chief of protocol


Paeonia Lactiflora ‘Shirley Temple’

Shirley Temple was a singer and television actress. She was an American child star and retired completely from films in 1950 at the age of 22. As an adult, she entered politics and became a diplomat, serving as the US Ambassador to Ghana and later to Czechoslovakia, and as Chief of Protocol of the United States. 

By Gijs André De Beelde


Not only did this ABSURDLY ADORABLE little superstar pretty much singlehandedly save Fox and the movie industry during the Great Depression, she also

  • was one of the first (possibly the first) white actress to hold hands with a black man on screen as half of the first interracial dance couple on screen.
  • was largely responsible for making breast cancer okay to talk about after she had a press conference about her own mastectomy
  • became president of the Multiple Sclerosis Society and co-founded the International Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Societies, because her brother had MS
  • was the first female Chief of Protocol in US Government history
  • served as a US ambassador during the fall of Communism and was pretty much an all around international BADASS

And according to her husband, she was always true to herself. “Over 38 years I have participated in her life 24 hours a day through thick and thin, traumatic situations, exultant situations, and I feel she has only one personality. She would be catastrophic for the psychiatric profession. You can wake her up in the middle of the night and she has the same personality everybody knows. What everybody has seen for 60 years is the bedrock.” (x)

Shirley Temple is hands down the most legendary child star of all time and she grew up to be a total BAMF. Rest in peace, Curly Top.

photo credit: this awesome blog


Princess Diana and her boys, Princes William and Harry visited The Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida in August of 1993. Along with them were Kate Mensiez and Catherine Soames.

Throwback Thursday: August 24-27, 1993

Walt Disney World rolled out the beige carpet Tuesday for Princess Diana with a welcome that explains why they call it the ”royal treatment.”

By bedtime, the Princess of Wales and her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, had checked into a flower-filled suite at the Grand Floridian Beach Resort, been escorted past crowds of summer tourists onto Splash Mountain and garnered a personal audience with Mickey Mouse.

As for the beige carpet, workers got down on their knees shortly before her highness’s regal arrival, feverishly tearing out the old carpet in her rooms and replacing it with fresh flooring in a subdued shade of tan.

Diana, wearing a beige suit that matched her new carpet, arrived at Orlando International Airport aboard British Airways Flight 239 just before 3 p.m. to begin a three-day summer holiday.

She and her entourage of friends and security officers were whisked away in a motorcade, including a gold Mercedes, two white vans, and a silver Ford sedan.

“Her request was to be here for a low-key vacation with her children,” said Capt. R. Roger Clark of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. ”A holiday – that’s what they call it over there.”

Disney officials would neither confirm nor deny the royal visit, but sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Carlos Padilla said deputies will escort the princess to the Grand Floridian, one of Disney’s plushest resorts.

”Our role is going to be only to take her and her party from international airport to Disney property,” Clark said.

Disney security guards sneaked the princess and her sons in by a side door and through the kitchen, to the applause of the staff there.

Diana reportedly went straight to the fifth floor of the hotel, which was rented out exclusively to the royal entourage.

A surprise awaited them in the big-eared form of real Mickey and Minnie Mouse, who hugged the excited children and greeted the princess.

Inside her room, Diana found lush arrangements of freesia, calla lilies and orchids, all in white.

She and her sons will have a lovely time at the Grand Floridian – where the best room features French doors, marble floors and lots of mirrors; where both bedrooms boast more-than-king-sized beds; where plush robes, fresh flowers and magnificent views are included for $1,450 a night; and where tea is served from 3 to 5 p.m. daily.

Although just off an international flight, Diana and the boys didn’t relax in their room for long. By 5 p.m., they were at the Magic Kingdom, where a personal tour guide squired them to the top attractions.

In short order, the Wales reportedly took in the Country Bear Jamboree, the Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Splash Mountain several times.

Diana is unlikely to find quiet time at a Disney theme park during the crowded summer season, but she can expect special treatment to make the August heat a little more bearable.

While avowing that ”anyone who comes to Disney World is a VIP,” Disney spokesman Greg Albrecht admitted that some VIPs are more VIP than others.

”There are certain people who, no matter what you do, you can’t disguise them. They’re very recognizable,” he said.

When their celebrity or prominence creates a safety risk for these people or park visitors, Disney accommodates them by providing a tour guide and letting them cut to the front of the lines or use backstage entrances to come and go.

Diana and the little princes – who are in line for the throne behind Charles – are the highest-ranking British royals to ever visit a Disney park.

