Tags: kennedy | reagan | soviet

Kennedy's Secret Soviet Overture Against Reagan

Saturday, 29 Aug 2009 05:10 PM

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President Ronald Reagan and Sen. Ted Kennedy were good friends, according to Nancy Reagan. But that didn't stop Kennedy from trying to undercut Reagan ... with a little help from the Soviet Union.

According to Peter Robinson, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a former White House speechwriter, Kennedy offered to make a deal with then-Soviet leader Yuri Andropov in 1983.

Robinson, writing for Forbes.com, says Kennedy sent his close friend, former California state Sen. John Tunney, to Moscow with a secret message to Andropov: Help the Democrats battle Reagan in the 1984 presidential election, and in return Kennedy would help Andropov in dealing with Reagan.

Robinson recounts that Victor Chebrikov, a top KGB official, recorded the details of Kennedy's offer in a memo that was uncovered in Soviet archives in 1991.

Kennedy promised to:

  • Visit Moscow and prep the Soviets on effective propaganda. "The main purpose of the meeting, according to the senator, would be to arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA," states the Soviet memo.

  • Help Andropov get on U.S. television. "A direct appeal ... to the American people will, without a doubt, attract a great deal of attention and interest in the country," states the memo. "If the proposal is recognized as worthy, then Kennedy and his friends will bring about suitable steps to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interviews. ... The senator underlined the importance that this initiative should be seen as coming from the American side."

    According to the memo, Kennedy also had told Tunney that he planned to run for president in 1988.

    Robinson writes that there is no evidence to prove that Andropov, who died eight months later, ever took any action regarding Kennedy's offer.

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