M. André Goodfriend has served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest since August 2013 . Pending the confirmation of the new ambassador, he was Embassy Budapest’s chargé d’affaires. Last month, he tweeted this:
Preparing to welcome Ambassador Bell this week. Anticipating many opportunities for positive, constructive movement forward in relations.
— M. Andre Goodfriend (@GoodfriendMA) January 17, 2015
On February 13, less than a month after Ambassador Bell’s arrival in Budapest, Mr. Goodfriend tweeted this:
Friends, not as an official, but a person, I am overwhelmed by warm farewells. Honored to have been with you. Thank you. Viszontlátásra — M. Andre Goodfriend (@GoodfriendMA) February 13, 2015
Politics.hu notes that the embassy’s twitter feed had not acknowledged Goodfriend’s departure. Neither the embassy website nor its Facebook page carried any announcement about his departure prompting an FB user to write:
No post about Mr. Goodfriend leaving Budapest? Why not? He has become a sort of iconic figure representing the tolerant and smart politics, which has been missing in and around Hungarian leadership. I think that it is a mistake to let him go. His political wisdom, experience and insight will be missed, I am sure.
Mr. Goodfriend is a career diplomat, and the typical length of assignments, particularly in European posts like Budapest is three years. Budapest is a 5% COLA post, with zero hardship and zero danger pay. It appears that Mr. Goodfriend is leaving post 18 months short of a full tour. We’ve asked the U.S. Embassy Budapest via Twitter and email the reason for this early departure and we were told by Embassy Spokesperson Elizabeth Webster on February 14 that they normally do not issue press releases when personnel depart post; however, they made the following statement available to the media upon request:
“DCM Andre Goodfriend is departing his posting in Hungary to return to the United States for family reasons. Mr. Goodfriend served nearly 18 months as chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Budapest during a time of significant developments in Hungary and in our bilateral relations. Enjoying the full support of senior leadership in Washington, he did an excellent job of promoting and explaining U.S. policy in public and in private. We ask for the media to respect the privacy of the Goodfriend family.”