AMCHAM Thai­land - Tales From Its Un­recorded His­tory

Thai-American Business (T-AB) Magazine - - Front Page - Writ­ten by: David Ly­man

The fol­low­ing is an abre­vi­ated ver­sion of the speech on AMCHAM’S un­recorded his­tory de­liv­ered by David Ly­man at the Monthly Lun­cheon on March 24 at the Dusit Thani Ho­tel.

THE AS­SIGN­MENT

Be­ing the old timer that I am and hav­ing been ac­tive in AMCHAM for the past 47 years, I was pre­sented an as­sign­ment to give a talk to­day en­ti­tled “60 Years of AMCHAM His­tory – in 30 Min­utes”. 30 min­utes? I can do things in 30 sec­onds or in an hour, but 30 min­utes? Now how to get off the hook? I re­mem­bered an old U. S. Army slo­gan which goes like this: “The dif­fi­cult we do im­me­di­ately. The im­pos­si­ble takes a lit­tle longer. Mir­a­cles on de­mand.” So I con­jured up a mir­a­cle - fo­cus on the un­recorded old events and anec­dotes – and if my facts are off, well, who else is around who re­mem­bers enough to cor­rect me?

THE START

Back in the days after the end of World War II, there was a small group of ad­ven­tur­ous Amer­i­can folks who found their way to the “Land of Smiles”. Some came to do busi­ness on pay­rolls as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Amer­i­can cor­po­rates, some were ex- OSS ( fore­run­ner of the CIA) and sol­diers of for­tune, some were mis­sion­ar­ies, some were ge­ol­o­gists, min­ers, foresters, doc­tors, ed­u­ca­tors, jour­nal­ists, bankers, traders, in­trepid en­trepreneurs, a fam­ily of lawyers, and some have found their en­chantress in this trop­i­cal par­adise. It was “Old Siam” as my fa­ther would say. All were com­mit­ted and fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ters, unique, stead­fast and sturdy, ded­i­cated to seek­ing their for­tunes and fu­tures in this cor­ner of Southeast Asia.

About 60 of th­ese Yan­kees de­cided that they should or­ga­nize their small com­mu­nity. After a cou­ple of it­er­a­tions start­ing in about 1947, first as the Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Thai­land, in Septem­ber 1955 the idea of an AMCHAM was tabled. In 1956 the ap­pli­ca­tion to form an as­so­ci­a­tion was sub­mit­ted to the Min­istry of In­te­rior. Un­der the stew­ard­ship of my fa­ther, Al­bert Ly­man, AMCHAM Thai­land was founded by 8 Amer­i­can and 24 other com­pa­nies. And we have been hec­ti­cally busy ever since. The rest, as they say, now 60 years later, is his­tory.

CON­STI­TU­TION

In­ter­est­ing to me is my ob­ser­va­tion that the ob­jec­tives of AMCHAM, as stated in its suc­ces­sive Con­sti­tu­tions to date, have not changed sig­nif­i­cantly since first es­poused six decades ago. Ba­si­cally AMCHAM is ded­i­cated to pro­mot­ing the de­vel­op­ment of com­merce be­tween the U. S. and Thai­land, to look after the in­ter­ests of its mem­bers and non- mem­ber Amer­i­can cit­i­zens, plus 8 other com­pli­men­tary pur­poses, and be friends with ev­ery­body. The Con­sti­tu­tion has not been amended very of­ten, the last time be­ing in 2013 to al­low a non- Amer­i­can to be Pres­i­dent. Hence Dar­ren Buck­ley,

a Brit who thinks like an Amer­i­can, so served from 2013 through 2015.

