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Murrow, Kennedy and memos on Cuba

Kennedy Coin

Memo Review by Lauren Brodsky, HKS Lecturer

Sitting slightly reclined, with a steady stream of cigarette smoke visible to the viewer, esteemed journalist Edward R. Murrow faces a television screen with a view of a Boston apartment. It is 1953. Murrow is interviewing junior Senator John F. Kennedy, and his wife, Jackie, for the show People to People.... Read more about Murrow, Kennedy and memos on Cuba

"Our Response to Soviet Intervention in Afghanistan"

Adult man with gun in war battle black and white

Memo Review by James J. McDonnell,National Security Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School

A Memorandum for the President by Zbigniew Brzezinski: “Our Response to Soviet Intervention in Afghanistan” (December 29, 1979)

Brzezinski, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (currently called the National Security Advisor) under Jimmy Carter, wrote a memo to outline what response the U.S. should take to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.... Read more about "Our Response to Soviet Intervention in Afghanistan"

"Reinvigoration of Human Rights Policy"

Globe and many faces

Memo Review by Andreas L. Hahn, 2020 Fletcher MALD Candidate


(Memorandum From the Deputy Secretary of State (Clark) and the Under Secretary of State for Management (Kennedy) to Secretary of State Haig[1], 26 October 1981)

The memo on the “Reinvigoration of Human Rights Policy” left an impact on me because it distilled abstract concepts in a persuasive way. But what made this particular memo stick, compared to an abundance of other memos on the topic?... Read more about "Reinvigoration of Human Rights Policy"

"Iraq: The Perfect Storm:"

Soldiers deploying to Iraq

A Memo review by Dimas Muhamad, HKS Master's candidate

In 2002, William Burns, the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, wrote to Secretary of State Collin Powell on the dangers of invading Iraq in the memo linked below. Overall, the substance of the memo is quite strong. However, in terms of writing, policy writers can learn from certain improvements that could have been made.... Read more about "Iraq: The Perfect Storm:"