I believe it was, and I had been out there a couple of days. I think about the second time I was there, two young men were following me around, attractive young men, late twenties, something like that. I didn't pay much attention to them. Finally, after a while they were still there. I decided it would be safe to talk to them, because it was very hard to talk to Russians who would talk back to you, and find out anything. So I just turned to talk to them, I can't remember what about, and then they said, "Well, we would like to take you out to lunch some day." So I said, "Well, all right." I thought, "Well! Russia must be changing, you know. This sounds a little like a pick-up." Anyway, I gave them my name and the office telephone number, and I said, "Well, call me sometime."

A few days later, they telephoned and they said, "Could you have lunch with us?" It was in a restaurant next door to the Metropole Hotel. I've forgotten the name of it. It was reasonably popular then. So they said, "Meet us there at twelve o'clock."

Well, the more I thought about it, the more nervous I got. I thought, "Maybe they're the KGB. I don't know what it could be, but it sounds very dangerous," and I really was afraid to go, so I didn't go.

Then the next day, he called me. The fellow called me and he said, "Where were you? We waited hours for you." He said, "We brought you a big bouquet of flowers and you weren't there." I thought, "Oh, that sounds really suspicious and very strange. Why would they be so anxious to see me?" I thought, "Well, he's never seen an American before." I thought if they were hoodlums trying to rob me or something, it would be safe in a restaurant, because I could run, and I wouldn't go anyplace with them after the restaurant.

So I told Korengold about it, and I told Henry about it, too. We debated. Finally, I had said to the man, "Well, okay. Let's meet tomorrow," or something. Then I debated whether to show up or not. I discussed it with Korengold. I told him about it before, and I'm almost sure I told Henry. He finally said, "We don't have much of a chance to talk to Russians, and you might go find out some things about the young generation. It might be a good story." I said, "Okay, I'll go, but if I'm not back here by—" I was supposed to meet them at one thirty or something like that. "If I'm not back here by six o'clock, you'd better call the cops." He said, "Okay."

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So I went, and I didn't come back. Korengold was in the office till about ten or eleven—about ten, I think it was. He thought, "Well, Aline must be having a great time. She hasn't come back." This was a terrible mistake he made. [Laughter.] So he didn't do anything about it.

Meanwhile, I had gone and met these characters. The minute I sat down with them and tried to talk with them about—I can't remember what we talked about. They were already in the restaurant and they had drinks poured. No, I can't remember that. I'm not sure we met inside or outside. I think we met inside. I had been invited for lunch, and they ordered a drink. I can't remember if they asked me what I wanted, or maybe the drinks were already there. I think that was it; the drinks were already on the table. They were small glasses and it was sort of that color. [Mosby indicates.]

Currie: You mean white?

Mosby: No, I mean that wood.

Currie: The dark brown wood.

Mosby: I took a sip, and I said, "That's cognac," which the Russians drink before eating, which is, of course, ridiculous. Cognac isn't made to be drunk before eating. Just the very thought of it is sickening. I mean, would you want to?

Currie: No.

Mosby: I mean, it's just—yuck. I said, "I don't drink cognac, and certainly not before eating. I just refuse to drink it." And they kept holding up their glasses, saying, "Mir i druzhba," which means "Peace and friendship." That was the motto that the Communists would say to everybody: "Mir i druzhba." So I just refused to drink it. I said, "I won't drink it." I said, "What are we going to eat?" I was always interested in eating. They said, "Oh." So they told the waiter to bring something. I mean, they hadn't even planned on giving me any food. They brought something, and it wasn't very much. I don't think it was a hot dish, a salad of some sort, or maybe it was. I can't remember. Anyway, it was just one plate of food.

They kept saying, "Mir i druzhba," and I just refused to drink. So then finally I said, "I'll have a glass of champagne, because I don't drink something like that." So the waiter brought a glass of champagne.

Then they started to show me icons, which is the first sign that they were really black market hoodlums, you know, trying to peddle icons to a foreigner. They were small ones, so I was sort of busy. My face was turned away, and I was busy looking at these things. I looked at the table and the glass on the table, and the glass wasn't clear anymore; it was a golden color. I said, "Oh, you put some of the cognac in it." My glass of cognac was still sitting there and I thought they had put some of that in it. I said, "You don't put cognac in champagne."

He kept saying, "Mir i druzhba," and they were trying to be friendly, joking and everything, so I finally said, "Okay, I'll have a sip." I drank some of the small glass of champagne, a third of it or something. Then I got out my Russian dictionary to tell them I thought they were hoodlums, and I was looking up in the dictionary some word that I can't remember, an English word that would do for that. When I looked at the dictionary, the lines of the dictionary, I could not read the letters printed like A, B, C, D, E, F, G, one after another, the words were a solid dark line like this. [Mosby demonstrates.] My whole dictionary. My eyes just were gone. I could not read.

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I thought, "My God, they poisoned me." I looked up and the room began to swim. They were sitting there watching me, you know, and I grabbed my handbag and got up. I thought, "I've got to get away from them." I staggered out of the restaurant, just weaving between the tables.

I managed to get outside and sort of collapsed, sitting on a windowsill. There was a photographer waiting, taking pictures of me. The next thing I knew, the two fellows were out there, they came out and stood there laughing at me, sort of chuckling, you know, and they said, "Come on. We're going to take you this way." They kept trying to drag me off in the other direction, and I was yelling, "Help!" and so forth.

A policeman came up and he said, "You're drunk." In Russian he said, "You must be drunk," and he called a car. I was taken to a drunk tank. The only thing I remember about the drunk tank is sort of opening my eyes and seeing that they had written an identification number on my knee, like they put on convicts, you know. Then I don't remember anything else.

The next thing I knew, I woke up the next day about noon, and Bud and Henry and the doctor from the American Embassy were waiting outside the door. I got up, opened the door, and I said, "What am I doing in bed with my clothes on?" They were just so relieved to see me alive, and they told me that the drunk tank had called the embassy, the police did, and that the embassy came and got me and took me home. I instantly said, "They slipped me a mickey." It was just very obvious, you know. That was it. Horrible.

Currie: That's horrible.

Mosby: It was a horrible experience. I remember a German journalist came over a couple of days later when the story got around, and he said one thing he had learned when he came to the Soviet Union, he said, to never eat or drink with anybody unless it's at a big reception where you're sure that it would be all right. Don't ever eat or drink with any of the Russians, because you never know.

Currie: What do you think they were trying to accomplish?

