Soviet Diplomats as Judges of Domestic Conditions in the United States
DR. SUSSER: How would you say Dobrynin and the Soviet leadership were as judges of what was going in the United States? Were they accurate in their estimate of our domestic politics, our policy? How good were Dobrynin's reports back home?
DR. KISSINGER: I haven't read the whole book but I've read a good slice of it. I think his reports-his reports were quite accurate. He sometimes, I had the impression, collected a lot of things together elsewhere and ascribed them to the highest level people he could find. But diplomats have done that before. But they were essentially accurate, I thought.
I have my doubts that the recipients of these reports had an equally accurate understanding. And for example, in Gorbachev's memoirs, it's clear that Gromyko had a less precise understanding of American domestic politics than Dobrynin did.
DR. SCHLESINGER: Nobody stays in office--no ambassador stays in office for over 20 years by continuously sending back reports with which his bosses disagree, particularly if those bosses are running a totalitarian system. So I suspect that Ambassador Dobrynin felt obliged, and certainly did, to pull his punches.