Nation: Flipping Finale

Or, diplomacy at its best

Even after seven years of SALT negotiations, a couple of questions of protocol still remained unsettled on the eve of the Carter-Brezhnev signing ceremonies in Vienna, June 15-18. Specifically, which nation should host the first of the two state dinners? And in which embassy would the first business meetings occur?

David Aaron, deputy assistant of the National Security Council, settled these weighty matters by flipping a coin with Counselor Alexander Bessmertnykh of the Soviet embassy in Washington. The coin: a U.S. quarter. "Eagles," called the Russian. Eagles it wasn't. So the first day's business meetings and dinner...

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