Bathing in champagne was a major topic of debate among CIA agents in the 1950s.
Recently released memos from 1952 show agents debating whether or not champagne from California is suitable enough to bathe in, and it’s a fascinating discussion.
The first memo reads in part:
THE HISTORICAL SECTION IS INTERESTED IN KNOWING WHAT KING OF CHAMPAGNE WAS USED AT (redacted). (SEE YOUR LAST PARAGRAPH). HE PRESUMES IT WAS CALIFORNIAN, WHICH HE FEELS MIGHT PERFECTLY WELL BE USED FOR BATHING. PLEASE CONFIRM.
The back and forth one gets better. Another memo reads in part:
With regard to the Historical section’s interest in knowing what kind of champagne was used at (redacted) for bathing purposes, we agree that it was probably Californian.
It seems like these CIA officers have serious problem with the quality of California champagne.
The final memo also suggests CIA employees on the West Coast should ignore champagne and stick to wine:
In view of the loyalty, admirable though it is, with which inhabitants of certain of the Western States uphold their vinous products he believes that an unbiased report would transcended the bounds of probability.
CIA 3 (Credit: CIA Publicly Released Documents)The British might have James Bond, but has he ever showered or bathed in champagne? The answer is no. Our spies our so elite that they turn their noses up at the idea of bathing in California champagne. They need the real stuff. They need the bubbly straight out of France.
I also want my spies to be spraying champagne everywhere. It’s obviously the best way to get information out of people. Nobody is going to get their secrets once our spies spray a little champagne, throw a little money around and bring around some women. Of course, if the champagne, cash and strippers fail, our spies can always turn to the gun.
I just hate making messes, and why shoot people when you can instead pop champagne and party?
I also can’t imagine what CIA gatherings much have been like in the 1950s. I have a strong sense it’s a lot like all those secret societies we always hear about. Just crazy stuff happening left and right, and nobody speaks of it outside of the room. That’s the America I want to live in.