Mosby: The story wound up on the front page of Izvestia. I think they were trying to make me look like a drunken idiot and discredit me in the eyes of the Russian people.

Currie: Why would they single you out?

Mosby: Probably because I was a woman and they thought I would be a little too innocent, which I was, and also the editor of Izvestia, Alexei Azhubei, I think he had it in for me. He didn't like me, anyway. He disapproved of me. At one reception I was wearing makeup, no more than I was last night. I don't have anything on today, but I don't wear a great deal. He came up with his handkerchief and wiped off my lipstick and wiped off my eye shadow like that. [Mosby demonstrates.] I just think he had it in for me. I think he probably organized it. A couple of other people do, too, in Moscow. In fact, one Russian journalist on Izvestia said he thought probably Azhubei had something to do with it. He was the son-in-law of Khrushchev, and he knew everybody. He got together with the KGB and thought this would be a good propaganda story. I don't know. That's just my feeling. Of course, when Khrushchev was bounced out, so was he.

Anyway, it was a horrible experience. One person at the American Embassy said, "You're sure you weren't really drunk?" I got very upset at that. In the first place, I would never be

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staggering drunk. I've never been staggering drunk in my life, and I certainly wouldn't have been. Anyway, it was a horrible experience. I'd love to solve the mystery of it. Maybe some day, now that things are loosening up, I might find out somehow exactly what happened.

However, I must add that after that, another correspondent, not from the United States, but from some other country, was slipped a mickey in some southern city, not in Moscow, but in another city. We heard about that later.

Currie: What were the repercussions of this?

Mosby: The first thing I did, I went to the foreign ministry. Henry went with me. I told them exactly what had happened, and the press attaché listened sympathetically and didn't say very much. He said, "Thank you very much," and I was never expelled.

Currie: Were you afraid you might be?

Mosby: Yes, I thought maybe I would be, you know. But it's very possible that the KGB and Azhubei did that without the foreign ministry knowing anything about it or without the press department knowing anything about it. Some day maybe I'll find out what happened. So anyway, I survived. I wasn't expelled, and I stayed on.

Currie: This must have given you pause, though.

Mosby: I don't know. Bassow asked me that. I notice it is in this book he wrote. It was very upsetting for a couple of days. Then I just took it in stride. As Henry said, "Do you want to leave? Are you afraid to stay?" I said, "No. I knew when I came here that this is sort of an enemy country. You just can't expect to be treated very well. It's not going to influence anything I write. I'll write objectively and I'm not going to start writing nasty things about them." No, it's something to be expected.

Currie: Neither Henry Shapiro nor Bob Korengold were that concerned about you going on this, were they?

Mosby: No.

Currie: Had these kinds of things happened to correspondents before?

Mosby: Not to correspondents. There was one diplomat, they did something to him in a church. I forget what that was, as he was standing in a church. After that, there was a story that it happened to somebody else, but it wasn't in Moscow, it was in some other city. Since then, I don't think it's happened to anybody. I was a target because I was a woman and someone who was sort of adventurous. Although I was timid about going to the Vietnam War, I wasn't timid about doing any stories in Moscow, although I had great reservations about this, and I kept thinking, "This could probably be a trap of some kind." I somehow thought I'd be safe if I went to a restaurant and didn't drink their cognac. I thought the food that would come from the restaurant would be safe. I don't know. Maybe the food was drugged, too. Maybe the restaurant was in on it. I don't know.

Currie: You were the only woman correspondent in Moscow at this point?

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Mosby: The only other one was a woman, an American, named Priscilla Johnson, who also interviewed Lee Harvey Oswald after I did, a couple of days after I did. She was the only other one who got him, because he was sent off to Minsk. She was a freelancer there just temporarily. Let me think. At that time, no, there weren't any others. Oh, for a while there was a French woman there, someone older than I was, from France Soir in Paris. She wound up marrying Preston Grover, who was the AP bureau chief upstairs from where we were.

Currie: There weren't many women correspondents there.

Mosby: No.

Currie: That made you more vulnerable as a target?

Mosby: Oh, yes, and made me stick out more, particularly because I was American. I don't think they paid much attention to the older French woman as a target.

Now, getting back to other stories, there was the U-2 plane and Nixon's trip. I'm trying to remember what else happened.

Currie: Maybe we could talk a little bit about how you actually did your job.

Mosby: I told you about getting up in the morning and running in to ask the translator what was in the papers and so forth. If there was anything big, I'd get on the phone to Henry and call him in his apartment. Then you'd have to sit there and keep busy and keep awake while the translator would go through all the press. [Laughter.] While he was doing that, I'd be doing other odds and ends, working on a story or a feature story or something while he was reading the papers. By the time he got them read, then he'd tell me everything that was in the papers. Not everything, but the things he felt were newsworthy. By the time you struggle through the papers, it's noon.

Currie: Did you get a lot of your stories directly from the Russian press?

Mosby: Oh, yes. Some days that would be the only source you would have. Before they started having a lot of news conferences and letting the press see a little bit more, there wasn't any other source. I remember Harrison Salisbury told me, when he was there for UPI many years before that, that it got so that Pravda wouldn't even print anything, hardly anything, about anything, and all the other papers were nothing, too. If you even tried to pass a little story about the weather, that the spring sunshine had arrived in Moscow and that there were people getting married, and that the countryside was in bloom or something, they would kill it. I remember I asked Harrison why, and he said, "Well, the weather is really a military thing." So they wouldn't even let you write about the weather. He had a dacha there that he shared with another correspondent, I forget who, outside of Moscow, and he said they'd just go out there for the weekend and there was nothing to write about. Listen to the radio in case there was something, but there was hardly anything to cover. Then there were just three or four correspondents there. There wasn't much to do. [Laughter.]

Then by the time I got there, there were a few more things to do. Depending on what would be happening, if there was anything to write, I'd have to write and, if it was important, go off to the telegraph. If it wasn't, I'd give it to the driver. Henry might be working on—he did write commentaries and various things. Then there might be an embassy luncheon he'd be invited to or something going on to cover, like if there were any Americans doing anything, or anything that the Russians had invited us to, various news conferences. I don't know. The time would go by.

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One would be kept pretty busy. We tried to write features when it was quiet enough that you would have time to do that.

Currie: Did you try to develop sources, say, just average Russian sources?

Mosby: I had those three, and I did meet one more man who was friendly, from the foreign ministry or something. Yes. He asked me to be a spy. [Laughter.]

Currie: Tell me about that.