Afterwards, Diana wrote to Jayne Kear, chief protocol officer at Walt Disney World, in full: Thank you so much for giving us all the treat of our lives while we were under you care at Disney World! The three days were magic in every sense of the word & the children were ecstactic [sic] by the programme you organised including the six rides on ‘Space Mountain’! We all send our heartfelt thanks, Jayne, to you & your team for making our visit such a happy one. London, August 31, 1993.

Shirley Temple Black Shaking Hands with President Gerald Ford in the Cabinet Room after Being Sworn-in as Chief of Protocol , 7/20/1976

Series: Gerald R. Ford White House Photographs, 8/9/1974 - 1/20/1977Collection: White House Photographic Office Collection (Ford Administration), 12/6/1973 - 1/20/1977 (Holdings of the @fordlibrarymuseum)

Following her career in Hollywood, former child actress Shirley Temple embarked on a career in politics and diplomacy. She was a representative to the 24th United Nations General Assembly; Ambassador to Ghana under President Ford, the first female Chief of Protocol of the United States under President Ford, and then Ambassador to Czechoslovakia under George H. W. Bush.

More photos and records related to Shirley Temple Black in the @usnatarchives Catalog »

Hey kids, if any of your conservative relatives try to blast Obama for being unamerican because he saluted a soldier with a cup of coffee in his hand:

  • He’s the commander in chief
  • protocol states he doesn’t have to salute back at all
  • in fact presidents didn’t salute pre-Reagan
  • it just wasn’t something they did! 
  • it’s purely for show now

RIP Shirley Temple (1928-2014)

Shirley Temple Black was an American film and television actress, singer, dancer, and one-time U.S. ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She also served as Chief of Protocol of the United States, 1976–1977.


Shirley Temple Black  (April 23, 1928 - February 10, 2014)

We are sorry to mark the passing of Shirley Temple Black.  She started as a child actress at at 3 and in her later life left Hollywood for a life as a diplomat.  She was a representative to the 24th United Nations General Assembly; Ambassador to Ghana under President Ford, the first female Chief of Protocol, and then Ambassador to Czechoslovakia under George H. W. Bush.

Top: Eleanor Roosevelt and Shirley Temple, 07/1938

Bottom left:: Photograph of Shirley Temple Black Shaking Hands with President Gerald Ford in the Cabinet Room after Being Sworn-in as Chief of Protocol, 07/20/1976

Bottom right: Shirley Temple Black, left, the U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia; listens to a reporter’s question following an informal ceremony marking the presentation of 130,000 pounds of donated medical supplies to the Czech government. The supplies are flown to Prague from Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, aboard a U.S. Air Force cargo aircraft, 10/25/1990

(Ed. note: amended list of positions. 2/11/2014)

LBJ's "Unique" Gift to Pope Paul VI

As 1967 edged towards Christmas and the arrival of a New Year, the Vietnam War continued to rage on while President Lyndon Baines Johnson and a full contingent of staffers and press climbed aboard Air Force One to attend the funeral of Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt, who had drowned off the coast of Victoria, Australia. Following the funeral (and despite the rapidly approaching holidays), LBJ decided to extend his journey – several times. From Australia, the President touched down in Thailand and Vietnam to visit U.S. troops, followed by a short visit with Pakistan’s President Ayub Khan.

LBJ’s wife, Lady Bird Johnson, who remained back home at the White House, called the whirlwind world tour, “the fastest, longest, hardest trip any President of the United States had ever taken.” The exhausted press contingent which had accompanied LBJ agreed. They had circled the globe, covered a state funeral, tagged along during a Presidential visit to an active war zone, stopped off in six different countries, and topped everything off with an audience with Pope Paul VI at the Vatican.

The real goal for the trip’s ever-evolving extension from a quick appearance in Australia to honor the President’s friend, Prime Minister Holt, to a 28,294-mile circumnavigation of the Earth became apparent on December 23, 1967. After a short visit with Italian President Giuseppe Saragat and Prime Minister Aldo Moro, President Johnson was received in Vatican City by Pope Paul. With nothing else working, Johnson hoped that the Pope might be able to help broker peace in Vietnam. Despite the President’s efforts, however, Pope Paul VI only promised to study the matter.

