THE WAR: Nixon at the Brink over Viet Nam

RARELY had so perfunctory an occasion been so raptly watched. There in the White House to pay a courtesy call on the President and exchange a few ideas about world trade were Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin and Moscow's Foreign Trade Minister, Nikolai Patolichev. Every flicker of emotion on the faces of the visitors could be vastly portentous. Suddenly, newsmen were invited into the Oval Office. They were astonished. The Russians were grinning and laughing and exchanging lively banter with the President over how to say "friendship" in two languages.

Deceptive as...

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