Brezhnev secretly buoyed Nixon during Watergate

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.At first, Moscow paid little attention to Watergate, but as the scandal of the break-in at Democratic offices focused on the president, Dobrynin wrote, concern grew in the Politburo that it could damage improvement in U.S.-Soviet relations. “One began to sense his growing bewilderment, lack of confidence and withdrawal from other matters,” Dobrynin wrote. The ambassador was instructed to meet immediately and secretly with Nixon to deliver the message of support from General Secretary Brezhnev. “No doubt, there are some people – and not only in the U.S. – who anticipate that Richard Nixon won’t be able to take it and will crack under the pressure,” Dobrynin said he told the president on Brezhnev’s behalf. “But, we are pleased to note, you have no intention of giving them that satisfaction.” In response, and speaking slowly, Nixon said he wished to thank Brezhnev “for the fact that he, perhaps alone among the leaders of other nations, including the allies, had found simple human words to lift his spirits,” Dobrynin wrote in the documents released this week. Nixon went ahead in the summer of 1974 to hold a summit with Brezhnev in Moscow, but his days in the White House were numbered and he resigned in August. While Nixon was a firm adherent of U.S. strength, he was opposed to brinksmanship in dealing with the Soviet Union, Dobrynin reported to Moscow in 1969, at the start of a unique personal relationship with Washington. The State Department historical documents portrayed Nixon as not counting on the use of force. Quoting from an urgent telegram Dobrynin sent to Moscow, sizing up the new president, differences were too deep to bridge completely. But Dobrynin told the Soviet Foreign Ministry in his cable that “the new president is opposed to methods of brinksmanship in relations with the USSR, since he believes that both our countries have at their disposal sufficient nuclear missiles to annihilate each other many times over.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – As the Watergate scandal enveloped President Nixon, he was buoyed by a secret “for his eyes only” message of moral support and encouragement from Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, according to newly released State Department documents. Saying he wanted to share thoughts with Nixon “mainly on a human level,” Brezhnev told Nixon “we do not really understand much of what is happening,” but it was clear to the Politburo in Moscow that not only domestic factors were at work. “There are those who would like to nullify or completely undermine everything valuable and important” in understandings being reached by the two superpowers, Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin said he told the president on Brezhnev’s behalf. The message, delivered to Nixon by Dobrynin, proposed “self-control and fortitude” in conducting foreign policy, Dobrynin wrote in a foreword to the documents. last_img

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