Time Essay: Brezhnev: Intimations of Mortality

In the weeks since the American and Soviet governments announced that Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev would meet in Vienna, June 15-18, there has been little doubt that the SALT II treaty —the centerpiece of the encounter—would be ready for their signatures. Yet there has been considerable suspense about whether the summit would ever take place. Would Brezhnev's health hold up long enough for him to attend?

For the past few months, the Kremlinologists of the Carter Administration have been doing double duty as actuaries and diagnosticians, trying by remote means to calculate the...

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