Despite being a Democrat, Moynihan was selected at the beginning of Republican Richard Nixon’s first term as president to be his advisor on urban affairs. A former assistant secretary of labor under Kennedy and Johnson and director of the Harvard–MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies, Moynihan was selected, in part, because of his academic background in social policy. In 1973, Nixon appointed Moynihan to serve as the U.S. ambassador to India, the world’s largest democracy, with which American relations had become strained. During his two years as ambassador, Moynihan created a cultural exchange program and forgave some of India’s debt in what became known as the “Rupee Deal,” often cited as the largest single check ever written (in the amount of 16,640,000,000 Rupees). Moynihan later became U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a Senator representing New York from 1977 to 2001.
Like Moynihan, Kissinger had an academic background that included advanced degrees from Harvard. Among the prestigious posts he held before entering government service were directorships of the Harvard Defense Studies Program from 1958 to 1971 and the Harvard International Seminar for 18 years. He served as secretary of state and national security advisor to presidents Nixon and Ford. However, after leaving politics, he continued to exert his influence over international affairs as an academic, consultant and author. Moynihan and Kissinger would have been well acquainted with each other from their days in the Nixon administration.
Our letter regards the book The Kissinger Years: Indo-American Relations by Indian foreign secretary and diplomat Triloki Nath Kaul (1913-2000). Indira Gandhi appointed Kaul ambassador to the United States in 1973 and he was perceived by some, including Moynihan, as being pro-Soviet, having once been India’s ambassador to the U.S.S.R. Among his other books on foreign policy are Diplomacy in Peace & War: Recollections and Reflections and India, China, and Indochina, Reflections of a Liberated Diplomat.
Folded with a docket number stamped vertically in the left margin and a purple ink date stamp on the verso. Upper and lower left corners are clipped. In very good condition.