Amazon Advertising Find, attract, and engage customers. In Confidence is full of revelations that give us new insight into our own history, as well as into comfidence saga of Soviet-American relations. ComiXology Thousands of Digital Comics. Drawing on his own unpublished diaries and archival research, the ex-ambassador charges that during the Cuban missile crisis ofMoscow made him an involuntary tool of deceit by keeping confidenc the deployment of Soviet intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Cuba.
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His affable style and fluent English marked him out from the granite-faced Andrei Gromyko, his longtime boss as foreign minister. John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon both used him as a back channel to the Kremlin, bypassing their own secretaries of state. Working with six American presidents, Dobrynin was the conduit between the Kremlin and the White House during the first strategic arms control talks, two wars in the Middle East, the Soviet invasions of Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan, and the furious US reaction to the downing of a South Korean airliner by a Soviet warplane in , which almost led the Reagan administration to end a decade and a half of detente.
Unlike most Soviet diplomats of the post-October revolution generation, Dobrynin was not the son of a diplomat father, nor did he start his adult life with ambitions for the foreign service.
He studied engineering and became an aircraft designer during the second world war. But in he was asked by Communist party officials to give this up and train to be a diplomat. Recounting the event in his memoirs, In Confidence , Dobrynin said he had no idea why the offer was made, but it could not be refused.
Back with the Soviet foreign ministry, he became head of its US section and was at the frosty meeting between Nikita Khrushchev and the newly inaugurated Kennedy in Vienna in Perhaps because of this fiasco, and in an attempt to improve relations, Dobrynin was selected to go to Washington as ambassador the following year at the age of Llewellyn Thompson, the US ambassador in Moscow, told Kennedy that Dobrynin embodied the new generation, and "you can get on the same wavelength as him".
The new ambassador soon fulfilled his promise, making himself visible around Washington at Camelot cocktail and dinner parties, and getting favourable coverage in the American media.
But it was his secret diplomacy that was most important. The younger Kennedy, who was attorney-general, told the ambassador that if Moscow withdrew its missiles, the US would make no more efforts to invade the island to topple Fidel Castro. It would also withdraw US missiles on the Soviet southern flank in Turkey, though not as a quid pro quo and not immediately. As long as Moscow did not publicise the promise and if four or five months elapsed, "I said I was sure that these matters could be resolved satisfactorily," Bobby Kennedy wrote later.
These back channel arrangements were formalised after Nixon won the election. In spite of this privileged treatment, neither Nixon nor Kissinger ever suggested that Dobrynin was anything more than an efficient messenger. He did not make policy or initiate ways of breaking impasses. He usually read out statements or elegantly played for time until instructions came from Moscow.
Nor is there evidence that Dobrynin was a reformer in the Soviet context. From his Washington perch, Dobrynin sent the foreign ministry two cables reporting the flattering coverage the visit had received in the American media. Instead of being circulated to all politburo members, as was normal with overseas trips by Kremlin leaders, the cable was held back. What significance does it have? He considered making Dobrynin his successor but unexpectedly plumped for an unknown Georgian with no diplomatic experience, Eduard Shevardnadze.
Dobrynin was brought back to Moscow soon afterwards to join the secretariat of the central committee. It was ostensibly a promotion, but he served for only two years. In retirement, he gave occasional lectures and wrote his memoirs.
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