> On a cold and rainy February afternoon in 1947, one year before the Games Center was established, First Secretary H. M. Sichel of the British Embassy in Washington telephoned Loy Henderson, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and African Affairs. He had two messages from the Foreign Office which were "rather important." They were of a sort that normally should be delivered by the British Ambassador direct to the Secretary of State, George Marshall, but since General Marshall had already left the office for the weekend perhaps, Sichel suggested he could drop off the notes, have a "brief" chat about them, and allow Mr. Henderson a weekend of reflection on them before briefing the Secretary prior to meeting the British Ambassador on Monday morning.
> Sichel arrived as State Department employees, after a comparatively dull week, were donning their raincoats and galoshes to take off for an indoor weekend. Loy Henderson, who habitually worked until eight or nine o'clock even on Fridays, had sent off all his secretaries and was alone in the office. The scene was the one of utter calm that skillful dramatists often establish to provide the psychological setting for a shattering announcement. The announcement, which Mr. Sichel delivered in the course of his "brief chat," was certainly shattering.
> The two messages were official notification that the Pax Britannica, which had kept order in much of the world for over a century, was at an end. Specifically, His Majesty's Government could no longer afford the $50,000,000 or so that was required to support the resistance of the Greek and Turkish Governments to Communist aggression either, as in the first case, by guerrilla warfare or, in the second, by direct military action of the Soviet Union. Either the United States Government would fill the gap, or it would go unfilled - or it would be left to the Russians.
> With the British announcement, delivered so calmly by Mr. Sichel, the United States was given the choice of becoming an active world power - an "on-the-ground" world power, as a lecturer at the State Department's Foreign Service Institute was later to put it - or seeing the Soviets become a more menacing feature of world politics than Nazi Germany could ever have been. Mr. Sichel said, "I hope I haven't spoiled your weekend."
- The Game of Nations, Miles Copeland (https://www.amazon.com/Game-Nations-Amorality-Power-Politics...)