U.S.-Soviet Summits

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U.S.-Soviet Summits: An Account of East-West Diplomacy at the Top, 1955-1985

“The failure at Geneva was guaranteed by the absence of an agreed conceptual framework; both sides ultimately decided to treat the summit as a get-acquainted session that would be the first step in a new process. This, plus the fact that when the time came, Reagan and Gorbachev tossed aside the agenda and positions carefully structured by their professional aides, made the Geneva summit extraordinary in terms of the mechanics.”
From the epilogue by Dusko Doder

During the Cold War, when the question of an East-West summit meeting was raised, a standard answer from both sides was: “We are prepared to meet at the summit, provided preparations are made for such a meeting.”

In this book, Gordon R. Weihmiller reviews the preparatory phases of eleven postwar meetings between leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union from the 1955 Geneva Heads of Government meeting to the Vienna summit in 1979, analyzing the circumstances, lead-up, and outcome of each. Dusko Doder examines the background and results of the 1985 Reagan-Gorbachev summit, and David Newsom’s foreword notes the relationship of summit preparation to summit success.

Select an Option

by Gordon R. Weihmiller and Dusko Doder
Washington, D.C.: Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, 1986
230 pp, appendices (synopses and final documents of each summit meeting), notes, bibliography
Paperback $15.00

"There seems never to have been a single point at which the question of whether there should be a summit meeting has been decided. In each administration, the decision appears to have been a matter of the evolution of pressures to the point where a summit became both a diplomatic and political necessity."
From the foreword by David D. Newsom