Mosby: He said, "I'll meet you every week, and you tell me what goes on in the American Embassy." I said, "I don't work in the embassy. How would I know?" He said, "Well, you must hear things. Then I'll tell you what goes on in the foreign ministry." So I said, "That's impossible." But I told Henry, anyway, because I wanted him to know.

Currie: Was it hard to develop sources?

Mosby: Sure. One can get friendly with Soviet journalists. That was about the only thing. My friends in the foreign ministry were very nice. I would go out with them now and then, these two fellows that I had met in Brussels. I remember one of them took me ice skating; that was fun. Sometimes one of them would take me to the movies or something like that. But they were very correct. They wouldn't dare even touch me.

Currie: Why was that?

Mosby: They'd get in horrible trouble if they got involved with an American woman, especially a journalist. Oh, my God! They'd be sent to Siberia or something. I'm sure they probably told their superiors that they were going to see me. I remember one of them took me out to dinner once and then came into the bureau, and I remember the other one came after I bought that Russian dissident artist's painting, and made a joke about it. That might have been when I had a cocktail party and invited everybody I knew from the foreign ministry, including them. We didn't have too much time to go out, except out to dinner. Now and then you could manage a dinner. The only reason you could is that foreigners didn't have to wait in line; you could go to the head of the line in the restaurants.

There would be visitors in town. Then Americans could travel, and a few old friends showed up. I remember there was one friend who was a doctor from Los Angeles, whom I'd known in Los Angeles, and he came over to the office and hoped that I could just take him around town. I was busy listening to the translator, reading what was in the papers, and I couldn't. I said, "I can't. I'll call you at the hotel later or something." He just looked around and he called and said, "I can't stand this place. I'm leaving." And he left. [Laughter.] He flew back to Los Angeles.

Currie: No spirit of adventure.

Mosby: No, and I think he was a little irked because I didn't drop everything and show him the town. I couldn't do that. I was working.

Currie: These Russian sources that you developed, were they able to give you good story tips?

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Mosby: I think they did on things that were not too harmful, and they also were good about explaining to me a lot about how the people lived and so forth. One of them was Georgian and one of them was Russian. Of course, the Georgian wouldn't say anything, but it was very obvious that he felt ethnically quite different from the Russians. I just learned from them a lot about how people lived.

There was one man from the foreign ministry who was friendlier than others, and I remember one night when I was with these young men from the foreign ministry, we wound up in his apartment. We were only there about half an hour, sitting around a table with a lace tablecloth. They were all drinking vodka. Then all of a sudden he said, "Oh, what are we doing here? It's late." He shooed us all out. But I was there about twenty minutes or so.

Currie: So it wasn't normal for you to visit them in their homes?

Mosby: Oh, no. They weren't supposed to invite any foreigners. I was there about twenty minutes, I guess. I think that was the only Russian home that I ever got into until I went back last fall.

Currie: Did you ever invite Russians into yours?

Mosby: Yes. I remember having a cocktail party at one time, and that must have been why they were there. Some were journalists and some were foreign ministry people who were our contacts and so forth. Henry's contacts came from people whom he had known before there was the terrible crack-down. He was there. I can't remember; it's in that book.

Currie: The twenties.

Mosby: 1926 or something, when it was much easier to see people. He knew academicians and people in science. We would have had no chance of knowing anybody like that. Now I think the correspondents do have sources, because now the Russians want the news out and they want everybody to know what's happening. So it's much easier. When we were there, it was very closed.

Currie: When you'd write a story, you'd have to use existing Russian newspaper stories?

Mosby: You'd have to quote Pravda or whatever it was, or the foreign ministry or whatever ministry you got the story from.

Currie: So it must have been hard to use enterprise in that situation.

Mosby: If you felt something was coming up, you could really hound the foreign ministry until you got something, and maybe before they announced it to everybody. You still could. It was very difficult, certainly.

Currie: You were sent to do pieces on the people and how they lived?

Mosby: I was sent to do the news, but they also wanted pieces on the people and how they lived, because that was the thing that obviously wasn't Henry's academic style. So Bud Korengold and I both would write features about various things that were safe to write about—shopping or what there is to buy.

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Currie: It still must have been hard, because if you didn't have that much access to Russian people, then—

Mosby: I'd just go to the stores and watch them shop, and take notes on what was available. I don't know, just things. I can't remember what else. I went to the seashore once. On the Black Sea, was it? I went swimming a couple of times down there and wrote about that, the people at the beach.

Currie: It sounds like you had to use a lot of power of observation.

Mosby: Oh, yes.

Currie: Instead of interviewing skills.

Mosby: Yes, it would be largely that. Many of the Russians you would come in contact with, the official types, were just impossible. You must have read time and again in the tourists guides, that if you go to various parts of the Soviet Union, they are usually quite rude and abrupt and not the least bit friendly. They're not supposed to be. I can't remember some of the other things I wrote about.

Currie: I think you also wrote about the death of [Boris] Pasternak.

Mosby: Oh, yes. I remember going out to his dacha.

Currie: Can you tell me about how that story unfolded?

Mosby: I don't remember. I suppose it was announced officially. I remember going out to his dacha, and we were allowed to go there. It wasn't exactly a funeral ceremony, but there were a lot of people there, all his friends and big-wigs an so forth. I remember there were quite a few people there. It was interesting to see his home.

I tried to do stories on the Bolshoi Ballet, for example, and I interviewed Dmitri Shostakovich, I think it was. It must have been. Horn-rimmed glasses. He was so nervous at being interviewed by an American correspondent, perspiration was just going down his face, his hands were trembling. I since have read things about his background and how he stuck with them, how a lot of the other composers fled the country but he stayed behind and put out their propaganda, what they told him. They told him he had to write music that was no longer romantic or personal, but that would inspire the revolution and so forth. He went along with them for years. He was so nervous, that I finally just left. I didn't want to go through it anymore. I didn't get much of a story.

Currie: Let me turn the tape.

[End Tape 2, Side A; Begin Tape 2, Side B]

Mosby: I can't remember if I interviewed any of the Bolshoi dancers. I don't remember that.

Currie: When you were doing these interviews, like with Shostakovich or the Bolshoi dancers, did you have to get permission from any bureaucracy?

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Mosby: Oh, of course. Oh, indeed. Everything goes through the foreign ministry. Now, of course, it's different. I assume it's different. It depends on who it is.

Currie: So how was that done?

