Dhruba Bhakta Mathema, who worked for the US program, grew very fond of George Brooks and, because of him, America more broadly. About Brooks, Mathema once told me, “We learned that those who studied could advance despite their background and colour.”
The British Embassy in Kathmandu also kept the African American couple out. “We don’t invite Negroes to our parties if we can help it,” a British second secretary told Dammann. In June 1953, Brooks and his wife were deliberately left off the invitation list for the coronation party of Queen Elizabeth. Once they learned of this, the other Americans refused to attend as well. ‘I was proud to watch my southern countrymen decide to turn down the coronation invitation,’ Dammann wrote.
American race relations often came up in conversations with Nepalis. After one dinner at the home of Foreign Minister Khadgaman Singh, a former political prisoner, an informal debate was set up between George Moore, the only American present, and a supporter of Nepal’s Communist party.
As Moore later recalled, the Communist leader gave an animated talk in front of the guests, highlighting corruption in the US, exploitation of the poor and racial discrimination, including the violence American blacks faced, such as lynchings. Moore, a New Jerseyian who had recently worked in Virginia, countered that the situation had changed and that American blacks now had many opportunities. As Exhibit #1, he pointed to George Brooks.