Red Grandy ©Stars and Stripes
Frankfurt, Germany, November, 1954: U.S. Ambassador to Austria Llewellyn Thompson poses for a photo at the Rhein-Main airport during a stopover on his way to Washington. Thompson was to join in a three-week series of conferences between President Eisenhower and other U.S. officials and visiting Austrian Chancellor Julius Raab. "One primary subject which is almost certain to be discussed," Thompson said before boarding his flight, "is bringing an end to the Allied occupation of Austria."
Eight years later, career diplomat Thompson made what may have been his greatest contribution to the U.S. by serving as a member of "EXCOMM," the inner circle that advised President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Thompson was familiar with the thinking of Nikita Khrushchev and other Soviet leaders from his years (1957-62) as ambassador to the Soviet Union, and is believed by some to have originated the idea of the "Trollope Ploy," in which the problem of a relatively conciliatory letter from Khrushchev being followed by a harder-line second letter would be solved by responding only to the first letter. The plan's origin is still up for debate, though.