- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 13, 2010

COLD WAR DIPLOMATS

Anatoly Dobrynin, a Soviet ambassador to the United States during the darkest days of the Cold War, was honored in Washington less than three years ago as the “world champion among ambassadors.”

At a September 2007 dinner, Russian Ambassador Yuri Ushakov lavished that praise on Mr. Dobrynin, who served here from 1962 to 1986, rising to dean of the diplomatic corps, the most senior foreign ambassador in Washington.

His years in the United States found him dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis within seven months of presenting his diplomatic credentials to President Kennedy. His tour ended as President Reagan was facing down the Soviet global threat.

Peter Ramsbotham, the British ambassador to the United States from 1974 to 1977, arrived in Washington as the aftermath of the Watergate affair was still shaking political life in the capital. Although his time in Washington was brief, he charmed the social set as well as two presidents and dozens of congressional leaders

The two Cold War diplomats died this month within days of each other, both at the age of 90.

Mr. Dobrynin, ambassador during six U.S. presidential administrations and five Soviet leaders, died April 6 in Russia. Moscow did not release the cause of his death. Mr. Ramsbotham died of pneumonia at his home in southern England on April 9.

In their own ways, each ambassador soared to diplomatic fame in Washington.

Mr. Dobrynin is credited with helping Mr. Kennedy end the missile crisis, which almost led to nuclear war, by suggesting the president offer to withdraw some aging U.S. nuclear missiles from Turkey in exchange for Russia removing nuclear sites from Cuba.

The Soviet diplomat later developed close ties with Henry Kissinger, who served as national security adviser and secretary of state under President Nixon and President Ford.

Mr. Ramsbotham, who once called Washington “just my cup of tea,” developed a close relationship with President Carter and frequently traveled throughout the United States to promote U.S.-British ties.

Although his critics called him an old “fuddy-duddy,” Mr. Ramsbotham was noted for his wit and his lavish costume balls. He later served as governor to Bermuda, where he was known for promoting racial justice.

UPSET IN HUNGARY

Maximilian Teleki, president of the Hungarian American Coalition, was quick to dismiss the success of an extreme right-wing party that won its first seats in parliament in Sunday’s election.

“Some reports will focus on the strong third-place showing of [the] Jobbik [party],” he said in a quick analysis of the election results.

“However the numbers reflect that 83 percent of Hungarian voters rejected Jobbik and their politics of intolerance. The overwhelming number of Hungarian voters placed their bets on the future, not the past; and, instead of fear, they invested in hope.”

Mr. Teleki said the results show that voters gave the conservative Fidesz party 206 seats in the 386-member legislature. A second round of voting will likely give them another 59 seats, giving them a two-thirds majority with no need to form a governing coalition. The Hungarian Socialist Party, which had held 190 seats and governed in a coalition for eight years, retained only 28 seats.

“This is an overwhelming rejection of the socialist party’s eight-year rule,” he said.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail [email protected]

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