As our illustrious leaders in Washington, D.C. do the usual cover your ass/blame game two-step, -- today the tune to which they dance is "Who Can Turn September 11, 2001 into a Political Edge? I can! I can!" -- let us meditate on this axiom of bureaucracy:

"A memorandum is written not to inform the reader, but to protect the writer."
-- Dean Acheson

Mem`o*ran"dum (?), n.; pl. E. Memorandums, L. Memoranda (#). [L., something to be remembered, neut. of memorandus, fut. pass. p. of memorare. See Memorable.]

1.

A record of something which it is desired to remember; a note to help the memory.

I . . . entered a memorandum in my pocketbook. Guardian.

I wish you would, as opportunity offers, make memorandums of the regulations of the academies. Sir J. Reynolds.

2. Law

A brief or informal note in writing of some transaction, or an outline of an intended instrument; an instrument drawn up in a brief and compendious form.

Memorandum check, a check given as an acknowledgment of indebtedness, but with the understanding that it will not be presented at bank unless the maker fails to take it up on the day the debt becomes due. It usually has Mem. written on its face.

 

© Webster 1913.

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