diplomacy cartoon toonpool com

Pic: courtesy toonpool.com

In Ambassador’s Journal, John Kenneth Galbraith shares a Diplomacy 101 aphorism (“don’t do anything”) in his February 18, 1961 journal entry.

February 18-Washington-Cambridge

… (skipped several paragraphs) …

Thursday night we were guests of the Indian Embassy at The World of Appu, by Satyajit Ray. It needs cutting but is obviously a superior film. Afterward there was a pleasant party at the Embassy. Good food; quite good wine; very pleasant company. And many handsome women in handsome saris. Last night I went to a party for a visiting German delegation, an occasion of unrelieved tedium. Germans and Americans, one after another, made speeches of unbelievable awfulness. All were concerned with improving understanding by one country of the other. Leave each country to its own devices; treat the other’s ideas with dignity and respect, whether right or wrong. No one ever worries about relations with Switzerland which is why everyone has good relations with the Swiss. Start doing something about them, and this would mean that they needed improvement, ergo were bad. It was one of my greatest undelivered speeches.