Former Hungarian ambassador to NATO and the United States Andras Simonyi says André Goodfriend “will go down as one of the most interesting diplomats ever to serve in Budapest, and not just American”.
Simonyi said that while Goodfriend, who served as Chargé d’Affaires at the US embassy in Budapest between August 2013 and February 2015, may have employed “outside the box thinking”, the seasoned diplomat did not overstep his bounds.
Simonyi says Goodfriend did “what an American diplomat is supposed to do: make clear what the United States stands for and expects from an ally” that owes its security almost entirely to the United States.
“He reached out to the underdog and to civil society. He made clear that transparency and openness and the fight against corruption is an important issue for the United States. He also made clear that the US might not be perfect but that the ideals the US stands for are values worth embracing.”
Simonyi thinks Goodfriend will be remembered as a very important American diplomat who “became a true rock star in Budapest in a matter of a year and a half”. However, Simonyi says it is important Hungarians understand that Goodfriend was not acting on his own and had the backing of the United States State Department. “This was not a rogue diplomat who went on a rampage.”
Simonyi says the way Goodfriend interpreted his orders from Washington were very personal, adding that “it’s good if a diplomat has a personal touch”.