Brief Moment

The U.S.'s cool attitude toward the military junta now ruling Venezuela was sharply stressed last week when squat, bull-necked José Rafael Pocaterra, the junta's special envoy to the U.S., handed his credentials to Secretary of State Dean Acheson. For speed, the diplomatic niceties set something of a record: two minutes. As Pocaterra recalled it, the correct but icy interview went like this:

Pocaterra (shaking hands): I have the honor, Mr. Secretary, to present to you my credentials as Ambassador of Venezuela on official mission. (Hands papers to Acheson.)

Acheson: Thank you very much.

Pocaterra: Mr. Secretary, it certainly is nice to have...