I got down to Rio de Janeiro after spending a few weeks unraveling red tape in Washington. The most critical of the minerals we were hunting were high grade mica and quartz. A good man was handling the quartz, so I devoted myself to mica of which my knowledge was mainly academic. Consequently, I had to start from scratch. It was mainly a matter of finding new deposits since the bodies were small and quickly exhausted. I finally worked out a plan for prospecting which was translated into Portuguese and published by the Brazilian Gov't. Then I had to figure how to get the caboclos (peons) to put it into practice. They are very poor, earned from 15 to 25 a day and had to be financed. No money was available from Wash. but I figured $10,000 would see us through.

Carl had returned to the States by then so I went to the Head of the B.E.W. mission who had been Carl's boss in Brazil and also boss of the non-mineral branches. He was against the idea for he and his head of the mica program were playing the the Brazilian mica buyers and doubtless got a cut. (The Head of Mission was owner of a large Department store in the States and the head of the mica program had been perfumery buyer for Sears Roebuck & Co.)

The buyers, of course, were opposed to my plan for they wanted to keep the prospectors under their own control and take all the profits. Finally I told the Head of Mission I was going back to Washington to put the plan over. He began to get scared but finally gave permission when I promised to return to Brazil. I went to Wash., the G.A. Office agreed to make the money available and required only the OK of one of my geologists to spend it. I was told that was the first time our Govt. ever made money available under such conditions.

On my return to Rio I found the head of Mission had been replaced by his previous asst. When I got back from a field trip, Xmas 1944, I found that the new H. of Mission and the head of the mica program had fired all the engineers and geologists (including myself.) Most of them were good men and I told him (head of mica program) what I thought of him. There was a lot of politics involved and he got scared when he realized what I would tell Washington. Then he said my name had been included by mistake and that I had not been fired. I would not accept that and said I was staying fired.

In the meantime my plan had been tried out and worked even better that I had expected.

One engineer who had played along with the finagling suffered consequences for what he had done although I don't know if he ever found out who was responsible. Some years later, the last head of mission was being considered for an important Gov't appointment in South America. The F.B.I. had been told by someone to consult me about him. I spilled my guts and he was not appointed. Years later I was telling a geologist who was in Brazil at the time about what happened and remarked that I never found out who tipped off the F.B.I. He laughed and said he had. Later he became director of the U.S.G.S. and within the past year was stepped up to be Asst. Secy. of the Interior.

In Washington I was approached by a Canadian Company who wanted me to go out to Africa for them. The trouble was that the war was still on and there was no way they could get me there. The Administrative head of the Mineral section of the B.E.W. however, remembered that Pres. Tubman of Liberia had asked that a geologist be sent out to make a minerals resources survey of his country. They appointed me to the job and I got as far as Liberia. Before I went there, however, I was pretty certain that I could do little good. That was confirmed soon after I got there, anyhow I gave it a fair try then turned in my time just 8 hours before the Japanese did.

I turned in my semi-diplomatic passport and got a regular one which meant I was on my own so far as travel arrangements were concerned. I managed that even though travel facilities were in a state of chaos so soon after the war. I looked over the climate for mining investment in Nigeria, Cameroons, Belgian Congo, Angola, and French Equatorial Africa before reaching Bulawayo in So. Rhodesia which was to be my headquarters in Nov. 1945.

I worked out of Bulawayo as No. 2 in the African Branch until May 1948 covering much of South, Central and East Africa. Then I went into hospital with amoebic dysentery. The treatment for that is very rough, with that two other African diseases showed up, Malaria, and schistomiosiasis. All were subdued but I did not fully recover and thought it best to get back to the States where I arrived in the summer of 1948.

That same year I joined the staff of the Kennecott Copper Corp. At first I was general examination work. Then to Africa again to look over base metal possibilities in Southern and SouthWest Africa. Eight months later I returned to the States and took charge of the Southwestern District of Kennecotts newly formed Exploration subsidiary in 1952 with headquarters in San Francisco. In 1954 I organized the Operation Properties Division which directed the geological work at all of Kennecotts operating mines. I had geologists stationed at Ruth, Nevada; Chino, New Mexico; Ray, Arizona; and Bingham Canyon, Utah; which I visited about every three months. A couple of years later the Teniente Mine (recently expropriated by Pres. Allendo) was added to the list so I made an annual trip to Chile. Twelve years ago I became 65, mandatory retirement age and I was gently laid on the shelf. It was an interesting life but it takes a lot of writing just to cover the high spots.

Hope you can read this scrawl, at that it is better than an attempt at typing. My eyesight is poor and my hands don't go where I send them. Without ruled paper the lines go ever which way.

Both of my boys are married, one to a Japanese girl, both have a son and a daughter apiece. One family is at Novato, about 40 miles north of S.F. The other lives in Santa Cruz which is my legal residence. My wife lives in Santa Cruz and I live by myself in a residence Hotel in S.F. We get along better that way.

I left the address to which you wrote last November, then moved again last month. This place, I hope will be permanent. 1970 was a good year for me in that there was no trip to the hospital. Still I can't complain for at 77(5) one can't expect too much.

All best wishes and good luck for 1972. As ever, Don.

by Louis Goodrich

5. He seemed so mature, I'm surprised to learn that he was two years younger than I.

[Introduction] [Part One]

[back to The China Years]