Sunday, 18 May 2008


It is often difficult to understand the thought processes behind the authors of the world’s greatest collection of letters since Samuel Johnson started a career in correspondence with a thank you note to his Gran for her Christmas gift of a jigsaw puzzle picturing a bear fight, 1111 Letters for Every Occasion. As I have said many times before, this most impressive volume comes to us by grace of the commercial acumen of New Light Publishers of Delhi.

As promised last week, today’s extract covers that most difficult of fields, diplomatic correspondence and we are all lucky that 1111 Letters’ author, the remarkable K. Malik, pursued a career in letters rather than diplomacy, otherwise his efforts to ensure the Pakistan issue was well managed would have doubtless have resulted in New Delhi being a radioactive hole by now.

Rather than omit advice that might be of help to those entrusted with preserving world peace and the brotherhood of man, I have reproduced the entire section.

A historical note here: it should be possible to date the original MSS of 1111 Letters from the reference below to the UAR, which was a union of Egypt and Syria under Nasser that lasted until 1961 – the name was subsequently kept by Nasser and was used until 1971, just after his death. The Shimla, or Simla, summit took place in 1972. The first Gulf War, between Iraq and Iran, broke out in 1980 – the Yom Kippur War of 1973 might be an explanation for the reference to ‘the Gulf war’. Alternatively, I might just be wasting my time because K. Malik is clearly in a different place to most of us and it is possible that this book comes to us from a parallel universe, in which case all these dates and references are subject to change.

Diplomatic Correspondence

Diplomatic correspondence between one country and another, one ambassador and another, is a rather tricky affair. All embarrassing commitments are made in vague words.


Should we now presume that the UAR is going anti-Russian?

Reply to Above

It is best to presume nothing.


Will the President of Pakistan go against the spirit of Shimla Summit?

Reply to Above

Ask the President himself!


Has Israel attacked Egypt after the Gulf war?

Reply to Above

Israel has never attacked Egypt. It is Egypt which has always attacked Israel.


Is the UAR now anti-Russian?

Reply to Above

The UAR is not anti-anything.


How long will USA bar Yugoslavia from the United Nations?

Reply to Above

I do not know.

Next week: Seeking Compensation...


Seabee said...

You have a real treasure there, don't ever lose it!

Keefieboy said...

The alternative universe theory could explain everything.

From The Dungeons

Book Marketing And McNabb's Theory Of Multitouch

(Photo credit: Wikipedia ) I clearly want to tell the world about A Decent Bomber . This is perfectly natural, it's my latest...