Intraoffice Humor at the National Security Council, September 1973

Today’s post is written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

September 1973 was a busy time at the National Security Council.  Henry Kissinger, the National Security Adviser was in the midst of his confirmation hearings as Secretary of State; the Watergate controversy was heightening, with a negative affect on U.S. foreign policy; the conflict in Southeast Asia was continuing, even though American troops had been pulled out; the situation in the Middle East remained unsettled and war was soon to break out; the staff was preparing for Kissinger’s speech before the 28th United Nations General Assembly; and early in the month a coup in Chile overthrew the elected government of Salvador Allende.

In the midst of all of those events, three of Kissinger’s staff, Peter Rodman, Winston Lord, and Lawrence Eagleburger, sent him an information memorandum ostensibly on the fertilizer crisis, but clearly intended as self-deprecating humor, perhaps to lighten the mood.  The memorandum consisted of a clipping of a Washington Post editorial on the fertilizer crisis.


underlined: “Dr. Kissinger apparently had not anticipated questions on fertilizer.”

At the time they prepared this memorandum, Rodman, Lord, and Eagleburger were relatively junior in position.  In their long careers, all rose to high levels both in and out of government service.  Eagleburger became Secretary of State.  All are known for their association with Kissinger.

Source: Peter Rodman, Winston Lord, and Lawrence Eagleburger to Henry Kissinger, Memorandum editorial on the fertilizer crisis, September 17, 1973, file Sept. 1973, Policy Planning Staff, Director’s Files (Winston Lord) (NAID 604341), 1969 – 1977, Entry A1-5027, RG 59: General Records of the Department of State.

One thought on “Intraoffice Humor at the National Security Council, September 1973

  1. David – thanks for brightening my morning! Please continue to share these great tidbits!

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