Mosby: You'd contact the foreign ministry and say, "I want to interview Dmitri Shostakovich. Can you organize it?" Two weeks later, you don't hear anything, so you call up again. "We're working on it." You know. Then they call you, "You have an appointment next Tuesday (or Wednesday) at the Academy of Music," or wherever it was. It was some official building. You go there with the translator, and there was somebody from the Academy of Music. Somebody else was there.

Currie: So it wasn't conducive to a very good interview.

Mosby: No.

Currie: He was being watched.

Mosby: Yes, yes.

Currie: Difficult circumstances.

Mosby: Yes. I went to Leningrad a couple of times, but I don't remember what I wrote about there. Maybe I wrote about the museum and the palaces. I'd have to look at my book and see if that would remind me of something. We went in a boat once. I don't know what the boat was for. Of course, as more and more Westerners were allowed in, often we'd get requests to follow the senator or that governor around. You'd have to be with them all day.

Currie: Would you report then on their meetings?

Mosby: Yes. You'd talk to them and they'd tell you what they learned and what they thought of the Soviet Union, etc., etc.

Then from there I went to Paris for the first time, from Moscow.

Currie: Let me ask you about Russia, though. What do you think you learned from your experience, reporting in the Soviet Union?

Mosby: Do you mean learned about the Soviet Union or learned about reporting?

Currie: About reporting.

Mosby: You really have to be very sharp-eyed, you know, and very alert at all times. In a place like that, you never know when you're going to hear something that's really important. You have to face the fact that you've got this bureaucracy facing you, but still to be on good terms with them so that they can help you when necessary, and especially, as I said before, to write objectively and without sounding like you've waving the star-spangled banner every five minutes and assuming that everything they do is wrong. You just have to keep a sharp eye out, because often there are interesting things to see. I think I wrote about the Leningrad flea market or something like that.

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Currie: That would have been interesting. They're still doing stories on the Leningrad flea market.

Mosby: Really?

Currie: Sure. I found one on TV last year. It's interesting. It's a good story.

Mosby: The flea market in Moscow vanished. You never could find one there. I still have a little old clock that I got in Leningrad that actually had been made in France, but that goes to the days when there were a lot of French running around Leningrad.

Currie: You also have some Fabergé, I think you showed me in your apartment.

Mosby: Oh, yes. Ludmilla Shapiro helped me get a lot of those things, because she had more time to shop. Being a native of Moscow, she knew which of the commission shops that sold these would get something in. She'd just hear it from friends and tell me. I really owe it all to her. She wants to come visit me in Paris, and I called her after Henry died to say I had heard Henry died, and I was so sorry. She said she wanted to come visit me. Her daughter visited me in Paris.

Currie: How nice.

Mosby: Her daughter was going to come to Montana last year, but she didn't get out there.

Currie: So the first trip to the Soviet Union, the first assignment, you stayed for how long?

Mosby: Almost three years.

Currie: Why did you decide to leave, or did you decide to leave?

Mosby: Yes, I decided I'd had enough. I mean, it really gets to be a lot. Now there would be so much more to write about and it would be much more exciting, but I just decided I had enough. I was exhausted. I just had enough. So I told UPI I wanted to go to another bureau, and they said there was an opening in Paris. Now, wait a minute. How did that cat get to New York?

Currie: That's right. You had cats in the Soviet Union.

Mosby: Yes. I got a cat, because after I'd lived in the apartment just a couple of months, the mice were all over the place. So I told Henry I thought there should be an office cat. So it was either the chauffeur or Tonya, the cleaning woman, said that in somebody's basement there were some cats, so they went down in the basement. It's horrible to think about it. Very beautiful, what they call Siberian cats. They're the kind of cats here that would be in a cat show and win a medal. Very long hair, you know.

They caught one of the kittens. Not a kitten; sort of a teenager, about so. [Mosby demonstrates and gives description of length of coat.] It was very dark gray. They brought it home and I said, "Oh, my God, the cat's filthy." So Tonya and I put the cat in the bathtub and gave it a bath. It was, of course, practically screaming and wild and rejected this. Under that coal dust—they'd been living in a coal bin—the cat was white with big orange and black patches, with very long hair. So I called her Natasha. [Laughter.] I had her spayed at a vet. They do have vets. After the operation, they don't bind them like they do in the United States, but that's true

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in France, too; they put them in little surgical gowns, as if they were a person, with arms and leggings and everything, and tie them up that way. She got over that.

Then she began vomiting worms, the poor thing. I took her to the vet and they said, "Oh, why don't you just have her put to sleep." I said, "No, no, no. You've got to cure her." I wrote a story on the vet. That was a story. I wrote a story of what it was like. I was surprised they even had any. But I don't think they knew much what they were doing. So they kept giving her things, purges. I don't know how that cat ever survived, but I finally got her back, covered with oil. I guess he'd been giving her oil to purge the things out of her intestines. But she survived that.

Then when I left—am I getting my years mixed up? It must have been this first time I left. Oh, it couldn't be. I'm getting mixed up. I went to Paris. I was posted in the Paris bureau, but then Natasha, the cat, was shipped to me in New York when I was working there. That doesn't make any sense, because I was in Paris two years.

Currie: Maybe you picked up Natasha on the second trip.

Mosby: No. That really is a mess. I don't understand how that happened. Well, I must have gone to New York on a vacation or something before I started to work in the Paris bureau, because I remember that I had left behind Natasha, the cat, with a foreign diplomat friend in our building. When I was in New York, this diplomat sent word that they were leaving, so they were going to ship the cat to me. I remember that she arrived in a cage, and the people had very nicely tied food to the bars. She changed planes at Helsinki—I don't know how she lived through it—and Copenhagen and got to New York. I remember going out to the airport there and trying to find her, and finally found the cage. Poor Natasha. Or was this in Paris? Now, wait a minute. Oh, this is ridiculous. Yes, she was sent to me in Paris. Then after two years she went with me to New York.

Anyway, after I was next posted in the Paris bureau.

Currie: That would have been 1962?

Mosby: Yes.

Currie: In the meantime, you wrote a book about your experiences.

Mosby: I wrote the book in Moscow. A publisher, Random House, had asked me to do it. When I was in New York covering Khrushchev, a Random House editor asked me to write a book about what it was like to live there. Not a political book, just what it was like to live there. It was published when I was in Paris, I guess.

Currie: I'm pretty sure it was published in 1962.

Mosby: I was in Paris in '62 and '63 and '64, I think. Then I went to New York and did that nine months of studying Chinese.

Currie: You got the Ford Foundation [scholarship].

