Micah Zenko of CFR has just blogged this transcript of a 1975 telephone call between Henry Kissinger and his long-time aide Winston Lord on the knotty problem of what to say about Africa in an upcoming speech:
KISSINGER: Are you redoing the African thing?
WINSTON LORD: Yes. We had versions which is in the front office and we are redoing it some more. You can look at what you have [or?] wait for what is in the typewriter now. It will not be tremendously different. We gave you a draft about two days which was bounced back.
K: It was not much.
L: We don’t have much of a policy.
K: What would be a policy?
L: That it is, I think, it is sober, restrained…
K: I don’t mind giving them what our intentions are. It is not always possible to do a hell of a lot.
L: Right. It is our lowest priority, but it cannot say that. But it is a fact of life.
K: We can say something about forthcoming aspirations.
L: You mean for development.
According to the full transcript, Kissinger goes on to say: “See if you can give it a little more lift without promising them much more.” Of course, no policy-maker would ever be so cynical about development policy these days…