Thousands of anti-war demonstrators had greeted LBJ as his plane touched down in Rome, but the President was able to rise above it – literally – as he flew to the Vatican via helicopter. The Presidential helicopter landed in the Vatican Gardens – a first – a technological achievement that traditionalists, including the Pope, grumbled about when they witnessed it. How dare this American land a helicopter in the Vatican Gardens rather than fight his way through Roman traffic like everyone else? After the President’s visit, however, that grumbling gave way to acceptance and the advantages of modernity as the Pope himself began to use a helicopter for short flights out of the Vatican, particularly to Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer retreat perched on the hills of Lake Albano, approximately 15 miles outside of Rome.

Up to that point in American history, the relationship between LBJ and Pope Paul was probably the closest between any President and Supreme Pontiff (but still a far cry from the relationships between more recent Presidents and Popes) . With the war in Vietnam stagnant and increasingly bloody, President Johnson had been hoping to find a way for Pope Paul VI to act as a peacemaker, bring the belligerent parties together, and broker a deal to end the conflict. While that never happened under Pope Paul’s guidance or mediation, LBJ had tremendous respect for the Pope and believed that a face-to-face meeting with Paul VI – something which might give LBJ an opportunity to use his famously effective Johnson Treatment – would make a difference in enlisting the Pontiff’s assistance. What happened in the private meeting between Johnson and Paul VI remained known only by those two leaders. According to LBJ’s brother, Sam Houston Johnson, the President told him, “The Pope is a very great man,” and suggested that Paul VI was sympathetic to American struggles in Vietnam. However, other sources reported that the President and Pope had a tense meeting about the worsening state of the war in Southeast Asia and escalation of the conflict due to American policies. LBJ didn’t go into details about what did or did not happen in his meeting with Pope Paul, but in describing his private audience to his brother, Sam Houston Johnson, the President claimed, “Incidentally, the Pope said I was one of the great leaders of our time. What do you think of that, Sam Houston?”

What does stand out about the meeting between President Johnson and Pope Paul VI was the gifts that they gave one another. Although Christmas was just a couple of days away, the gifts were not Christmas presents but part of the diplomatic niceties observed by world leaders who frequently exchange gifts during their meetings. Technically, any gifts given to the President by other leaders during his term actually belong to the American people rather than the President himself, but in many cases, the gifts a President receives can be found on display in their Presidential libraries.

Since LBJ arrived at the Vatican on the day before Christmas Eve, Pope Paul’s gift to President Johnson did, in fact, reflect the holiday season. The Pope gave the President a stunning oil painting from the 15th Century – a Nativity scene featuring the Virgin Mary, Joseph, and the newborn baby Jesus being watched over by angels.

President Johnson, of course, had a gift for the Pope. To the amusement of the Pontiff and many others within the Vatican, LBJ gave Paul VI a bronze bust of an American President. Was it a likeness of George Washington? Thomas Jefferson? Abraham Lincoln? No. Was it a sculpture of John F. Kennedy, the nation’s first-and-only Catholic President, who had been assassinated just months in Paul VI’s pontificate?

No. Lyndon Johnson gave Pope Paul VI a bronze bust of…Lyndon Johnson. In a photograph capturing the exchange of gifts between the two leaders, the bemused expression on the Pope’s face pretty much says all that one needs to know about the gift bestowed upon him by LBJ.

According to the State Department’s Chief of Protocol, James Symington, this wasn’t a unique gift:

“You can’t fault a man for wanting to give mementos and gestures of his friendship. But what [LBJ] wanted to take with him was, I don’t remember the exact figure, something like two hundred busts of himself. Some of them were white marblish in appearance and others were bronze-looking. It is, I think, unusual for a man to give a bust of himself in his lifetime, although it’s difficult to give it any other time. But to make a mass-production gesture really boggles the mind…

Today, there are heads of state all over Asia who are trying to decide what to do with the President’s bust. But not just heads of state, because that would have been only a dozen or less [of the busts]. As I say, we had hundreds of them, so many, many people – cabinet ministers and all kinds of functionaries – received one. The President would say, "I want a white one.” “I want a bronze one.” And you never had the one he wanted and you had to go back to get it. [LBJ would exclaim] “Damn it! Can’t anyone do anything right?”

It’s not known what Pope Paul VI did with his bust of Lyndon Johnson, but one thing is certain – the gift definitely wasn’t some sort of limited edition, one-of-a-kind, priceless national heirloom. In fact, over 40 years after LBJ’s death, the gift shop located in the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin remains stocked with the same type of busts that the 36th President of the United States once presented to Presidents, Prime Ministers, Kings, Queens, and, on the night before the night before Christmas in 1967, an altogether bewildered Pope.