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Manfred Pagel - a long memory

When I applied to become a Reuters trainee in 1977, applicants were asked if they would be interviewed for the general news or economic services. I opted for the general news service, thinking I had to choose. Manfred never forgot this and recalled it every time we met. Since I had agreed to file for both from Vienna after finishing my trainee period there, I finally asked him to stop. It was only after I got to know and like him that I realised this was just Manfred being methodical. It became a joke between us.


In 1983, when I ran the Geneva bureau, I decided to clean up the archives there to free up rare space for newer material. While doing this, I found letters to the head office that Manfred wrote about his expenses going (I guess from Zurich) to cover a Bank for International Settlements meeting in Basel.


I think it dated back to the mid-1960s. In it, he meticulously listed every expense including buying a sandwich to eat on a park bench as he wrote his report on a portable typewriter! There were also several letters either asking in advance or thanking him afterwards for interpreting during negotiations between London sales personnel and the Swiss news agency. ■