Around the World in 175 Days, 1924: Department of State Contributions to the U.S. Army Aerial Circumnavigation: Part I

This is the first in an occasional series of blog posts. In September 1924, in an aerial trip reminiscent of the voyage of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet (also known as the “Great White Fleet”) around the world between December 1907 and February 1909, a team of U.S. Army airmen completed the first successful aerial circumnavigation … Continue reading Around the World in 175 Days, 1924: Department of State Contributions to the U.S. Army Aerial Circumnavigation: Part I

When Will You Be In The Office (1959)?

Today’s Federal work environment features the flextime and flexplace policies that have evolved over the past several decades.  As a result, few current U.S. Government employees remember when agencies had fixed work hours.  Before the flex policies went into effect, start and end times for offices in Washington, DC, were staggered to spread out the … Continue reading When Will You Be In The Office (1959)?

The Wrath of Steinbeck: John Steinbeck on the Press in Vietnam, 1967

On February 8, 1967, famed American author John Steinbeck, then in Bangkok, Thailand, sent Secretary of State Dean Rusk a letter.  In it, Steinbeck excoriated the performance of the press in Vietnam and criticized anti-war protesters.  Steinbeck is the author of major American literary classics such as Tortilla Flat (1935), Of Mice and Men (1937), … Continue reading The Wrath of Steinbeck: John Steinbeck on the Press in Vietnam, 1967

Recognition for a job well done, 1952

Employees in a bureaucracy do not always receive recognition for their contributions to the success of their institutions.  This is especially true in large agencies facing a constant barrage of activities such as the Department of State.  There are occasional exceptions to that rule.  One of those came about in early 1952 after the mid-January … Continue reading Recognition for a job well done, 1952

Recognition for a job well done, 1962

During the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, communications personnel in the Department of State and at U.S. diplomatic posts overseas handling telegraphic communications went into overdrive.  In addition to the standard day-to-day telegrams flowing back and forth between the Department and its diplomatic and consular posts overseas, the communicators had to take care of … Continue reading Recognition for a job well done, 1962

“Nuts” Redux

By late December 1960 and early January 1961, the last 30 days of the Eisenhower presidency, the U.S. relationship with Fidel Castro-led Cuba had deteriorated to the point where formal relations were about to be severed.  On December 31, 1960, the U.S. embassy in Havana reported that the Cuban “revolutionary press” was carrying stories that … Continue reading “Nuts” Redux

International Problems With “Paths of Glory,” 1958

Theatrical Release Poster, Paths of Glory, 1957 The 1957 motion picture Paths of Glory, directed by Stanley Kubrick, is one of the more famous anti-war movies of all time.  It is set during World War I.  A French colonel, played by Kirk Douglas, defends three of his soldiers who have been falsely accused of cowardice … Continue reading International Problems With “Paths of Glory,” 1958

White House Approbation, 1953

The White House receives many inquiries and comments from Congress and the public.  In today’s world, the President’s White House public engagement and communications staffs handle much of the work of responding to those missives.  In the past, however, most of that work was farmed out to the various agencies in the Executive Branch.  Inquiries … Continue reading White House Approbation, 1953

Foreign Policy Fallout From CIA Funding Disclosures, 1967

In mid-February 1967, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune published articles revealing that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had been supporting various international youth groups and student organizations with financial assistance.  As a Cold War measure, the U.S. Government, through the CIA, had been funding those private organizations to help … Continue reading Foreign Policy Fallout From CIA Funding Disclosures, 1967

The World Reacts to the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Again.

In the aftermath of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865, the Department of State received a cascade of condolences and expressions of grief from around the world.  Those messages came from government officials, major institutions, newspapers, and private citizens.  Subsequently, the Department published those communications as an appendix to the then-new … Continue reading The World Reacts to the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Again.