Mosby: Yes, the Ford Foundation [scholarship], for studying Chinese and Chinese history at Columbia. In the middle of the year, as I told you, in January or February, the State Department

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man, who had come to see us before and encouraged us to continue studying so that we would have a good knowledge of Chinese language and history before going there, then he came back to say, "Forget it. There's no chance now that we'll be renewing diplomatic relations with them at this point."

Currie: So you were kind of high and dry.

Mosby: I did some lecture tours instead of doing my master's thesis, so I never did get a master's degree, the degree itself. But anyway, I stayed through the graduation.

Then I went back. Because I wasn't going to China, UPI said, "Well, why don't you go back to Moscow? We need somebody to do vacation relief, because Shapiro is going away for six months," as I recall. So I went back. Things were quite different. I remember I stayed in the ABC apartment, I think, when the man was on vacation. Who was there for UPI then in the new office? Henry was there for a while, but he was gone most of the time. Oh, I remember—Jay Axelbank. Then he went to some magazine in New York, I think. It was during that year that it was the Tashkent story that I told you about.

Currie: You were in Moscow only a year the second time?

Mosby: Yes. Then when Henry got back from his sabbatical or whatever it was, then I forget where I wanted to go. Oh, that was when I went to New York. Yes, they wanted me to go back to Paris or something, but I said, no, I wanted to go to New York. So I was there about two or two and a half years. That's when they put me in the features department to write these long features. That was sort of fun, traveling all over the United States, doing a story on television.

Currie: You wrote a long feature on television?

Mosby: Yes. It was a four-part feature on how television was shaping up and this, that, and the other. I think that's what it was, on television. This was in the days before women's liberation and the sexual liberation, and there was some other story that happened later, I forget what. But anyway, I found New York absolutely dull and uninteresting to me. There was just very little to write about. I mean, later there was. The sexual liberation, women's liberation, and other social problems. What else swept America?

Currie: The civil rights movement.

Mosby: All of those things, yes. But when I was there, at that time in the sixties, there was just nothing.

Currie: This would have been about 1965?

Mosby: Yes, '66, '67, early '68. I was very bored, so I asked to be in the United Nations bureau after a while, and I studied Chinese there for a year, too.

Currie: So you got more Chinese?

Mosby: Yes. They have free language classes there if you're attached to the U.N. I liked very much working at the U.N. I thought it was very interesting.

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Before, when I covered Khrushchev in New York, while I was posted in Moscow, I remember being at the U.N. when he banged his shoe on the table. But at the U.N. in 1968 I just covered the general run-of-the-mill news that was going on and studied my Chinese and got to know New York. I lived near Lincoln Center, and I liked that because I could go to concerts there. I had rented an apartment in the townhouse of a brother of a friend of mine, so it was very pleasant. I was there for a while, and then I lived in another apartment on the West Side and was robbed there. I lost so many things.

Currie: You must have found the social life in New York a little more active than the Soviet Union.

Mosby: I don't know. I remember I liked going to the jazz clubs, because I'm interested in jazz. You could hear cool jazz in various little nightclubs. I'd go to the theater. My friends who had homes in Connecticut, I'd go out there for the weekend. But I wouldn't call it one of the most fun experiences of my life.

I also had an operation in the hospital. Or did I have two? I think I had two operations in the hospital. That kept me busy, laid up for a while.

And I always went to Menorca every summer from there. I would go back to Paris. As an excuse, they would ask me to cover the fashion shows, because after I had left, they were back to no women in the bureau again. So that was fun, because it would get me to Menorca. That was in the same area, so I didn't mind going back to do that. I still kept in touch with Europe that way.

Then in 1968, when I was on the foreign desk, I told you I had been in the features department and worked at the U.N. Then the foreign editor asked me to work on the foreign desk, and I learned editing that way. So I left for Europe. The European division editor wanted me there right away, and he wouldn't even let me wait for the movers to come. I asked a friend to come and sit there while the movers were there, and she sat there for a while and got bored and went home. My things were shipped to Vienna when I was summoned back to Vienna in '68, when the Russians went in.

Currie: Was that your idea to go?

Mosby: This is when I was on the foreign desk and the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia. They had to get people there in a hurry, so they wanted me to go. I was given only something like a week to get organized and get there, and I had told this close friend, who lived nearby on the West Side of New York, that I was leaving, and could she come over and sit there when the movers came. The head of the whole European division was just screaming, "You've got to get here as fast as you can!" So I had asked her to come over and sit, and she got bored and went home. Maybe it happened then or when the container that my things were in got to Hamburg. Allegedly the container broke, according to customs in Vienna.

My belongings finally got to Vienna, and I knew that they were in customs, but to take them out of customs, I didn't have an apartment yet. Besides, I was sent to Prague and I was sent to Bucharest and I was in Budapest. When I finally got to Vienna and had time to look for an apartment, I had a furnished pied à terre, and I had taken my cat with me.

Now, what happened to Natasha? During my three years in New York, Natasha was with me. Then my mother died and my Burmese cat, which I had left with my mother, still remembered me, and I just couldn't bear to part with her. I took her back to New York, and the

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Burmese cat and Natasha didn't get on. They were both grown cats, and that doesn't usually work. So I gave Natasha to some friends of the man whose townhouse I was renting part of. She was more than twenty when she died. Had this lovely home in the country. I visited her once. It was outside of New York in the hills someplace.

Anyway, so I took the Burmese cat with me, and off I went to Vienna. By the time the furniture got there, I was someplace else. It was in Viennese customs for more than a year. When I finally went to look at it, I saw the cartons open, and they said the container had fallen apart in Hamburg and it had arrived this way. I don't know. I think it was very likely the Viennese at customs—because it turns out that Austria is practically like Eastern Europe, just thievery all over the place and dishonesty.

Currie: So there was nothing in there?

Mosby: I lost my two best icons, the best and most expensive, so somebody who knew icons really picked those two out. I lost a whole set of antique French dishes which I'd bought in Paris, and also some things from Mexico.

Currie: Some good things.

Mosby: Oh, yes, they were all good things. Too bad. Well, tant pis. I have plenty left. [Laughter.]

So then I arrived in Vienna and temporarily set up in an apartment in the suburbs. It was all I could find, but at least it was good for the cat. I worked in the Vienna bureau for a while. There wasn't a bureau manager then. I was bureau manager and handling the copy that was coming direct to us from Prague.

Currie: So you had stringers in Prague?