Back in 1973 the Con­sti­tu­tion was amended fol­low­ing a quiet re­volt lead by some young Turk mem­bers, in the likes of Al Eber­hardt, Jim Rooney, Bill Zant­graf, Hugh Richard­son and me, and a cou­ple of oth­ers. The then 11 mem­bers of the Board of Gov­er­nors ( in­creased to 15 in 1983) had de­vel­oped into an “old boys’ club” cir­cu­lat­ing the chairs among them­selves with no term lim­its, in which few out­siders were ever elected to sit. So with zero fan­fare we qui­etly col­lected vot­ing prox­ies from the mem­ber­ship which in to­tal al­lowed us to elect who we wanted as the new Board mem­bers in­clud­ing the Pres­i­dent and Vice Pres­i­dent ( then di­rectly elected by the gen­eral mem­ber­ship) at the next an­nual meet­ing. The old boys club was shocked. The stunned look on their faces was worth all the ef­fort. Since that time all mem­bers of the Board had to be elected an­nu­ally. We knew bet­ter than to throw out all of the old guys. Con­ti­nu­ity and his­tor­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence were nec­es­sary to the tran­si­tion. What we did do was re­elect only five of the out­go­ing Board mem­bers, plus six of us new fresh- faced guys, in­clud­ing those I listed above. The vot­ing ra­tio on the new Board was six to five in our fa­vor. That meant that the new young mem­bers con­trolled the Board. As you can imag­ine, the first meet­ing of the new Board was a rather tense af­fair. The old mem­bers sat on one side of the table glar­ing at the new ones who sat op­po­site on the other side, smil­ing.

Us all be­ing rea­son­able men, peace pre­vailed and the new Board got to work amend­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion to pre­vent a re­peat of our coup. A two- year term for gov­er­nors was set, re­new­able only once for a sec­ond term and then a stand down for one year was adopted. Fresh faces were now re­quired. And to en­sure con­ti­nu­ity, only one half of the Board was to be elected each year. Those 1973 amend­ments pre­vail to this day.

GEODESIC DOME

One of AMCHAM’S projects of which I am es­pe­cially proud is the Geodesic Dome Botan­i­cal Pav­il­ion in the Suan Luang Rama 9 Park which houses a vast dis­play of Ameri- can cacti along with other desert flora. Some­one re­marked: “And now the Amer­i­cans have brought the desert to Thai­land.” The Dome, to­gether with other gar­dens from other na­tional cham­bers and groups, were cre­ated in 1988 in honor of the 60th birth­day of His Majesty the King. I was asked by then Am­bas­sador Brown to take charge of rais­ing the funds to cre­ate this pav­il­ion. The dome was de­signed by Thai­land’s most revered ar­chi­tect, Sumet Jum­sai, uti­liz­ing the tri­an­gle de­sign of Buck­min­ster Fuller.

STATE DE­PART­MENT

Re­mem­ber that to this day we Amer­i­cans over­seas have no rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Congress, the Ad­min­is­tra­tion or even in the States them­selves. There is no one in any govern­ment agency to look after our in­ter­ests. In days gone by, AmChams in Thai­land and across Asia and the U. S. Govern­ment did not al­ways see eye- to- eye. There was a lot of mu­tual an­tag­o­nism, mis­trust, sus­pi­cion, mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mis­un­der­stand­ing. The ba­sic cause was that the State De­part­ment, then our only point of con­tact with the U. S. Govern­ment, though it did have com­mer­cial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, was not charged in its man­date to be in­ter­ested in the Amer­i­can pri­vate sec­tor abroad. In the 1950s, 60s and 70s the For­eign Ser­vice Of­fi­cers in over­seas posts did not un­der­stand, and were not trained in, the con­cepts and mo­ti­va­tions and im­ped­i­ments of trade, com­merce, in­vest­ments and do­ing busi­ness abroad. More im­por­tantly, they didn’t want to. Pres­i­dent Carter con­firmed this non- mis­sion as late as 1977 when he is­sued his pol­icy of neu­tral­ity on Amer­i­can over­seas in­vest­ment.

The Amer­i­can For­eign Ser­vice and the De­part­ment of De­fense were too busy fight­ing the Cold War to stop the spread of Com­mu­nism. They fo­cused pri­mar­ily on po­lit­i­cal- mil­i­tary mat­ters and macroe­co­nomic aid projects.

We did have friends in the USAID and USIS units be­cause they dealt with ev­ery­day peo­ple. And yes, there were Eco­nom­ics Of­fi­cers ( Coun­selors for Eco­nomic Af-

fairs) in the Em­bassy but in those days nobody lis­tened to them as that job was con­sid­ered a ca­reer dead- end. The For­eign Agri­cul­tural Ser­vice had a long and pro­duc­tive his­tory but their job was re­ally only to pro­mote the ex­port of Amer­i­can food prod­ucts. The For­eign Com­mer­cial Ser­vice has not yet been in­vented, though the De­part­ment of Com­merce did host trade mis­sions.

