State Dept Issues New Guidance for 2013 Fourth of July Embassy Events – More Zombies, Please

A newly leaked cable from the State Department provides new guidance to embassies and consulates for this year’s Fourth of July events.  Apparently, in an effort to step up outreach to a fast expanding demographic, Independence Day festivities will have a theme for the first time ever in diplomatic history.  According to Foggy Bottom, this year’s celebration will focus on the pop-culture theme of “Zombie Apocalypse” to better connect with the younger population. The cable marked Routine and Unclassified is published in full below:

DE RUEHC #8174/01 2922053
R 010033Z APR 13

E.O. 12958: N/A

This is an action request. Please see paragraphs 2, 10,  and 11.

1.  Summary.   It is that time of year again for your Foggy Bottom team to send its annual guidance for Fourth of July celebrations around the world.  This year, we will celebrate the 237th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence with non-traditional Fourth of July events. With over 1.8 billion young people in the world today, and an expected 89.5 percent growth by 2025, we must step up our public diplomacy efforts aimed at youth.  To that end, this year’s celebration will focus on the pop-culture theme of “Zombie Apocalypse.” End Summary.

Fourth of July Events

2.  Department requests that all posts conduct zombie-themed Fourth of July or U.S. National Day events.  While we understand that majority of posts’ host country contacts belong to older demographics, a concerted effort is necessary to reach host country nationals in the 18-24 age bracket.  Posts will invite no more than 60 percent of its traditional local contacts and should allocate 40 percent of the invitation for our target age group.  Posts will provide these celebrations the greatest possible exposure on social media in order to attract younger populations to American culture and values. Posts are welcome to stage variations of the theme — such as a “Zombie Walk”, a “Living Dead” cocktail reception or a “Walking Dead” party — each with zombie-themed food or  games. To the maximum extent practicable, posts should use American products particularly finger foods, as well as American wine and cheese in these events.

Acceptance of Cash and In-Kind Donations

3. Management officers at post may accept cash and in-kind donations for official embassy-sponsored July Fourth events in their host countries. In addition, ambassadors and other principal officers at post may solicit, or authorize the solicitation of, such donations without prior authorization by the Under Secretary for Management.

4. Donations may be received from U.S. firms (or their foreign subsidiaries, franchisees, or distributors) or organizations only when the firms and/or organizations neither are seeking substantial assistance from post nor would be substantially affected by a pending post decision. This is a reminder that post must show no preference among U.S. firms and/or organizations in receiving donations, as, for example, by accepting donations from one U.S. firm and refusing donations from a competing firm, unless such a distinction is justified based on the criteria listed in 2 FAM 962.1-6, subparagraphs a(1) and a(3);

5. To the extent possible, the official authorized to accept in-kind donations must ensure that there is some variety in the goods accepted and/or solicited. For instance, brains and livers are extremely popular zombie food fare and are desirable but cannot be the only two items accepted as this would severely limit the food choices for guests. Posts are strongly urged to be creative and may accept free labor and assistance from eligible family members within the mission in putting together zombie-appropriate feasts for embassy guests.

Pre-Approved Expenditure

6. Where economical to the U.S. Government and authorized by agency regulation, agencies may permit the bulk purchase of zombie costumes as long as such attires are tasteful, not culturally offensive to host country nationals and are only used for official purposes(eff. 03/29/13 TL:SR-670). Guests should be encouraged to attend the national day events in their favorite zombie attire. Shoes and high heels optional.

7. Posts are authorized to hire extra waiters, busboys, zombie extras, make-up and special effects artists or other temporary help to serve at this function, and to pay overtime for ORE staff serving at these official representation events; (eff. 10/29/06 TL:SR-670). Temporary and extra help employed at posts are expected to come in their Zombie get-up with no additional assistance or compensation from the mission.

Made in America for Oenophile Zombies

8. Among the best wine for enophile zombies are the Grosses Gewachs riesling, a top-level dry wine from Germany, the  Barolo from the northern Italian region of Piedmont and apparently the  chardonnay from the Maconais in Burgundy. While the embassy’s sommelier may insists on any of these wine as the best pairings for zombie food, we remind you of the importance of buying American.  To the maximum extent practicable, use shall be made of American products, including specifically American wine and spirits.

9. Posts are cautioned to limit serving to no more than two Zombie cocktail per guest. The drink’s fruity taste works to conceal its extremely high alcoholic content. If planning to serve Zombie cocktails, posts are authorized to bulk order rum from the nearest military PX. Alternatively, rum may be shipped via the Diplomatic Post Office if ordered no later than May 30, 2013. Where economical to the U.S. Government, rum may be purchased locally as long as it is American in brand.

Zombie-Themed  Events Before End of Fiscal Year

10. We understand that some posts already have celebrated Fourth of July or held national day events in February and March.  Those posts will be required to host at least one zombie-themed event before the end of the fiscal year. Events may include but not limited to: a “Zombie Townterview” with the chief of mission, a “Twittersation with Diplomatic Zombies,”  a social media conference on “Diplomatic Protocol for Zombies”, a movie marathon of the “Top Ten Zombie Movies”, or “Culinary Diplomacy for Zombies,” to name a few.  Whatever event you decide to do, be creative.  Let’s show that you can go big and be bold, and not just on the Fourth of July.  Remember that when you go out and talk to somebody on behalf of the United States of America, you are carrying our values, you are sharing how people can connect to those hopes, how we work together with rule of law, with a set of standards by which people can actually improve everybody’s lives.

11. Department requests posts assistance in documenting these Fourth of July zombie events via social media – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram and other previously approved platforms. The chief of mission wearing zombie regalia who attracts the highest number of online followers within a 24 hour period following online posting of Fourth of July videos/photographs will received special recognition. As always, thank you for all that you do and for being part of this extraordinary team.


We particularly like the fact they they want posts to serve other dishes besides brain fritters, that is considerate. Can’t wait to see all the photos!

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4 responses

  1. I am told there is a follow-up cable that requires all senior staff to dress up as zombies once a week. In view of the fashion deficit at Main State, however, they are also required to wear zombie signs, just so people will know for sure.