Mosby: No, no, they weren't stringers; they were UPI correspondents who had been sent there right away from London. Jim Jackson, I forget where he is now.

Currie: He would be filing from Prague?

Mosby: He was filing from Prague on a telex into the Vienna bureau, and then I would edit his copy and ask him a few questions or something and send it off, and advise him of what the AP was filing, which I could see in Vienna. I was an editor then, not a reporter. I don't remember writing very much about Vienna. I must have written something.

Then I went into Prague myself and overlapped with that correspondent for a while. I forget why he had to leave. Then I stayed on in Prague.

Currie: Were you reporting then?

Mosby: Yes. Then I was the correspondent there. Either he was going out for a while or he was coming back. I can't remember. But anyway, the idea was I wasn't supposed to stay there very long; just a couple of months. Right before I was ready to go, I was with the Swedish correspondent and we were going to Bratislava. We went there just to see what was going on. Prague had quieted down by then. There were still some upheavals, but it had pretty much quieted down by the time I got there. I remember there it was much easier to get contacts.

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I went off to the university, and I spoke Russian to some of the students and some of the people, and they wouldn't speak Russian back. So then I spoke French and always found somebody who would understand French.

I made some contacts with some Czech journalists. I remember I was in the office of one of them when somebody came running in to say that [Alexander] Dubcek had fallen out of power and was out, so I rushed back and filed that. That was a good thing. I was just lucky I happened to be there.

Then I went to Bratislava with this Swedish journalist, and we were just about to leave when we stopped at where there was some ceremony going on in a little square, sort of an official ceremony, but there was hardly anybody there. We got out to see what was happening. We might have been there for some anniversary or something; I can't remember what. We talked to a passer-by, and he said, "Oh, this is nothing. You should see what's happening up on the square," their main square.

So we went up there and, my God, there were thousands of people all around the square, and they were all putting down flowers on this spot where there used to be a statue of a non-Communist Czechoslovak hero of some sort. This was a day that they would have commemorated in their own hearts, but it wasn't an official holiday. It was either his birthday or something. There were thousands of people standing around this square, silent, and the police were all there. Now and then, people would put flowers down and they would put photographs of this person. He was a big hero. I'll think of who it is, a big hero in their country. They obviously were anti-Russian, and this was an incredible gesture that was following the big upheavals that had taken place in Prague. Then finally some of the young people got a little restive, were sort of running about, and the police arrived with fire hoses, those strong fire hoses, and broke up the thing, and everybody was running and so forth.

There was a public phone up the street, and I went running up there. The Swedish correspondent was running up there, too. He was phoning his office and I was phoning mine, and, of course, we weren't going through the Czech authorities. I thought, "This is probably going to be my undoing, but to hell with it. It's a story and I have to report it." The AP wasn't there, so we did have a scoop on that, because it really was a big riot.

When things quieted down and we finally drove back to Prague, when we got there, there was word waiting that the foreign ministry wanted to see both of us, and we were informed we had to leave. [Laughter.] But I was expelled just for one year. That was all. That wasn't too bad. But I put the cat in the Volkswagen. I was afraid something else would happen, and I was getting a little nervous, so I picked up my cat. I had brought her with me, because there was no one I could leave her with in Vienna. And my suitcase and so forth and drove my Volkswagen back to the frontier. When I got there, they were waiting for me there, too, and sort of gave me a bad time, searching the car for foreign currency and all sorts of silly things they didn't have to do, held me up there for some hours. So I went back to Vienna.

From there I was sent to Bucharest.

Currie: Let me ask about Czechoslovakia. You had to file through the foreign ministry there, too?

Mosby: Everybody filed by telex from the hotels, and I'm sure that there was somebody from the government reading those telexes. Somebody must have been either monitoring that phone or else

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they saw the bulletin that the Vienna bureau sent out when I phoned them about this anti-Soviet riot in Bratislava, because they certainly knew right away that I'd filed it. But you didn't have to hand it in like you did in Russia, no.

And the same way in Bucharest. After I got back to Vienna, then I went to Bucharest for six months. I can't remember how long I was in Vienna after that, whether it was just a brief period. I might have been there a couple of months or something, and then I went to Bucharest, which was very interesting. At that time they were so far behind the other countries as far as economic development was concerned—well, still are, I guess—but they're very odd. The correspondents stayed in the Athenee Palace, the big hotel. I think in the first riots last year or the year before, that hotel was practically burned down.

Currie: You mean after Ceausescu fell from power?

Mosby: Yes. I've heard that it was quite a mess. Maybe it's been rebuilt. Anyway, I lived there, again with the cat. [Laughter.] I didn't have anyplace else to leave her, but she loved to travel. I had a very nice room. It was a luxury hotel, very nice. UPI had a lot of money frozen there. They had served the Romanian news agency with service, but non-convertible currency, so there were tens of thousands of dollars' worth of korunas.* So UPI didn't mind how big a hotel suite I had. [Laughter.] I ate all my meals in the hotel. It was fun.

I had some curious experiences there. I was the only Western correspondent, and UPI wanted to see if it was worthwhile having a correspondent there or bureau there, because they wanted to use up all that money. There wasn't anybody else there except me and there was a Frenchman who was a stringer for AFP [Agence France Press], who lived in Bucharest. He had been French. He had been living there for some years. So it was very easy for me to get interviews with people because I was the only American around.

I remember I did a story, just sort of a sights and sounds story, about what Bucharest was like after I'd been there a few days. One thing I'd noticed in this area around the hotel, there were these beautiful old mansions like the old mansions you see in Paris, you know, in the Champs d'Elysées area, that are now turned into something. There are these beautiful old mansions that were turned into government ministries or something, but they all had gardens. Around the Athenee Palace, it was gardens, and you didn't have the feeling you were in a big city. I rather liked that. I wrote that at night it was so unlike a bustling, noisy, polluted city, that you could hear cats calling.

The next day I get a summons from the foreign ministry! [Laughter.] They didn't like that. "What do you mean, making fun of us for having cats?" I kept saying, "Listen, I love cats. I've got one in the hotel." [Laughter.] That was funny. They are very sensitive, very, very sensitive.

Once they decided to take the foreign press on a cruise on the river that goes right up to the Soviet border, on a very nice boat, serve lunch and so forth. So I went on that. The news wasn't frantic to cover there, so I had time to do things like this. I sat and talked with the correspondents. The Yugoslavian correspondents were very friendly and they were the only ones who would talk to me in a normal way, without going into this stilted propaganda type talk, and who were friendly and human. The only ones were the Yugoslavs.

