Poor Secretary of State Cy Vance. He doesn't have anything to do anymore, since everyone else seems to be handling our foreign policy.
He was in his office last week and asked his administrative assistant, "How are the Middle East negotiations going these days?"
"We have no idea. They are being handled out of Atlanta by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. They promised to call us if there was a break with Arafat."
"Any news on a cease-fire in Lebanon?"
"We're waiting for Rev. Jesse Jackson to get back from his fact-finding tour of the area. There is no sense in us getting into it if he doesn't approve of the terms."
"What about the Soviet troops in Cuba?"
"Sen. Church of Idaho and Sen. Stone of Florida have taken over that one. They're dealing directly with the president. I called the White House this morning and they put me on hold."
"Okay, brief me what's happening in Vietnam."
"As you know that's Jane Fonda's area. She wants to recognize Vietnam now, but Joan Baez doesn't want to until some effort is made to solve the plight of the boat people. We can't seem to get the two of them to agree on what our policy should be."
"Have we taken a position on this?"
"We're tilting toward Joan Baez, but I don't think we should go public with it as there is no reason to get Jane Fonda upset. It will just harden her attitude and make it more difficult to come to an accommodation with her."
"Who is watching the Rhodesia situation?"
"Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina. He sent his aides over to London for the talks, which our people, incidentally, couldn't get into. Helms wants the United States to lift our embargo on Rhodesia immediately. Andy Young disagrees, unless the insurgents have a voice in the new government."
"I'm sorry to hear that. I was hoping to have some input in the Rhodesia problem as it will certainly effect what eventually happens in South Africa."
"I see your point, sir. But as you know the U.S. secretary of State shouldn't involve himself in foreign affairs unless invited to do so. Helms and Young don't want us meddling there."
"I'm sure there must be some place where the State Department could be helpful."
"We did have China until Nixon went over last week."
"What did he find out?"
"He wouldn't tell us. He said he's saving it for his next book."
"It looks like a long day ahead for me. Is there anything I can do about SALT II?"
"Not until Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia decides what he wants to do. If we got into the SALT talks at this moment the Senate would have a fit."
"Darn it, Peter, if the Southern Christian Leadership Conference has taken over the Middle East, Jesse Jackson is in charge of Lebanon, Jane Fonda is dealing with Vietnam, the Anti-Defamation League is handling Israel, Andy Young is working on Rhodesia, Church and Stone are dealing with the president on Cuba and Sam Nunn is directing the SALT talks, how will the rest of the world be able to figure out what this country's foreign policy is suppose to be?"
"We have a committee meeting on that right now, sir. We hope to get a report to you as soon as Brzezinski in the White House reads it."
"Okay, so what am I supposed to do today?"
"Would you like to look over these passport applications, sir? They're from a tour group planning on going to Rio de Janeiro for Mardi Gras."