This post was corrected at 10:29 p.m. on Wednesday to clarify who made certain remarks.
A senior U.S. diplomat has gone on record chastising his international colleagues at the United Nations for being guilty of D.W.I. — Diplomacy While Intoxicated.
Joseph Torsella, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. for management and reform, has complained that delegates from other countries have been turning up drunk for delicate budget negotiations.
“As for the conduct of negotiations, we make the modest proposal that the negotiation rooms should in future be an inebriation-free zone,” Torsella told a meeting of the U.N. membership’s budget committee, known as the Fifth Committee
“There has always been a good and responsible tradition of a bit of alcohol improving a negotiation, but we’re not talking about a delegate having a nip at the bar,” one anonymous diplomat told Foreign Policy, also recalling one occasion when a diplomat representing a member of the G-77 loose coalition of developing nations became ill from excessive alcohol.
Other witnesses have also provided corroborating evidence to support Torsella’s claims. Another anonymous diplomat was quoted by AFP describing envoys who turned up for sessions “falling down drunk,” while another said how “on one occasion the note-taker who was meant to be recording the talks was so intoxicated he had to be replaced.”