A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 14, 2009
“Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘nice doggie’ until you can find a rock”

"Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘nice doggie’ until you can find a rock” means that a diplomat uses flattery until a country has strength and no longer needs such weak diplomacy. The saying appears in print by 1954, not attributed to anyone. In 1958, the saying was attributed to Wynn Catlin. Other attributions are to Robert Phelps, Francis Rodman and Will Rogers.


14 October 1954, Danville (VA) Bee, “The Beehive,” pg. 4, col. 5:
Diplomacy: “The art of being able to say ‘Nice doggie’ until you have time to pick up a rock.”

20 February 1955, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Home-Town Flavor” gathered by Kerwin Hoover, pg. B5:
Someone once said that diplomacy is the art of saying “nice doggie” until you can find a rock.

22 April 1956, New York (NY) Times, “Diplomacy,” Sunday Magazine, pg. 245:
“Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘nice doggie until you can find a rock.”—Anon

1 August 1958, Lancaster (OH) Eagle-Gazette, “Try and Stop Me” by Bennett Cerf, pg. 6, col. 4:
Wynn Catlin defines diplomacy as the art of saying “Nice doggie” till you can find a rock.

Google Books
Speaker’s Desk Book of Quips, Quotes, and Anecdotes
By Jacob Morton Braude
Bombay: Jaico Publishing House
1966
Pg. 125:
Diplomacy is the art of saying “Nice doggie!” until you can find a rock. —ROBERT PHELPS

Google Books
The Modern Handbook of Humor
By Ralph Louis Woods
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
1967
Pg. 142:
Diplomacy is the art of saying “nice doggie” until you have time to pick up a rock. — Francis Rodman

Google Books
The Diplomat’s Dictionary
By Charles W. Freeman, Jr.
Washington, DC: National Defense University Press
1994
Pg. 100:
“Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘Nice doggie’ till you can find a rock.”
Wynn Catlin

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Monday, December 14, 2009 • Permalink