The George F. Kennan Centennial Conference
Friday, February 20, 2004

George F. Kennan '25 is most noted as the author of the "Long Telegram." After World War II, as the Soviet Union expanded its influence in Europe, Kennan, an experienced diplomat and Soviet expert, wrote his telegram to advocate a new course in U.S.-Soviet relations, later publishing its tenets within Foreign Affairs as the "X" article. Dubbed simply "containment," for much of the Cold War it would be the foundation of American foreign policy toward the U.S.S.R., though there were significant departures from Kennan's original understanding of the term.

In honor of his centennial, Princeton University will host a day-long conference featuring academics, diplomats, and journalists to discuss the Cold War, its end, and the future of American diplomacy. It is open to students, faculty, alumni, and invited guests.

(Portrait of George F. Kennan by Mary A. Bundy, 1990. Original sepia drawing sketched from life.)

Featured speakers will include:

Welcome and Registration
8 a.m. Dillon Gym
Includes Continental Breakfast

Opening Address
10 a.m. Richardson Auditorium; Simulcasts in McCosh 10 and McCosh 50
Secretary of State Colin Powell*

Luncheon Speaker and Video Presentation, 12 p.m. Dillon Gym
"The Many-Faceted Figure of George F. Kennan"
Richard H. Ullman, David K. E. Bruce Professor of International Affairs, Emeritus, Princeton University

Kennan and the Cold War, Presentations and Discussion (2 p.m. Richardson Auditorium)
"The Long Telegram as an Act of Leadership"
Robert C. Tucker, Professor of Politics Emeritus, Princeton University; and former Attaché, American Embassy, Moscow, 1944-1953
[N.B. Due to ill health, Professor Tucker will not participate in the conference. 2/5/04 ]

"New Look or Containment? George F. Kennan and the Making of Eisenhower's National Security Strategy"
William B. Pickett, Professor of History, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

"Kennan's Understanding of the Cold War"
Jack F. Matlock, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.S.S.R., 1987-1991

"American Diplomacy and the End of the Cold War"
Ambassador Robert Hutchings, Director for European Affairs with the National Security Council, 1989-92; Chairman, National Intelligence Council, 2002-present

Moderator: Don Oberdorfer '52, Journalist-in-Residence, Johns Hopkins University, Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. Former Washington Post Diplomatic Correspondent

The Future of American Diplomacy, Presentations and Discussion (4:30 p.m. Richardson Auditorium)

"The Role of Containment in the Post-Cold War World."
John Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science,
University of Chicago

"American Power and Strategy in the 21st Century"
Joseph S. Nye, Jr. '58, Dean, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

"From the Fall of the Berlin Wall to Baghdad and Beyond: a Practitioner's Perspective"
Colonel Dallas Brown '78, Director for Peacekeeping, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, 2001-present; deployed as a Political-Military Planner with the Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad, 2003; National Security Council, Director for Multilateral Affairs, 1994-97.

Moderator: Chris Hedges, The New York Times and author of War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.

Dinner speaker (6 p.m. Dillon Gym)
"George F. Kennan and American Grand Strategy: A Summing Up"
John Lewis Gaddis, Robert A. Lovett Professor of History and Political Science, Yale University

*Seating in Richardson Auditorium will be ticketed and limited to the first 250 conference registrants. Others may view simulcasts in McCosh 10 or McCosh 50.

Registration: Please download and print out the PDF file in order to register for the conference. Registration fee waived for Princeton students and faculty.

For logistical details concerning the day's events, please click here.

For more information, call 609-258-6115 or email

Sponsored by: the Friends of the Princeton University Library, the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University Council of the Humanities, the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, the Program in Leadership Studies at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Public Affairs, and the Office of the Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School. Organized by the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University.