If they thought about it all, most people would assume that a Chief of Protocol is someone who determines the mise à places at state banquets and keeps visiting dignitaries from sitting on their hats; a Mikadoesque figure performing a necessary but faintly absurd function. It’s surprising therefore to discover that the author of Keeper of the Gate – Chief of Protocol of the United States of America from March 1982 to January 1989 – was a woman of considerable power in the Reagan administration. This memoir describes the odyssey of an exotic-looking Arab girl from Tennessee to a position of influence in the White House.
Accorded the rank of Ambassador with a staff of sixty, ‘Lucky’ Roosevelt reported directly to the President, and her responsibilities included planning and executing state visits by world leaders and representing her government on all matters to do with accrediting diplomats and granting diplomatic immunity. Admittedly her department was also