It was ten years ago this month that, at a secret meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev was rendered an unperson and Leonid Brezhnev was elevated to the top position of General Secretary of the Communist Party.– the top post in Russia. At that time, most of the commen tators thought Brezhnev was just a party hack put there to keep the seat warm during an alleged struggle for supremacy.
Those who understood what was taking place, however, knew at the time that Brezhnev was Khrushchev’s own handpicked successor. News photographs of Richard Nixon’s visit to Russia in 1959 reveal Brezhnev standing next to Khrushchev even then. Brezhnev was one of the two co-conspirators who plotted with Khrushchev to ship offensive nuclear missiles into Cuba in 1962.
Since taking power in 1964, Brezhnev has presided over the building of the most powerful arsenal of military might ever built by any nation in the history of the world. And he has demonstrated his ruthlessness in the use of power by ordering the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, enunciating the Brezhnev Doctrine, which is the ex post facto rationalization of that invasion, and by his continuing war on the scientists and writers who dare to speak out against Soviet tyranny.
The continuity and consolidation of Brezhnev’s personal power are a phenomenon typical of Communist countries. His longevity in top office is the customary way Communist bosses hang onto their power.
What should cause surprise and comment among Americans, however, is the remarkable twelve-year tenure of Anatoly Dobrynin as Soviet Ambassador to the United States.
On the afternoon that Gerald Ford took office as President, he attended meetings with diplomats from 57 countries and was heard to remark that Dobrynin “seems to go on and on.” And so he does, each year becoming more valuable to the Kremlin because he knows more and more key U.S. officials, and more and more about each of them and their weaknesses. His value to the Kremlin was recently acknowledged by his promotion to become the only nonresident member of the Soviet Communist Central Committee.
Dobrynin’s long record of deceit raises the question as to whether he might even deceive his close friend, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Dobrynin participated with Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko in lying to President John Kennedy at the White House in October 1962 by telling him that the Soviets had no strategic nuclear missiles in Cuba. At that very time, Kennedy had in his desk drawer the U-2 photographs of the missiles. That should have made Dobrynin persona non grata right then.
President Ford, who has the discretion to receive or reject any foreign diplomat, would be well advised to look into the matter of why Dobrynin goes “on and on” in Washington.