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62
NOVEMBER 2012
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
during a particularly hot phase of the Sino-Soviet rift.
As I watched from the gallery one evening, the Russian for-
eign minister, the infamous Jakob Malik, was berating Beijing
for some real or imagined duplicitous act. Te Chinese dele-
gate, speaking English, shouted in reply, “Te trouble with you,
Mr. Malik, is that you have no class!” I had waited a long time
to hear one member of a self-styled classless society speak-
ing so to another member of a self-styled classless society.
My conclusion: some communists, despite Marxist rhetoric,
considered themselves classier than others.
While these events of some magnitude swirled around me,
my role was peripheral. Although I was an accredited mem-
ber of the United States delegation and bore all the necessary
credentials, State Department ofcers clearly were frightened
that I might somehow be emboldened to speak during one of
the committee sessions I regularly attended. On one occasion
when I momentarily was left alone as the sole American rep-
resentative at a meeting, the mission dispatched a 23-year-old
secretary to replace me in the U.S. chair.
In the fnal analysis, I found the United Nations—essen-
tial as it is—a place with too much talk and too little action.
It made the U.S. Congress seem a veritable dynamo. So when
the General Assembly session ended, I returned to Capitol
Hill wiser in the ways of international diplomacy, and with a
palpable sense of relief.
Postscript
Tree years later, President Jimmy Carter appointed me
assistant administrator for Asia and the Pacifc at the U.S.
Agency for International Development. For the next four years,
I inhabited an ofce on the sixth foor of the State Depart-
ment, where my experience at the United Nations came in
very handy indeed in the “care and feeding” of diplomats, both
foreign and domestic.
n
A gentleman fromNiger,
elegantly dressed in an
embroidered gown and
wearing a tall conical hat, slid
out of his seat and disappeared
under the table.