Earlier versions of this column incorrectly said Reuben Jeffrey III was the former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He is the current chairman. This version has been corrected.
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Dingell Fuming at the EPA
First thing the next morning, there's Valenti, calling Kissinger, then national security adviser to President Richard M. Nixon, to commiserate about the article and tell him "what compassion I feel for you." (A secretary listened in and transcribed the calls. The National Security Archive successfully sued to obtain the voluminous transcripts.) "You don't have my naivete to talk to Maxine Cheshire," Kissinger lamented. "I wrote the story for her!"
Then Valenti gets to the real point of his call. "Henry, I know you are going to Peking," he said. (This is just four months before Nixon went to China for the first time.) And Valenti wanted to know "if there was any chance of their being interested in American films."
Kissinger promises: "At a minimum, I will ask Chou" (Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai) how to work the issue. Valenti says he'll send "a little memorandum over" to give Kissinger some background.
Smooth as Suzhou silk.
Glassman Named to Board
It's official . . . as expected, President Bush has tapped James K. Glassman, television pundit, American Enterprise Institute scholar, former editor of Roll Call, former Washington Post columnist and author to be chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and the Cuba broadcasting operation.
Catching up . . . Reuben Jeffery III, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, has been nominated to be the long-vacant job of undersecretary of state for economic, energy and agricultural affairs. Folks at State are also said to be working hard to find someone to run the policy planning office. You know, at this point . . .
And Good Riddance?
The champagne corks were popping at the Agency for International Development late Friday upon news that administrator Randall Tobias had resigned. President Bush's polls may be low, but he can take solace that Tobias's popularity amongst the rank-and-file was even lower.
Tobias had resigned in yet another incident of inappropriate massaging. There was Bush's quick shoulder massage of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in July at a summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. In November came news of Colorado minister Ted Haggard's massages with a Denver man. And now Tobias, with an escort service.
A recent American Foreign Service Association poll of 368 AID folks found that only 21 percent thought Tobias had been doing a good job in getting resources for the agency and its workers. One-third rated his efforts as poor and 45 percent described them as fair.
The agency is going through a reorganization that many call a "stealth merger" with the State Department. The survey found 67 percent said overall work conditions were worsening. About 48 percent said morale was "low to poor" and only 12 percent said it was good. One person, perhaps a bit ahead of the curve, thought morale was excellent.
The massage is the message?