Out­spo­ken through­out its his­tory, the Asia- Pa­cific Coun­cil of Amer­i­can Cham­bers of Com­merce ( APCAC) had more than once been deemed ob­streper­ous by the U. S. govern­ment agen­cies. The APCAC – State De­part­ment de­tente saw many low points. I will il­lus­trate one by re­lat­ing the fol­low­ing in­ci­dent:

APCAC was fi­nally in­vited to at­tend the Asia- Pa­cific Chiefs of Mis­sion meet­ings – no longer the case for many years. At one early meet­ing in the mid- 1970s, which Jim Rooney and I at­tended, the then As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of State Phillip Habib’s open­ing words to the as­sem­bled Chiefs of Mis­sion – i. e. U. S. Am­bas­sadors from all over the Pa­cific – and the dozen or so APCAC at­ten­dees at the Royal Hawai­ian Ho­tel in Honolulu were, “I hope you gentle­men from APCAC didn’t come here just for this meet­ing!” We all had and the meet­ing was our only rea­son for be­ing there. To him at that time, busi­ness was ir­rel­e­vant.

As a re­sult of that un­wel­come re­cep­tion, APCAC con­sid­ered ceas­ing is­suance of in­vi­ta­tions to U. S. govern­ment per­son­nel to at­tend APCAC meet­ings. I was dubbed an “APCAC rab­ble- rouser” in some State De­part­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and was con­sid­ered “a threat.” Those are quotes!

Fi­nally, in 1983, Sec­re­tary of State Ge­orge Shultz, from the pri­vate sec­tor him­self, heard the plain­tive calls from APCAC and in­cor­po­rated into State De­part­ment pol­icy the con­cept of “Eco­nomic and Com­mer­cial Diplo­macy” rel­a­tive to over­seas in­vest­ments.

In 1989 As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of State Lawrence Ea­gle­burger is­sued the “Bill of Rights for Amer­i­can Busi­ness”. That pol­icy still stands to­day. Since then the Amer­i­can public and pri­vate sec­tors over­seas have co- ex­isted pretty much har­mo­niously. Re­mem­ber, it was Amchams that made it hap­pen.

DOORKNOCKS

APCAC’S an­nual “doorknocks” in­tro­duced our AMCHAM Gov­er­nors to the world of lob­by­ing in Washington to get our mes­sages on our needs across to the Ad­min­is­tra­tion, mem­bers of the Se­nate and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the Cham­ber of Com­merce of the United States of Amer­ica ( COCUSA). The pur­pose of the vis­its is to in­form them of the ar­eas of our con­cern from our per­spec­tive as Amer­ica’s front line busi­ness troops in the trenches of com­pet­ing in the world’s mar­kets for our coun­try’s fair share of busi­ness – trade in goods and ser­vices and in­vest­ment over­seas. If you will, it is par­tic­i­pa­tory democ­racy at work. And they lis­tened.

U. S. & FCS

While the De­part­ment of Com­merce had a do­mes­tic Com­mer­cial Ser­vice for many years, its For­eign Com­mer­cial Ser­vice ( FCS) is only of re­cent ori­gin, be­ing formed in 1980 when the com­mer­cial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the State De­part­ment were trans­ferred to the De­part­ment of Com­merce ( DOC). The im­pe­tus for the cre­ation of the FCS was APCAC’S push for a “De­part­ment of In­ter­na­tional Trade and In­vest­ment” to take up where the State De­part­ment was lack­ing. It had its grow­ing pains and hic­cups be­fore things set­tled down un­der the In­ter­na­tional Trade Ad­min­is­tra­tion of the DOC. It did not start out as well or­ga­nized as the State De­part­ment and was shy of qual­i­fied staffers. So

their first of­fi­cers were from the pri­vate sec­tor, in­clud­ing sev­eral former AMCHAM Thai­land mem­bers – Bob Bod­den, Bill Dawkins, and Herb Cock­ran, among oth­ers.

At last we had friends in Washington and in the Em­bassies over­seas who were on our side, as part of their man­dates. This was all thanks to Er­land Hig­gin­botham who left the State De­part­ment’s East Asia Bureau to take up the po­si­tion of Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the U. S. & FCS.

