George Frost Kennan (February 16, 1904 – March 17, 2005)
As I was taken out to “make the rounds at Washington” very young, I had occasion to know George Frost Kennan fairly well when I was small. He visited on several of occasions~~at my father’s house~~and those of my uncles~~as well as at various events~~both social and official.
I remember that he had been a boxer~~golden gloves~~like my father. I remember that he had reasonably decent taste in suits~~very odd for a government man~~and that he wore English vests~~odder still~~I remarked these modes of dress as a high positive.
George Frost lived a very long time and for a awhile had~~what passes for~~high influence at Washington~~and very much more specifically so also at The Department~~for a time~~until his luck ran out there.
I remember George as being gentlemanly enough~~but Nana was ever in my ear and I can hear her, yet now, saying “Princeton is a playboy school.” I never knew what that meant, or if it was a positive or a negative, but Nana was so autocratic of opinion that I accepted all she said as God’s Gospel.
I do remember that Mr. George Kennan~~when I knew him~~struck me as both affable and excessively guarded~~in private meetings.
Being guarded is understandable~~likely~~a requirement~~to hold the offices Mr. Kennan held. But, as today, I suppose, if one must run squads of Philadelphia Lawyers through one’s brain before engaging a~~bromidic~~ question~~one runs risk of becoming laconic.
Mr. George Frost Kennan~~in hard hat~~I think~~a Homburg~~yes~~it is~~a Homburg~
Today, Lovey came across a weathered note of mine sent to Mrs Graham’s morning paper, The Washington Post, penned by me in July of 1977, concerning Mr. George Frost Kennan~~by then a man of ~~rather late~~middle age. That note follows on below:
Over the course of a long career, Mr Kennan’s point of view did alter course~~more than once in fact. That’s~~perhaps inevitable~~given the tenor of the times~~its ebbs and flows.
In my note to Mr Kennan, shown here, penned in July, 1977, I was young and eager and perhaps~~over keen. The ebb and flow of the times since 40 years ago have changed the tenor for me, and everyone else, I guess~~again~~more than once~~likely.
I do hold yet to the general attitude that democracy is a universal good for all men~~and that America ought actively to promote that universal good. Yes, actively so.
Rejoice and Glad!!
John Daniel Begg
Friday, 25th Mai, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013
Mr. George Frost Kennan, pictured playing chess with those~~ crafty Russians.