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.