JENK­INS BILL

In early 1985 dur­ing the Rea­gan ad­min­is­tra­tion, Con­gress­man Edgar Jenk­ins ( D) of Ge­or­gia spon­sored a bill to limit the amount of tex­tiles im­ported from 12 Asian coun­tries, in­clud­ing Thai­land, into the U. S. to 1980 lev­els. Th­ese amounts were much lower than the num­ber of 1985 im­ports. It was co- spon­sored by 290 con­gress­men and 53 Se­na­tors. Its of­fi­cial ti­tle was the “Tex­tile and Ap­parel Trade En­force­ment Act of 1985,” known col­lo­qui­ally as “The Jenk­ins Bill.” It was the fore­run­ner of what even­tu­ally be­came al­most 200 sim­i­lar bills com­ing down the pike deal­ing with trade ex­pan­sion which fo­cused on off­set­ting Amer­i­can’s mas­sive trade deficit. This was pure bi­par­ti­san pro­tec­tion­ist re­ac­tion and re­tal­i­a­tion at a time when pro­tec­tion­ism was in­fect­ing Amer­i­cans. They felt their govern­ment did not un­der­stand or care about the ben­e­fits and sac­ri­fices, i. e. the re­al­i­ties, of in­ter­na­tional free trade. But it was not all the fault of Amer­ica’s open mar­kets or the govern­ment.

Con­cur­rently, many of Amer­ica’s trad­ing part­ners, in­clud­ing Thai­land, which Amer­ica had helped and sup­ported for three decade to re­build in the af­ter­math of WWII, the Viet­nam War and other con­fronta­tions, now im­posed un­fair tar­iff and non- tar­iff bar­ri­ers on the im­port of Amer­i­can goods and ser­vices and in­vest­ments.

As I said ear­lier, Amer­ica was not re­ally ex­port­ing. So for­eign trade, i. e. im­ports, was blamed for lit­er­ally mil­lions of jobs which were lost, es­pe­cially among Amer­i­can gar­ment work­ers.

Thai­land saw the Jenk­ins Bill as an im­me­di­ate threat to its tex­tile in­dus­try which was de­pen­dent, in large part, on the Amer­i­can mar­ket. Though warned re­peat­edly by AMCHAM lead­er­ship and mem­bers, Thai­land was caught un­pre­pared to rec­og­nize that trade, and no longer po­lit­i­cal/ mil­i­tary is­sues, ruled the new day. In ef­fect, Amer­ica was on a trade war path for sev­eral years to come. AMCHAM Thai­land went to bat for fair­ness and try­ing to pro­tect Thai- Amer­i­can re­la­tions in bi­lat­eral trade mat­ters. Peace, har­mony and win- win so­lu­tions were es­poused.

AMCHAM Thai­land and other APCAC mem­bers in­vaded Congress and lob­bied the Ad­min­is­tra­tion to use their pow­ers to bal­ance out a trade em­bargo with the open­ing of their mar­kets by our trad­ing part­ners, but with the caveat not to jeop­ar­dize or de­stroy the har­mo­nious bi­lat­eral re­la­tions at the same time. The White House, State De­part­ment, Com­merce De­part­ment, Trea­sury De­part­ment, Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, the Exim Bank and the U. S. Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive ( USTR), as well as our host gov­ern­ments were APCAC’S tar­gets. Dur­ing the 1984, ‘ 85 and ‘ 86 Doorknocks we from AMCHAM Thai­land met with the lead­ers, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Rea­gan, and sev­eral Thai Prime Min­is­ters, lob­by­ing them all to be ra­tio­nal.

The bot­tom line – in 1986 the Jenk­ins Bill was adopted by both the U. S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the Se­nate but was ve­toed by Pres­i­dent Rea­gan. Congress failed to over­ride the veto.

One down, more to come. Trade is­sues were to dom­i­nate the next decade of Thai- Amer­i­can re­la­tions.

THE FARM ACT

Just a cou­ple more in­sights into his­tor­i­cal hap­pen­ings in­volv­ing AMCHAM Thai­land, Thai­land and the U. S. Congress and the White House.

