外交文书

基辛格漫漫外交路上不乏一些小幽默。以下节选是他的回忆录最后一本Years of renewal里的。

福特看起来说话不像其他总统那样文邹邹,不太喜欢花哨文字。不过外交官发给总统这样的大白话外交记要,也是外交史上的笑谈。

By the time we reached Liberia, our nerves were rather frayed from the battering in Congress and the media. We were exhausted after a week of nonstop conferences. In this atmosphere, a cable from Scowcroft suggesting that we make our daily reports to the President more factual and less “florid” fed the mounting paranoia, especially that of Winston Lord, the principal drafter of the offending reports. Lord retaliated by adding an abbreviated summary to his typically voluminous and eloquent submission. I sent both to Scowcroft, suggesting that he pass on to the President whichever he felt best met his literary standards. The summary began with the sentence: “Today we are in Liberia. It is hot.” It went on to report the meeting with President William Tolbert, Jr., in the following sarcastic fashion:

He said Liberia would like more money. I said we would see what we can do, but he had to understand that OMB [Office of Management and Budget] had the final word and that we intended to lose the world in a fully coordinated way.

Reacting to Scowcroft’s stricture that we spare the President our descriptions of local color, Lord reported thus on a cultural event held in our honor:

Next we went to see a cultural performance. It was interesting; since this is a poor country, some of the girls only had half a costume, but I don’t want to bore you with color or tell you which half was missing since this would needlessly excite you.

Fortunately, Scowcroft, who had been right in the first place, has a good sense of humor and spiked the abbreviated version. 

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