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Letters to the Editor
A modest proposal -- accomplished.

I like Mr. Cameron’s suggestion for nominations for outstanding deals and negotiating performances. I would suggest, however, that that the criteria be modified from “the most extraordinary outcomes in history” to “outstanding negotiating performances” to include more people. There are few King Solomon’s but a lot of superb negotiators.

T. Wilson, Chicago

Charles Cameron agrees with your suggestion and therefore the criteria have been modified as you suggest:

If you have a favorite deal you believe demonstrates outstanding negotiating performance, please send a letter telling us when the negotiation occurred, a brief description of the deal and why you consider it noteworthy. We will be pleased to publish your recommendation.

A Second Nomination -- James Monroe and Robert Livingston

I nominate James Monroe and Robert Livingston for negotiating the Louisiana Purchase for the United States in 1803. These two men were sent to France with authority to buy the port of New Orleans and Florida from Napoleon I and authorized to pay up to $2,000,000 for the two possessions. Instead, the French offered to sell them all of Louisiana or nothing on April 11, 1803. They had an agreement to buy the whole 800,000 square miles at 3 cents an acre by the end of the month. It is actually a complex deal. The negotiations settled the purchase price, the payment terms and interest rate, the transfer of liability for outstanding claims by U.S. citizens against France to the United States. The negotiators also established American and French due diligence arrangements and produced a twelve year tariff agreement on the importation of French and Spanish goods and the usage of ports in the Louisiana territory.

Monroe and Livingston get my vote because they had the courage to exceed their $2 Million limit authority in order to get a great deal. They could not contact the home office quickly for instructions in those days (months by ship) and they took the risk. They agreed to pay $15 Million and doubled the size of the United States country overnight. Now, that is courage at the negotiating table. They also helped to sell the deal in the U.S. and get it the agreement approved by the Senate and signed by President Jefferson. Interestingly, they did not get Florida as a part of the deal.

Frances Coughlin, USA

An excellent choice. The Negotiator Magazine will create a special section in the future to list nominations.


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