Why some things should stay secret

Studying Constitutional Law and saw an interesting quote from President George Washington in regards to a request from the House of Representatives about the Jay Treaty.

President Washington said:
“The nature of foreign negotiations requires caution, and their success must often depend on secrecy; and even when brought to a conclusion a full disclosure of all the measures, demands, or eventual concessions which may have been proposed or contemplated would be extremely impolitic; for this might have a pernicious influence on future negotiations, or produce immediate inconveniences, perhaps danger and mischief, in relation to other powers.”

To those out there who think Wikileaks revealing secret US Government documents regarding negotiations with foreign countries was a good idea, you should perhaps think again.  Going back to our first President, a need was recognized to keep conversation with foreign countries private and secure, even after their completion.


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