historical public diplomacy

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Julian Assange today announced the launch of the Public Library of US Diplomacy, or PLUSD, the publication of more than 1.7 million US diplomatic and intelligence documents from the 1970s. PLUSD includes diplomatic cables, intel reports, congressional correspondence, and other formerly restricted material, now all online in searchable text form.

December 22, 2012

Summits were more fun in those days. When Ferdinand III, the Habsburg monarch of the Holy Roman Empire, arrived in Regensburg, the Brussels of its time, in late 1652, he brought 60 musicians and three dwarves. There were sleigh rides, fireworks and the first Italian opera ever performed in Germanic lands. Aside from that, the Reichstag (imperial diet) was much like today’s European Council, the gathering for leaders of the member states.

The U.S. Ambassador labored to get Congress to ratify a trade treaty that would grant “favored nation” status to Russia. Washington’s leading newspaper harshly criticized Russia for human rights violations. Russia’s secret police were reading all the Ambassador’s mail. The Czar was convinced that Washington was fomenting democracy rebellions inside his empire.