AFPC Sponsors Russian Delegation – “Trust Deeds Not Words”
Sponsored by American Foreign Policy Council Washington, DC September 1, 1991
Russian Foreign Minister Andrey Kozyrev was the American Foreign Policy Council’s distinguished guest at a reception on April 21, 1991, in Washington, D.C. The visit is a component of the American Foreign Policy Council’s ongoing effort to bring together prominent officials from both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. to discuss issues of mutual interest.
This event was extraordinary since it allowed for conversation between renowned leaders and policy makers free of constraints. A dinner followed the reception during which there was occasion to explore issues in even greater depth. The intention of AFPC was to bring together in one room U.S. policy makers and those who influence policy makers with people from the soviet Union who are involved with the internal changes that are continuously evolving in that country.
Guests in attendance for the reception and dinner came from a wide spectrum of the Washington community. Senior members of the executive and legislative branches of government, the policy analysis and military communities, as well as the media industry, were invited in recognition of the fact that Soviet internal developments are of interest to many groups in the American polity. Government officials from the State Department, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Commerce attended the event.
Private institutions represented include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Harvard University School of Business, the American Security Council, Legislative Studies Institute, Free Congress Foundation, Commodity Futures Corporation, the Jamestown Foundation, Henderson Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute.
Notable guests from the Soviet Union who attended include Andrey Kozyrev, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation; Ivan S. Silayev, Prime Minister of RSFSR; Vladimir Lukin, Chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet Committee on International Affairs and Foreign Economic Relations; and Andrey Kollosovsky, Depute Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Senators Phil Gramm (R-TX), Robert Kasten (R-WY), and Malcom Wallop (R-WY), General William E. Odom, and Dr. William Schneider, Jr., former Undersecretary of State, were some of those who attended a private dinner meeting with the Russian visitors. Those attending the reception included Mrs. Monique Garnier Lancon, former Deputy Mayor of Paris; Ambassador Charles Lichenstein; Paul Weyrich, President of the Free Congress Foundation; and Dr. Rob Soofer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense.
The meetings were strictly off-the-record to allow officials to speak as frankly as possible. The event provided a forum for open and meaningful dialogue between leaders of both superpowers. While the main theme was the struggle between the Republic forces such as the Russian Federation and the central government led by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the reception and dinner gave participants the opportunity to explore the challenges faced by those in the Soviet Union. Kozyrev provided a road map for evaluating the process of reform in the U.S.S.R. “Judge people by their deeds,” he said, “not by what they say.”
The course of events in the Soviet Union does not stand in isolation and thus, the U.S. must be ready to respond with the appropriate policy changes. Therefore, those Americans in attendance were eager for information and insight on domestic political events in the Soviet Union. The hope is that first hand, frank analysis from main players in the effort for Soviet reform will provide these senior U.S. officials with additional insight with which to make better policy.
Foreign Minster Kozyrev emphasized that the Russian and Soviet foreign policy are closely tied to domestic events and the domestic balance of political power in the U.S.S.R. “If repression is used internally, there will be an effect on foreign policy,” he said. On the whole, Kozyrev was optimistic about the future and believed that Russia would successfully dismantle the totalitarian system and replace it with a democratic political system and a free market economy.
Lukin pointed out that the biggest challenge facing the U.S.S.R. lay in identifying the reformers. He noted that the West must be careful in intervening in intra-republic relations, especially in favoring one republic over another. No doubt, he concluded, some republics would try to curry favor with the West at the expense of another republic, but he urged the West to avoid such politics.
AFPC is planning future exchanges between Soviet and American officials.