* The Romanian currency is called a leu. Perhaps that is what Mosby means. [Ed.]

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I remember the man from the foreign ministry came down to where we were, inside the cabin. He welcomed us out. He said he wanted us to see something. So we thought, "We'd better stand here and watch." So we watched as the boat went by. After about fifteen minutes, we got to the Soviet frontier and there on the frontier between the Soviet Union and Romania was a big guard house, several of them, with soldiers in there with machine guns. In other words, this is what the Soviet Union regards as friendship with its satellite countries, was to have soldiers there in these big, tall guard houses, with barbed wire all over the place. The man from the foreign ministry just looked at us and smiled. He didn't say anything. They're just very subtle.

Currie: But he was clearly tipping you off?

Mosby: Oh, yes. He did it in a very subtle way. He wanted to make sure that we saw that. That's why he beckoned us out and then looked at us and smiled as we passed the frontier.

Currie: How long did you stay in Bucharest?

Mosby: Just about six months.

Currie: So you were basically sent there just to check it out? You weren't going to be posted there permanently?

Mosby: No. At the end, we discussed it with the news editor in London. We decided it's really better to send somebody in from Vienna now and then to stay there for a few weeks and write something. Otherwise, Romania has been covered by the Vienna bureau. They get the news service wire from Romania, so if there are any official announcements over that, they're written under a Vienna date line. I don't know what it's like now. There's a revolution there now. I'm sure they all have bureaus there now. In those days, it was very quiet.

One thing I wanted to do a story on was Dracula.

Currie: Dracula the vampire?

Mosby: Yes. What's the name of the writer who wrote the book?

Currie: Bram Stoker.

Mosby: Yes. Thank you. So I went to find out where the site was that Stoker had written about, where the vampire allegedly lived and all of that. Of course, the foreign ministry was, again, nearly in hysterics over this, trying to figure out how was I going to write something anti-Soviet out of that. I remember that actually a friend of mine with the New York Times, who had been there shortly after me, had written something about this Dracula site. He was 100 percent wrong. I never told him that, but that wasn't right at all.

I had gotten a very good young woman who was a translator, who was very helpful, and she helped me track down exactly where the site was which Bram Stoker had written about. Because UPI was so rich there with all that money, I had a chauffeur-driven car, a very nice car, a Mercedes, so he drove me to this place. It's now an industrial city. They got the idea from the New York Times story, and from my writing about it, and I think somebody else did later, too, that if everybody's interested in Dracula, they'd better make a tourist spot out of a Dracula site. So they did, but they were taking one close to Bucharest, which is not the one. They did that for tourist business, because it's just easier to get the tourists there, and they said, "This was Dracula's

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chateau," or castle, whatever you call it. That wasn't it at all. I talked to people in that city that I found, and that was the real one. It was just an industrial city, where the place where Dracula allegedly lived and all took place. I remember doing that. That was really fun. I just loved that. That was worth the months of work, writing and working.

Currie: What did you love about doing that story?

Mosby: In the first place, it was just the thrill of tracking it down, something that someone hadn't written about before, you know, an exclusive, and also because it's just the whole thing of Dracula. The book is very interesting, the films, and so forth.

Currie: Let me change the tape again.

[End Tape 2, Side B; Begin Tape 3, Side A]

Currie: You were only in Bucharest six months, you said.

Mosby: Yes. I would meet some interesting people. I remember meeting an American who was there representing some church in the south of the United States. He had been a pilot during the war and flown over Bucharest, Romania, and he wanted to come back. He bombed the oil fields and wanted to come back and see the country. I remember meeting an American businessman who very nicely took back to Vienna for me a little carved Romanian chest that I bought in one of their historical state-operated souvenir shops, so to speak. It was only $12. It was about this size, a little bit higher, but all hand-carved. [Mosby demonstrates.] Hand-carved all over. It's just marvelous.

Currie: About four feet by three feet.

Mosby: Yes. I remember meeting somebody there from the American Embassy, but I never heard from them. When the Fourth of July came around, they knew that I was there—maybe the ambassador didn't know, but I know that some of these other diplomats knew that I was there—and they had their usual party which embassies do, to invite the officials and press of their host country. But in most countries, if there are any American correspondents around, they invite some of them. There are so many in Paris, they some years can only invite just the bureau chiefs; they can't invite everybody. But in Romania, I was the only American journalist there, and they didn't invite me. I was so hurt and feeling lonesome by then, because there weren't too many people to talk to.

Currie: You must have felt isolated.

Mosby: Yes, I did a bit. I remember going then with this American businessman to the embassy, and he said he'd go in and ask the ambassador if I could come into the party. So the ambassador said, "Well, of course." So I was ushered in.

I think that's about all from Romania. I can't think of anything else. I met some artists there, and I can't remember how. Somehow before I went, I had a contact somehow with an artist, and he was the head of the dissident artist group there. He wanted to come and talk to me. He would come to the hotel, and I said, "Are you sure you want to come to the hotel? I'll meet you in a cafe." "No," he said. "I'm not afraid. I don't care if they see me." So he came over.

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The Romanian Secret Police were, of course, following me everyplace. I didn't care. A lot of correspondents get upset by that, and I don't. I never was upset in Russia or any of those Communist countries. What difference does it make? I have nothing to hide. Let them see what I do. They're perfectly welcome to. I have absolutely nothing to hide. The one following me usually wore a very cheap trench coat, which he must have seen in an American movie or something, you know, tied around here, and it was an ugly sort of a rust color, and a horrible hat jammed like this. You couldn't miss him! [Laughter.] When this artist would come in to talk to me, we'd sit in the lobby of the hotel, and the Secret Service man would get his chair over like this and then he'd lean back to listen to what we were saying. [Laughter.] It was so obvious, it was funny. I just loved that touch.

Currie: Yet you're right, though. A lot of people would be spooked by this.

Mosby: But why? I mean, who cares? [Laughter.] As I said, I have nothing to hide. It wasn't the case of my getting the artist in trouble; he proposed himself to come to the hotel and he said he didn't care if they saw him. He couldn't have cared less. So he came over. He tipped me off to some various art galleries and museums and so forth to go to, and I met some nice people in those museums. I remember there was one very attractive young couple and they took me to a church, watching a wedding, just standing in the back, watching the wedding. I said, "The church seems to be full." She said, "Well, it isn't that we're believers." They didn't use to be full. But she said, "The people come to them, as they probably do in Russia and Poland and the rest of them, just as a sign of protest."

