Margaret Thatcher’s Response to Oleg Gordievsky

Reagan and Gordievsky.jpgOleg Gordievsky served as the KGB rezident and bureau chief in London from 1982 to 1985. He escaped from Moscow in the summer of 1985 after his status as an agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service was revealed. In Britain, he begged his handlers and Prime Minister to extract his family from the Soviet Union.  



7th September, 1985

Dear. Mr. Gordievsky,

I was very touched by your message and by your understanding about how difficult the decision about your family was for us. It was entirely natural to do everything possible to enable your family life to continue. But we had to face up to the reality of the kind of people with whom we are dealing and the fact that their values are very different from ours.

Our anxiety for your family remains and we shall not forget them. Having children of my own, I know the kind of thoughts and feelings which are going through your mind each and every day. But just as your concern is about them, so their concern will be for your safety and well-being.

Please do not say that life has no meaning. There is always hope. And we shall do all we can to help you through these difficult days.

Perhaps when the immediate situation has passed we may meet and talk. I am very conscious of your personal courage and your stand for freedom and democracy. I should very much like to have the benefit personally of your unique experience and your thoughts on the way we can help those who have never known the things which we in the West take for granted.

You will be very much in my thoughts and I send you my best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Margaret Thatcher”

National Archives, PREM 191647.

Photograph: Mary Anne Fackelman, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Ernest Dichter on Command and Persuasion

A  refugee from Vienna who settled in Croton-on-Hudson, Ernest Dichter was one of the first people to study consumer behavior in the marketplace. He invented the focus group and purportedly told Mattel to give Barbie breasts. The Naval War College asked him to study the problem of command versus persuasion. He outlined the results in his 1960 book The Strategy of Desire

“Recently persuasion was practiced with drivers in New Jersey by painting yellow stripes on sections of the roads aimed at slowing drivers at toll-booth approaches. The yellow stripes, which can been seen easily at night and in foggy weather, are arranged to give the effect of closing in on a driver. They are intended to help alert motorists who are going too fast as they near a toll stop. The stripes, painted progressively closer at toll approaches, give the impression that a vehicle is accelerating if the driver fails to slow down. Command is always faster as a method of persuasion, it is more efficient; and what makes it really dangerous is that it often is much more comfortable. Many young democracies have faltered because people prefer to be told what to do rather than to make up their own minds. Persuasion, on the other hand, is slower, more burdensome, but at the same time also more permanent and healthier. Lowering of prices, special sales, etc. in the merchandising field correspond to command. Building of the personality of a company, the creation of brand loyalty, are closer to real persuasion and are much slower but at the same time also much more permanent.”

Ernest Dichter, The Strategy of Desire, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1960.

Bengers really improved my health

First wave advertising pulled no punches. Who knew a “cupful of milk-and-wheat goodness with amylase and trypsin to rest your digestion” was the cure for nervous breakdowns?

“Mrs. S. Worts of Islington, London, writes: 

‘I feel I must write to tell you about what a wonderful drink Bengers is. I have been buying it each week and found not only do I get a night’s sleep but am also free from colds this winter…

I had a nervous breakdown some time back and tried many types of tonic but this has really improved my health.’

What is so special about Bengers? 

Just this. At times when you feel too sick, too weak, too jaded or tired to face your food you can always take Bengers. It cheers you, relaxes you, and gives you all the nourishment of a good light meal, just when you most need it.”

Advertisement in Good Housekeeping (UK edition), April, 1960.