The Permanent Secretary to the Foreign Minister of the Government of the Bahamas received us in the State receiving room at the Foreign Ministry on East Hill Street in Nassau. Sitting on the every edge of Queen Anne chairs we were sure no one had leaned back in over two hundred years, we presented our credentials.
As we proceeded to the body of the meeting, the Secretary's first question concerned our goals as a nation, what did we hope to accomplish? Having never given this question a moments thought, we paused, but the Muse did not fail...
"Madam, the only anti-gravity device yet invented on this planet is levity. The world is in sore need of levity, so it our function as the Conch Republic to be the Joker in the Deck...you may not always wish to play with us, Madam, but we must be there, or youâ€™re not playing with a full deck!"
When the Secretary regained her composure, she asked about taxes, did we have taxes in the Conch Republic?
"No, Madam, we donâ€™t believe in taxes for the Conch Republic. When we need to raise money we throw a party."
As the meeting progressed two things began to characterize the discussion. The Secretary would either exclaim, "That is very amusing, but youâ€™re serious, arenâ€™t you?" or, "Youâ€™re actually serious; but it is so amusing!" The Joker was pleased.
Out of that meeting grew our first articulated Foreign Policy, which remains to this day:"The Mitigation of World Tension through the Exercise of Humor".
In 1993, the Conch Republic had existed without an official passport for about six years. The last one that had been printed was kind of tricky with things like Sex YES , check box if Keys Diseased, check box if traveling with mistress, secretary, "niece" or "nephew", and other stuff that was difficult to explain to an immigration officer. A new passport was in order. One that had "the look and feel" of the real thing.
In December they were ready, red diplomatic passports, and beautiful blue citizen passports. Over the next several years, Captain Rollings and the Secretary General made annual and sometimes bi-annual Diplomatic Missions to the Caribbean aboard the good ship CRNS NEPENTHE. Traveling solely on a Conch Republic Diplomatic Passport, the Secretary has been received by thirteen Caribbean countries and the United States.
We have had citizens and diplomats received by Sweden, Russia, France, Spain, Monaco, Ireland, Mexico, Ecuador, the United States, and many other countries. We have opened Conch-sulates in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, New Orleans, Ohio, Maine, Atlanta, and have more coming on line all the time.
Besides the diplomatic missions to the Caribbean, and our annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration (which became a Ten Day Event with the "Ten Days of the Tenth" 1992 10th anniversary celebration) things were kind of quiet for the Conch Republic until March of 1994 when President Clinton announced the Summit of the Americas to be held in December in Miami.