An Imaginary Dialogue Between President Reagan and Henry Kissinger



"And n'er an empty craft in either direction!"

Sketch from the Terry Southern Archive
Written for Saturday Night Live (unproduced)

by Terry Southern

Scene: Oval office, Ron at his big desk. On the-wall behind him is a large map of the Middle East, with about 50 little American flag-pins scattered up and down the Persian Gulf. Emblazoned in black beneath the map are the words:

Make My Day!

Henry Kissinger, wearing a seer-sucker suit and sweating profusely, enters the office. Ron stands, shake his hand, and gives him his 'Boss Charm' smile.

RON: Hello, Hank! Good to see you. Good to see you'. Please sit down.

He graciously gestures him into an armchair near I the desk, and Kissinger sits down with a sigh.

RON (with a mischievious twinkle, assumes his best German accent)
Vell, is it varm enough for you, Hank?, Hee-hee-hee.

KISSINGER (with a pained smile, goes along with the exaggerated accent)
Yah, too varm, Mr. President, too varm in Vashington!

RON (jovially) Hey, do you remember von Sternberg in Sunset Boulevard? You know, I ran into Zanuck's kid the other day. What the heck is his name? Dickie.' Dickie Zanuck! I said 'Listen, Hank Kissinger is a dead ringer for von Sternberg in Sunset Boulevard--why don't you do a remake? You know what he said?

KISSINGER (wearily): Vat?

RON: He said 'Great! Let's take a meet at the Lounge, and we'll talk story! Ha! Isn't that classic'!

KISSINGER: Mr. President . . . vat vas it ekzackly you vanted to zee-me about?

RON: Ah yes, well it's about The Prince. You know what I mean? The Prince?

KISSINGER (in highly animated surprise): Vat? You mean.zee zinger? Zee schwartze zinger?!?

RON (impatiently): No, no, I'm talking about the'book --the book that tells you how to be a good ruler. It's by an Italian--Felini, Antonioni, Mastriani...

KISSINGER (brightening fanatically) Ah you mean.Machevilli's I Principia! Das Reichenfein! Of course I know it! I gave it to Nixon, and he gave it to you! RON

RON (gleefully): I thought that-was your old copy!

KISSINGER (pleased): Yah, small vorld, eh? Heh, heh!

RON: Okay, remember-the part about how when the going gets tough-- that is,to say, when the people, especially the smart ones, begin to turn nasty... like with this whole darn Iran-Contra mix-up?

KISSINGER (nodding sagely): Yah, dot is.der time-for der foreign adventure!
Der external threat to der homeland! Ha!
(points to the map of the Persian Gulf, grins crazily)
You're on der right track mit dot-'crazy 'Make My Day' stuff! Dot vill unite der people, und dey vill forget der big scam!

RON: And what about Mister Ayatollah scumbag? Think he'll fall for the flag bit?

KISSINGER (shrugs): Vell, it looks good on paper...but vat about der human element, vich, as vee know, is subject to human error und human veakness.

RON (gleefully) : That's exactly what I'm counting on! (winks) So I guess I don't have to tell you who'll be in charge of the operation.

KISSSINGER (slaps his knee, eyes glitteririg)
Ollie!?! Big Ollie North!?! Oh dot big vunderful galoot!

RON (gleaming) : Isn't it just too marvelous! I mean, are we talking Central Casting, or-what?
Know what I'm saying, Hank?

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