USSR ambassadorship, 1987-1991

Scope and content:

Jack Matlock was appointed to be the US Ambassador to the Soviet Union in January 1987, and served from April 1987 until August 1991. This subseries contains materials documenting his work, and Rebecca's service as ambassador's wife, including their formal appearances at various events in Moscow; hosting US officials and other guests at the embassy and at Spaso House, the ambassador's residence; and their frequent travels to various places within the Soviet Union territory to visit and represent the United States. Materials are grouped chronologically by year, and then subsequently arranged by format: Reports/Clippings, Cables, Memoranda, Correspondence, Topics, and Events.

The subseries contains correspondence, memoranda, incoming cables and reports, and other government documents and administrative items relating to specific issues and events. Of note are the visit by the Gorbachevs to the United States in 1987; the Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Moscow in 1988; and the Bush-Gorbachev summits in Malta (1989) and Moscow (1991). There are a couple of thank-you letters included following these major events from Presidents Reagan and Bush. Recurring themes include security at the Moscow embassy; exit visas for Soviet dissidents; coverage of US activities and attitudes toward the US in the Soviet press; and interpretations of Soviet activities/attitudes by US officials. The Matlocks actively participated in various US cultural expositions throughout the Soviet Union, including attending opening exhibits for Information USA during 1987 and 1988, which toured several Soviet states. They also frequently hosted Soviet and American guests at Spaso House, including poets, musicians, and performers, and the subseries includes official guest lists and planning materials discussing the intended messaging and tone for these cultural exchanges. This subseries includes drafts of different speeches delivered by Matlock, typically in Russian, when he was the invited guest at different Soviet academies or organizations. There is a significant amount of material relating to Matlock's speech in Latvian at the Riga Chautauqua conference, which the US participated in despite not recognizing the Soviets' occupation of Latvia.

There is much accompanying information for the events in this subseries held in the Diaries Series and in the Writings Series -- Rebecca's accounts and perspectives are included in several essays as well as in the Dear Everybody Letters, held in the Writings Series.


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Collection is open for research.

Original audiovisual materials are closed to use. Viewing copies available; contact Research Services to coordinate access to viewing/use copies.

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