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The US Government Doesn’t Want You to Fight the Yeti

The US Government Doesn’t Want You to Fight the Yeti
Like you could win a fight against a Yeti in the first place. Image via iStock.

If you go looking for the Yeti, you should check applicable regulations first. The National Archives Museum is now displaying a 1959 US State Department memo filed from the American embassy in Kathmandu that lists three rules for Yeti-hunters:

  1. Pay 5,000 rupees to the Nepalese government for a permit.
  2. You may not kill the Yeti, unless in self defense. Photographs are okay.
  3. Don’t contact the press with news of your Yeti encounter without giving the Nepalese government a head’s up first.

The memo is actually pretty interesting from a Cold War history perspective: Rather than an acknowledgment that the US government believed in the Yeti, the memo was “a strategic move to demonstrate the U.S. support of Nepal sovereignty,” Sanjana Barr writes in a fascinating blog post about the memo. At the time, the US was concerned about Soviet influence in India as well as China. An embassy in Nepal, Kratz writes, would be an excellent place to watch the small country’s neighbors and “to demonstrate that their diplomatic involvement in the area was entirely nonthreatening.”

Hence the memo, which still offers some commonsense advice with regard to the Abominable Snowman. As any longtime Doctor Who fan will tell you, fighting a Yeti is an extremely bad idea. The document is on display in the museum’s East Rotunda Gallery through November 29.

YetiDespatch75-031_0090C_11-3059 by Washingtonian Magazine on Scribd

Correction: This post originally attributed Barr’s post to another author. 

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously the news editor and lead media reporter for the Poynter Institute, arts editor for the now completely vanished, and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.