Come Door­knock 1986 and Tom White, Harold Vick­ery, Jerry Loupee, Kitty Koenig, Tom Seale, Jack Scott and I de­scended on Washington, DC to pur­sue two coun­tryspe­cific is­sues: the im­pacts of The Jenk­ins Bill and the new Farm Act. The Jenk­ins Bill you know about. The Farm Act, specif­i­cally the “Rice Ex­port Pro­vi­sions of the Food Se­cu­rity Act of 1985”, dealt with the U. S., with its 11,000 sub­si­dized rice farm­ing fam­i­lies, weekly set­ting the world price of rice. At the time, Thai­land was the lead- ing ex­porter of rice in the world with its 35,000,000 then not sub­si­dized farm­ers, of which 3,300,000 were Thai farms fam­i­lies en­gaged in rice farm­ing. As the Farm Act was al­ready law, our mes­sage was to ame­lio­rate the im­pact of the law on Thai farm­ers, long­time friends of Amer­ica. Sec­re­tary of State Ge­orge Schultz, Sec­re­tary of Com­merce Mal­colm Baldridge, Sec­re­tary of Agri­cul­ture Richard Lyng and U. S. Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Clay­ton Yeut­ter all told our del­e­ga­tion that in that elec­tion year, 1986, amend­ing the Farm Act was not fea­si­ble. They heard us, were sym­pa­thetic, but were not en­cour­ag­ing. A 458 page Om­nibus Trade bill was sail­ing through the Congress rais­ing trade bar­ri­ers to force the Ad­min­is­tra­tion to do some­thing to re­duce the mas­sive trade deficit. So no changes in the Food Se­cu­rity Act would be ex­pected that year.

I won’t dwell fur­ther on the Farm Act ex­cept to re­late that we did not get very far. The Trade En­force­ment Act passed.

Dur­ing our 9 day stay in Washington for the Door­knock, the Thai Am­bas­sador in Washington, later con­firmed by the Thai govern­ment in Bangkok, re­quested that I, as AMCHAM Pres­i­dent at the time, re­turn to Washington, DC the fol­low­ing month to tes­tify be­fore the U. S. Se­nate Agri­cul­tural Sub- Com­mit­tee on For­eign Agri­cul­tural Pol­icy about the im­pact of the Farm Act on world agri­cul­ture trade and on Thai­land in par­tic­u­lar. I went and tes­ti­fied armed with a de­tailed and com­pre­hen­sive back- up re­port pre­pared by AMCHAM mem­bers Leonard Chinitz, Davis Pike, Peter Fed­der­son, An­thony Zola and Jon Harger, which be­came the Bible on the sub­ject for the next 5 years. I won’t go into de­tails here as they were well cov­ered by the lo­cal press in Thai­land and AMCHAM’S his­tor­i­cal books and records. But, not re­ported else­where was my open­ing line to the Com­mit­tee Chair­man. I apol­o­gized for ap­pear­ing di­sheveled in clothes I bor­rowed from the friend I was stay­ing with, say­ing that “I ar­rived at Dulles yes­ter­day but that my bags went to Dal­las”.

In the end, no change of the law was forth­com­ing un­til 1990, but in the in­terim the USDA and Thai­land qui­etly worked to­gether to avoid caus­ing dam­age to the Thai rice farm­ers and keep­ing the world rice price up. Our pleas were heard and

another loom­ing dis­as­ter got headed off at the pass.

MEET THE PRES­I­DENT

The day be­fore I tes­ti­fied at the Se­nate, I met with a lob­by­ist friend in Washington who I knew had con­tacts in high places. As an off– hand com­ment, a throw­away line re­ally, he asked: “David, do you want to meet the Pres­i­dent?” I thought he was kid­ding so my re­sponse was equally off the cuff: “Yeh, what the hell, why not?” Where­upon he picked up the phone, made a quick call, and then said: “Be at the Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue en­trance to the White House to­mor­row at 4: 30 pm and you will be met by my friend who will es­cort you to the meet­ing.” Meet the Pres­i­dent - as sim­ple as that!

So the fol­low­ing morn­ing I made my pitch be­fore the Se­nate Sub- Com­mit­tee, had lunch in the Se­nate Din­ing Room en­joy­ing some of the fa­mous Se­nate bean soup; then with Tom Seale, our AMCHAM Thai­land Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, had an ex­tended meet­ing with the Sec­re­tary of Agri­cul­ture in his per­sonal of­fice; then showed up, on time, at the White House where I was taken in­side the White House to meet the Pres­i­dent and Mrs. Rea­gan as they were about to de­part for Camp David in his Ma­rine heli­copter. His aides were in­sis­tent that I not give the Pres­i­dent any pa­pers so when he asked why I was in Wash­ing- ton, DC I told him it was about the Farm Act and rice. He replied that he re­mem­bered our meet­ing in Tokyo so that he knew about the is­sue, but that the only peo­ple who could solve the prob­lem were “up there” – point­ing to Capi­tol Hill. And then we posed for the once- ina- life­time photo- op.

