Henry Cabot Lodge’s UN Trick




Colin Powell famously used a vial of “anthrax” while trying in vain to win Security Council support for military action in Iraq, but there are times when props have been used a bit more effectively. During a debate over the shooting down of an American U-2 spy plane over Soviet territory on May 20th 1960, U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge Jnr. decided to go on the offensive.

He accused the Soviet Union of hiding a microphone inside a wood carving of the Great Seal of the United States, which had been presented to the U.S. embassy in Moscow by the Soviet-American Friendship Society. He extracted a tiny microphone out of the eagle’s beak with a pair of tweezers, as Soviet Foreign Minister Andrey Gromyko smiles with amusement and mockery behind Lodge.

“It so happens that I have here today a concrete example of Soviet espionage so that you can see for yourself,” he announced triumphantly. The Soviet resolution condemning the U.S. spy flights was subsequently defeated.


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4 thoughts on “Henry Cabot Lodge’s UN Trick

    1. What I remember was that Lodge pronounced espionage as “ess-spy-oh-nahge” thereby emphasizing “SPY.” The next day on CBS (I think it was) two announcers discussed his pronunciation and said they checked the OED and found that pronunciation listed as the 4th or 5th acceptable way of pronouncing the word. I felt (feel), if there’s more than 5 acceptable ways to pronounce “espionage” then you can pronounce any word any way you want to!

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