The Presidency: Deep in the Bear's Den

Deep in the Bear's Den

When the new U.S. Ambassador to Moscow, Jack Matlock, rose to toast his guests recently in the shadowy old Spaso House residence, even he was astonished at the scene before him. Around the dinner table were two former U.S. Secretaries of Defense, two former CIA directors and one former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff mixed in with Soviet officials, including Victor Sukhodrev, deputy director for U.S.A.-Canada in the Soviet Foreign Ministry.

"I don't think that this has ever happened before," said Matlock. Such lofty authorities from the U.S., their minds stuffed with the greatest secrets of the nation, had...