IN­DE­PEN­DENCE DAY BLUN­DERS

Amer­i­can In­de­pen­dence Day cel­e­bra­tions are held in July which is in the mid­dle of the rainy sea­son in Thai­land. So there was al­ways the con­cern of it be­ing rained out. We learned a lo­cal tra­di­tion which has proven ef­fec­tive to keep our pic­nics dry – well, most of the time.

The tra­di­tion in­volved pour­ing a cup of Thai Mekhong Whiskey into a body of wa­ter. The pur­pose of this rit­ual was to in­vite the “wa­ter spir­its” to the party. This is an an­cient tra­di­tion taught to me by my mother from years ago when gar­den par­ties were a com­mon form of en­ter­tain­ment in Bangkok and the hosts would not want the all too com­mon rains to spoil the party. So one in­vites the “wa­ter spir­its” to at­tend the party with you. His­tor­i­cally I per­formed this lit­tle cer­e­mony ev­ery year and it never rained on an AMCHAM In­de­pen­dence Day Pic­nic.

But I started get­ting such a raz­ing from the non- be­liev­ers that one year I did not per­form the cer­e­mony be­fore the event. And I so in­formed the non- be­liev­ers. Hav­ing been re­buffed and ig­nored, the wa­ter spir­its ex­pressed their dis­plea­sure by dump­ing a del­uge of rain on the ISB/ NIST field that af­ter­noon. It was akin to Noah’s flood.

The next year, just to be on the safe side, the event’s man­age­ment made a spe­cial ef­fort to ask me to once again in­vite the wa­ter spir­its to the party in the ap­pro­pri­ate man­ner. And as ex­pected, it did not rain. For con­fir­ma­tion of my story just ask Tom Whitcraft and Doug de Weese, now true be­liev­ers, who con­tinue to per­form the cer­e­mony an­nu­ally.

Then there was my most em­bar­rass­ing AMCHAM mo­ment – it was the In­de­pen­dence Day pic­nic in 2000 or 2001 at the then- ISB on Sukhumvit Soi 15 and I was the MC. The time was nigh for the reading to the as­sem­bled 4,000 or so cel­e­brants by the Amer­i­can Am­bas­sador of the U. S. Pres­i­dent’s mes­sage to all Amer­i­cans. I guess I was kind of ex­cited be­cause I had to ask the Em­bassy’s Ma­rine Gunny to re­mind me of the name of the Am­bas­sador, which he did. The time came for me to in­tro­duce the Am­bas­sador to the 4,000 ea­ger faces in the au­di­ence. “And so ev­ery­one, it is my plea­sure and honor to in­tro­duce the Amer­i­can Am­bas­sador who will read the Pres­i­dent’s Procla­ma­tion – Ladies and Gentle­men, Am­bas­sador ……,” fol­lowed by a very preg­nant pause for it quickly be­came ev­i­dent to ev­ery­one that my mind had gone blank and I had for­got­ten his name. After a short but poignant de­lay, the Am­bas­sador leaned over and in a stage whis­per said into the mi­cro­phone I was hold­ing, “HECK- LIN- GER” to the up­roar­i­ous amuse­ment of those present. I passed the mi­cro­phone to him and he looked at me and said, “Thank you… Ge­orge?”

Thank you for your at­ten­tion to this ag­ing guy’s ram­blings over the his­tory of our 6- decade old AMCHAM. I apol­o­gize if it ap­peared to be an ego trip.

David Ly­man is Chair­man and Chief Val­ues Of­fi­cer of Tilleke & Gib­bins and one of the long­est- stand­ing and most ac­tive mem­bers of AMCHAM. He can be con­tacted at Davidl@ tilleke. com.

First of the three pages list­ing AMCHAM’S found­ing mem­bers

Geodesic Dome

David Ly­man at the White House with Pres­i­dent Rea­gan and Mrs. Rea­gan on the cover of Mag­a­zine

Pour­ing Mekhong whiskey into the kh­long to in­vite the wa­ter spir­its

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