The Foreign Service Journal, March 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2020 43 Ambassador to the USSR, 1952 At first he [George Kennan] endured Soviet regulations, including those that precluded travel more than 25 miles outside of Moscow, forbade him to speak with Soviet citizens, and required him to purchase most Soviet publica- tions through the Foreign Ministry. When Kennan served in Moscow during the 1930s and 1940s, he had friends among the Soviet employees at the embassy, but in 1952, the stone-faced servants at Spaso House shunned communication, groundskeepers declined to work, and security officers followed Kennan wherever he went, depriving him of enjoyable strolls among the Russian people. “I came gradually to think of myself as a species of disembodied spirit,” recalled Kennan, “capable, like the invisible character of the fairy tales, of seeing others and moving among them but not of being seen, or at least not of being identified by them.” Kennan told his colleagues that he still favored an eventual diplomatic solution with Moscow over Korea, Berlin, and other issues. “I would negotiate with the Soviet representatives coldly and brutally and in full acceptance of the fact that their ultimate aim is to ruin us, and that they believe our ultimate aim is to ruin them.” —Walter L. Hixson, May 1987 Moscow Today: An Interview with Arthur Hartman The U.S.S.R. is a closed society, and our purpose in being in Moscow is to understand and report on it as fully as possible. So we have to balance the risk and the opportunities. We want our people to know how to handle themselves and to engage, to get out and talk to Soviets and to do what you can only do on the spot in Moscow. On the human side, we read reports in the press that the abrupt removal of local employees necessitated having political officers, for instance, scrub toilets and do other housekeeping chores. What has it been like? …Well, we found out because we were the only embassy in the world that actually operated—and is still operating—without any local employees. When will our operations in the Soviet Union return to nor- mal? Moscow is a very abnormal place. We are going to have to establish a balance between making sure our people are not open to security risks and making sure that they can still get out and observe Soviet society. —May 1987 The Perils of Perestroika Following the deaths of three aged Soviet leaders in three years, the selection of Mikhail Gorbachev as general secretary of the Com- munist Party was an extraordinarily impor- tant event. In Gorbachev, the U.S.S.R. not only has a vigorous leader in his 50s, but an individual of considerable political talent and intellectual acumen. Almost without exception, those who have talked with the new general secretary have found him to be intel- ligent, well informed, and purposeful. His style of “openness,” his criticisms of many Soviet traditions and methods, and his pro- posed solutions, if implemented, will result in profound changes for Soviet society. Gorbachev has set for himself a surprisingly difficult agenda: reinvigorating economic performance, civic consciousness, and, most broadly, public morality. The outcome of this program, however, is very much in doubt. His hidden agenda was a widespread assault on accumulated privileges, waste, corruption, and laziness. The anti-alcohol cam- paign bought him time, while beginning the kind of sociopolitical regeneration he was seeking. Far beyond the borders of the Soviet Union, the unfolding of perestroika and glasnost may affect the whole Eastern bloc. On the other hand, if the reforms implicit in these terms are not realized, then both perestroika and glasnost could be harbingers of political entropy, with egregious consequences for the Soviet —E.C. Ropes, August 1941 The Soviet Ukraine: Its Resources, Industries, and Potentialities