Onoda of the Jungle

At the end of World War II, some Japanese soldiers retreated into the jungle and continued to “fight,” not believing the call for surrender by the Emperor.  One of the most famous and longest of those fighters was Hiroo Onoda. Hiroo Onoda, c.1944 (courtesy wikimedia) Onoda, a Japanese army lieutenant, was sent to Lubang Island … Continue reading Onoda of the Jungle

Let’s Talk About Détente, 1977

In mid-July 1977, Nathaniel Davis, the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, was contacted by representatives of the Central Studio of Documentary Films in Moscow about sitting for an interview about “détente.” Ambassador Davis reported the contact in a telegram to the Department of State, copied to the U.S. embassy in Moscow for information.  In discussing the … Continue reading Let’s Talk About Détente, 1977

Presidential Humor, 1944

On April 12, 1944, the U.S. legation in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, dispatched a despatch to the Department of State.  Enclosed was a sealed envelope containing a letter from King Ibn Saud to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  The legation was not provided with a copy of the letter, so it could not provide a translation along … Continue reading Presidential Humor, 1944

Light! Camera! Action! Records of the Movie Industry in the National Register of Historic Places

Remarks at Last Night's Oscars (National Archives Identifier 236685729) The month of March is traditionally the month in which the Academy Awards are presented in Hollywood.  A search of the records of the National Register of Historic Places in the National Archives Catalog returns more than 650 results for the term “Hollywood,” including the Hollywood … Continue reading Light! Camera! Action! Records of the Movie Industry in the National Register of Historic Places

Department of State Records Relating to the Destruction of the USS MAINE

Last month, the National Archives joined the Naval History and Heritage Command and the Arlington National Cemetery in a commemoration of the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana harbor 125 years ago (February 15, 1898).   Representatives of the three organizations discussed the historical context of the Maine’s visit to Cuba, the explosion and investigations, … Continue reading Department of State Records Relating to the Destruction of the USS MAINE

"The father of our country looked on benevolently..."

Special Relationship? Probably Not in 1932

A fixture of U.S. foreign relations in the Twentieth Century has been the “special relationship” between the United States and Great Britain.  Certainly since World War II, and perhaps even earlier, the diplomatic, cultural, economic, military, and intelligence cooperation and relationship between the two countries were unparalleled in modern history.  Whether that remains true today … Continue reading Special Relationship? Probably Not in 1932

The Department of State Reacts to Public Revelations of Intelligence Activities, 1969

An earlier post discussed the Department of State reaction to the publication of The Invisible Government by David Wise and Thomas Ross.  That book was one of the first “exposés” of Central Intelligence Agency activities.  As the 60s wore on, critical books appeared in ever greater numbers, some penned by former CIA officers.  One of … Continue reading The Department of State Reacts to Public Revelations of Intelligence Activities, 1969

Toth in white shirt and black tie

Interrogated!  Robert Toth in Moscow, June 1977

Robert C. Toth during the "William Reilly at the LA Times Roundtable" discussion on C-SPAN, Oct 17, 1989 Noted journalist Robert C. Toth died on December 12, 2022.  He was 93 years old.  Toth was a reporter and foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.  He covered many important stories and won many awards for … Continue reading Interrogated!  Robert Toth in Moscow, June 1977

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