Monday, Oct. 14, 1957

Good Gluck

Ever since Dwight Eisenhower named him Ambassador to Ceylon, millionaire New York Dress Manufacturer Maxwell H. Gluck has been trying to live down the howl that went up when he ingenuously admitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he did not know the name of Ceylon's Prime Minister.

But in the three weeks since he arrived in the palm-and frangipani-dotted capital of Colombo bravely proclaiming, "My name is Gluck, and it rhymes with pluck," Gluck has got on famously. On his first official call, Prime Minister Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike confided genially that Gluck was not the first to have trouble with his name. After four years at Oxford, Bandaranaike told Gluck, he had only two friends who got it right.

Last week Gluck paid a courtesy call on Ceylon's Education Minister, waspish Left-Winger Wijayananda Dahanayake. Gluck had practiced pronouncing the Education Minister's name until he had it down cold. But Minister Dahanayake's secretary had somehow forgotten to remind his boss of the appointment.

When the secretary informed Dahanayake of Gluck's arrival"one morning last week, the minister snapped: "I have no time for ambassadors." Appalled at this public display of discourtesy, recorded by waiting newsmen, one of Dahanayake's juniors finally persuaded the minister to receive Gluck. Dahanayake reluctantly assented, but bore down hard on his caller. "Mr. Gluck," said the Education Minister, "the embassies here have been of no use to the education needs of this country, and I consider them merely appendages of modern civilization."

Gluck replied with aplomb: "You may be surprised, sir, but I agree with you." But Dahanayake was not to be stopped. "I have not had assistance from a single embassy here," he declared, "and I do not propose to go to them with a begging bowl." Gluck diplomatically refrained from reminding Dahanayake that Ceylon's educational system has in fact received upward of $1,000,000 from the U.S. Government during the past 18 months.

That night Prime Minister Bandaranaike had a private chat with his Education Minister, and the next morning Dahanayake took the only way out: he baldly denied that the incident had taken place. "There is no truth," he said, "in reports that I refused to see the U.S. Ambassador." Ceylonese, who know a rude minister from an earnest ambassador, were beginning to see some good in Mr. Gluck.