FDR standing with sunglasses on, 2 men on either side of him, one is the ship captain in dress whites uniform

Keeping in Touch with a Traveling President, 1940

In today’s world, a President of the United States travelling anywhere in the World is constantly in touch with the White House and government agencies through sophisticated and secure means of communications.  The President is literally never out of touch.  This has not always been true. While Presidents have always left Washington, DC, to travel … Continue reading Keeping in Touch with a Traveling President, 1940

Gorbachev standing in front of podium

Mikhail Gorbachev, 1931-2022

To many, Mikhail Gorbachev seemed to come out of nowhere in 1985 to become the leader of the USSR.  In some ways, his example supports the “great person” view of history, which is deeply ironic since he came out of the Marxist-Leninist milieu with its emphasis on the impersonal forces of history.  Mikhail Gorbachev, 1987 … Continue reading Mikhail Gorbachev, 1931-2022

Washington DC Weather and Diplomatic Protocol, 1959

Situated as it is in the mid-Atlantic region, the weather in Washington, DC is extremely variable.  The region experiences four distinct seasons a year, but within each season there can be wild swings in the weather.  This is particularly true in winter and summer.  During the winter, the city can experience days or weeks that … Continue reading Washington DC Weather and Diplomatic Protocol, 1959

Do We Have a Budget?

Until 1980, the failure by Congress to enact funding legislation for U.S. government agencies did not lead to a shutdown.  In that year, however, an interpretation of the 1884 Antideficiency Act by Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti determined that the lack of a funding legislation requires that U.S. government agencies curtail their activities and services, cease … Continue reading Do We Have a Budget?

old US embassy- small house with large tower in background, snow covered

The Question of Integrating U.S. Forces in Greenland, 1948

An earlier post discussed a late 1949/early 1950 exchange of correspondence between the Department of Defense and the Department of State about potential international implications of the integration of the U.S. armed forces in the late 1940s.  Defense officials wanted to know if there were “political objections to the stationing of individual Negroes or non-segregated … Continue reading The Question of Integrating U.S. Forces in Greenland, 1948

Give Us Back Our Junk: Space Debris, 1968

According to the Declaration of Legal Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, unanimously adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1963, finding states are obligated to return space objects landing on their territory to the launching country.  In other words, pieces of American rockets and satellites … Continue reading Give Us Back Our Junk: Space Debris, 1968

Automobile Diplomacy, 1961

Many factors enter into the world of diplomacy and international relations.  Appearances count.  One need only note the imposing edifices erected by some countries to house their embassies overseas.  Something as mundane as the cars in which diplomats ride at their posts can also affect how people in other countries see them.  In a July … Continue reading Automobile Diplomacy, 1961

portrait of Eagleburger in gray suit and red tie

Lawrence S. Eagleburger, Comedian

Lawrence S. Eagleburger was a career Foreign Service Officer who rose in the ranks to become Secretary of State, albeit for only a couple of months.  In his career, he held the following senior positions in the Department of State: Deputy Under Secretary of State for Management (1975–1977)Ambassador to Yugoslavia (1977–1981)Assistant Secretary of State for … Continue reading Lawrence S. Eagleburger, Comedian

soldier in uniform w/sunglasses looks down on camera smiling, ticker tape and skyscrapers stretch above him

Don’t Rain on My Parade

New York City has seen many ticker-tape parades.  Presidents.  Prime Ministers.  Kings.  Queens.  Astronauts.  Sports figures and teams.  Politicians.  Even one musician.  All have ridden through the high rise canyon of the Big Apple as the ticker-tape and shredded paper floated down and people cheered. U.S. Army Private First Class White waves an American flag … Continue reading Don’t Rain on My Parade

“An Act of Displeasure:” Reaction to the Possibility of a Woman Ambassador, 1951

In April 1950, the United States and Ireland elevated the diplomatic presence in their respective national capitals from a legation (headed by an Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary) to an embassy (headed by an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary).  The last American minister and first American ambassador to Ireland was George A. Garrett, whose tenure covered … Continue reading “An Act of Displeasure:” Reaction to the Possibility of a Woman Ambassador, 1951