THE NATION: Message from Moscow

European newspapers labeled it "a diplomatic blockbuster" and, catching up with the times, "a diplomatic atomic bomb." The bomb: an eight-page Soviet note that landed in Washington, London and Paris last week, touching off flurries of press headlines and foreign-office bustle in capitals all over the world.

The message from Moscow caught the West by surprise, but once the haze of off-the-cuff interpretations cleared away, the move seemed logical, the motives obvious. On Nov. 3, the Kremlin had issued a heavy-handed note harshly spurning a U.S.-British-French 'proposal for a Big Four foreign-ministers' meeting in Lugano, Switzerland. That note, apparently drafted...

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