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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1943
AUTHOR: Will Rogers (1879–1935)
QUOTATION: I have always said that a conference was held for one reason only, to give everybody a chance to get sore at everybody else. Sometimes it takes two or three conferences to scare up a war, but generally one will do it.
ATTRIBUTION: WILL ROGERS, syndicated column, July 5, 1933.—The New York Times, July 6, 1933, p. 23.

Disraeli is another who had an unsanguine view of conferences: “The Conference lasted six weeks. It wasted six weeks. It lasted as long as a Carnival, and, like a Carnival, it was an affair of masks and mystification. Our Ministers went to it as men in distressed circumstances go to a place of amusement—to while away the time, with a consciousness of impending failure.”—Speech in the House of Commons on Denmark and Germany, vote of censure, July 4, 1864, Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, 3d series, vol. 176, col. 743.