Friday 26 October 2007
As the Watergate scandal enveloped U.S. President Richard Nixon in the summer of 1974, he was buoyed by a secret message of moral support from Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, according to newly released U.S. State Department documents. Brezhnev told Nixon he knew he would not “crack under the pressure”. The message, delivered to Nixon by Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin, proposed “self-control and fortitude” in conducting foreign policy, Dobrynin wrote in a foreword to the documents.
At first, Moscow paid little attention to Watergate, but as the scandal of the break-in at Democratic offices focused on Nixon, Dobrynin wrote, concern grew in the Politburo that it could damage improvements in U.S.-Soviet relations. «One began to sense his growing bewilderment, lack of confidence and withdrawal from other matters», Dobrynin wrote. The ambassador was instructed to meet immediately and secretly with Nixon to deliver the message of support from Brezhnev.