Currie: Interesting.

Mosby: And I think that's probably true of churches in all the Communist countries. Otherwise, though, she said they wouldn't have been there, but they went as a sign of protest. That was interesting. I said, "We'd like to have you to dinner at the hotel. Are you sure you want to come?" They said, "Yes, we'll come. We don't care if they see us." I remember I had them for dinner at the hotel. I have addresses of people I knew in Romania and I really should write to them now. I wonder if they're still there and still alive and so forth. I had heard that this artist who was head of the Artists Federation, whatever it was called, had died, but the young couple might still be there. The people were very nice.

Currie: After six months in Bucharest, what did you do?

Mosby: Then I went back to Vienna, and I was only there about a month, because by that time things had quieted down in Prague, and UPI in London decided there were too many Americans there, and they wanted to just make one of the Viennese the bureau manager, because it was very quiet. Hardly anything happens in Austria; that was what their feeling was.

So then they transferred one of them to Frankfurt and one of them to London, and wanted me to go back to Paris, also because Paris needed somebody to do those damn fashion shows. [Laughter.] Back to those!

Currie: They come back to haunt you. [Laughter.]

Mosby: Yes.

Currie: What year were you in Romania?

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Mosby: It would have been '69. Yes, the last half of '69. Then in 1970, I was in Vienna for just a couple of months, as I recall, before going to Paris.

One thing I loved about Vienna was that it was so off the beaten track and so different from the rest of Western Europe. I'm sure it's not like that now. I haven't been back since. But after New York, it was a great relief, because in Vienna they rolled up the sidewalks—maybe they still do—at 5:30 p.m. Practically all the stores closed. Some things were open Saturday morning, but everything was closed Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday, including food stores. If you were desperate, you went to the train station, where they had loaves of bread and bits of things to eat that they'd sell to travelers going on the train. That's where I would get some food. There was only one disco, thank heaven, right in the heart of—the UPI bureau was across the street from the opera house, and it's right in the center of the city. Deep in sort of the old quarter was a disco someplace I went to once just out of curiosity. It was, of course, very calm and mild compared to what you'd see in other countries.

Currie: I think I might have been in that disco in 1969. I was in Vienna, and some Viennese students took us to a disco in an old section. It was called Toof-Toof or Zoom-Zoom or something like that.

Mosby: I don't remember. That's incredible. I could have passed you on the street if you came in the first half of the year.

Currie: I know what you mean. It was a really strange disco.

Mosby: Yes, and I loved the Sacher Hotel right across the street from us, with marvelous—oh, there was a large bar downstairs and then you could go up this flight of a circular staircase, and on the first flight there was a little tiny dining room. You remember that? With maybe nine or ten tables. Then you'd go up the staircase farther, and the next one only had about four tables, and then you'd go up to the next floor and the next one just had two tables and almost like a bed. It was sort of a lounge thing. Eating the terrific food, that Viennese dish—what is it? It's a slice of veal or beef, I think, and fruit, like cranberries, then mashed potatoes. Oh, it's very good. It's the national dish. So good. Of course, the Sacher torte, the famous chocolate cake there. And drinking the Viennese wine. Oh, it was such fun.

Right next to the Sacher Hotel, as you face the Sacher Hotel, to the right was a small bar. It was just a bar. There were little leaded windows, you know, with that yellow curvy glass, looking out onto the street. As I said, what I really liked about Vienna after New York was that it was so quiet. You'd be sitting there having a cocktail, and the violin would be playing. [Mosby hums.] Oh, it was just incredible! Oh, I loved that!

Currie: "The Blue Danube," in other words.

Mosby: No, that's Strauss. I remember one day there was a girl, obviously one of the ballerinas from the opera house, was there with a friend of hers, and they were dancing between the tables, you know, she and her man friend, to this violin. Oh, my God! And outside the leaded windows, snowflakes were falling. Oh, just incredible!

I was sitting there with an American, rather large, I remember, had horned-rimmed glasses and sort of reddish blonde hair, a very friendly guy, and his wife. He said they had just come up from Athens to go Christmas shopping for their child. Well, I said, "What do you do?" He said,

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"I'm a freelance writer." Well, I thought about that over our glass of wine. Freelance writers don't make a great deal of money.

Currie: No, they don't.

Mosby: Particularly when you have a wife and child. Their child, I think, was with them. I'm not sure. This was the child they were allegedly doing the Christmas shopping for, in the first place. In the second place, why would they come into Austria? Italy would have been closer. I don't know. It seemed very strange. I came to the conclusion, after we had a couple of glasses of wine, that he undoubtedly was a CIA operative, because Vienna was just full of spies from all sorts of countries from the world, and I'm sure that he was up there. What could be more romantic than sitting with a CIA operative in this bar with the snowflakes and the violin? Oh, what fun. That was great. I'll never forget that.

In fact, in the UPI bureau, up the hall was a sign that said some sort of a British shipping company. There was usually hardly ever anybody in there, but now and then you'd hear somebody in there frantically typing. I looked in there once. There was a man sitting there typing, looked at me. Everybody in the office, including the Viennese, was sure that that was the British Secret Service. [Laughter.] Vienna was full of spies. I think it still is.

Currie: Isn't it sort of a jumping-off point between East and West?

Mosby: That's right. A lot of the spies that the Western countries plant in the Communist countries, then they can meet and exchange information, I guess. [Laughter.]

Anyway, so back I went to Switzerland, to Paris.

Currie: UPI wanted you transferred back to Paris?

Mosby: Yes. So back I went with the same cat to Paris.

Currie: That was 1970?

Mosby: Yes, toward the end of 1970, I think. After a two-month search, I finally found an apartment on the Rue de Bievre, right where President [François] Mitterand lives now. Then in 1979, I moved to the next street over, the one that you saw.

Currie: With a view of Notre Dame.

Mosby: Yes. I found something that I could sort of design the apartment myself and had it done myself, the work. The architect did the whole building, but my neighbor from Florida, the one I'm going to see now, I knew him before, and followed him around Paris, looking at the apartments he was redoing. Then he said he had bought this ruin and was going to restore it, so I was able to get in on the ground floor. We both told him what we wanted.

Currie: You bought that place?

Mosby: Yes. My friend bought three apartments. Real estate prices have soared, so it was a great investment. Of course, I don't want to sell anything; that's the problem. [Laughter.] I wouldn't want to sell that apartment or any of my summer homes. I just love them.

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Currie: I don't blame you. Do you want to stop now?

Mosby: Yes.

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