The Daily Beast has published an exclusive excerpt from the upcoming memoir of former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, No Higher Honor. In the excerpt, Rice recalls a trip she made to Libya in 2008.
Rice writes that Gaddafi desperately wanted her to visit, possibly for personal reasons more than diplomatic.
There were two reasons for this: one traditional and the other, well, a little disconcerting. Obviously, the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state since 1953 would be a major milestone on the country's path to inter- national acceptability. But Gaddafi also had a slightly eerie fascination with me personally, asking visitors why his "African princess" wouldn't visit him.
I decided to ignore the latter and dwell on the former to prepare for the trip. The arrangements were not easy, with all manner of Libyan demands, including that I meet the leader in his tent. Needless to say, I declined the invitation and met him in his formal residence.
During her visit, Rice also notes that Gaddafi showed her a videotape with a "quite innocent collection of photos of me with world leaders ... set to the music of a song called 'Black Flower in the White House.'" Rice writes, "It was weird, but at least it wasn't raunchy."
Gaddafi's admiration for Rice is well-documented. In 2007, Gaddafi told Al Jazeera that he supported his "darling black African woman," according to a translation from The Guardian. "I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders...Leezza, Leezza, Leezza. I love her very much. I admire her and I'm proud of her because she's a black woman of African origin," Gaddafi reportedly said.
Rice's famous 2008 trip to Libya was the first visit of a high ranking U.S. official to the Mediterranean nation since 1953. Gaddafi reportedly showered Rice with gifts during her time in Libya -- including a diamond ring in a wooden box, a lute with an accompanying DVD, and a locket with Gaddafi's own picture inside, according to a State Department report.
No Higher Honor will go on sale November 2, 2011.