The Long Telegram of the 21st Century

There are not many instances when a governmental memo shaped the political philosophy of a generation. Clearly Kennan’s Long Telegram comes to mind:

The ‘Long Telegram’ was sent by George Kennan from the United States Embassy in Moscow to Washington, where it was received on February 22nd 1946. The telegram was prompted by US enquiries about Soviet behaviour, especially with regards to their refusal to join the newly created World Bank and International Monetary Fund. In his text, Kennan outlined Soviet belief and practice and proposed the policy of ‘containment‘, making the Telegram a key document in the history of the Cold War. The name ‘long’ derives from the telegram’s 8000 word length. (quote from

The social media community believes Obama’s Transparency/Participation/Collaboration memo will have a similar impact on our century. The framework implied in the memo has been taken up governments worldwide, real world policies have been implemented, and the “access-to-information-legislation” topic has moved from arcane to center field. It is surprising, however, that not much is known about the background/history of the memo. Who drafted it? Who developed the TPC framework? Who brought the topic onto the agenda? Who knows more? Who can point me to the relevant people?

About Philipp

Philipp Müller works in the IT industry and is academic dean of the SMBS. Author of "". Proud father of three amazing children. The views expressed in this blog are his own.

24. September 2009 by Philipp
Categories: Blog | Tags: , , , , , | 1 comment

One Comment


    It was probably drafted by the presidential transition team on Technology, Innovation, and Government Reform (TIGR). Beth Noveck, currently heading the White House's “Open Government Initiative” was a member of TIGR.

    I have more information about TIGR members, but it is not readily available. Contact me for more info, so we can compare notes.