The Ford Centennial display in “The Public Vaults” at the National Archives in Washington, DC has been extended. It will be on view through February 19, 2014.
This display features Presidential materials documenting space cooperation with the Soviet Union during the Ford administration. In spite of Cold War tensions the countries conducted the joint Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, a dramatic in-orbit linking of two spacecraft, in July 1975.
Pictured: A model of the Apollo-Soyuz spacecraft is presented to President Ford on September 7, 1974. From left to right, Vladimir A. Shatalov, Commander of Cosmonaut training; Valeriy N. Kubasov, ASTP Soviet engineer; Aleksey A. Leonov, ASTP Soviet crew commander; Anatoly Dobrynin, Soviet Ambassador to the U.S.; President Gerald R. Ford; Thomas P. Stafford, ASTP American crew commander; Donald K. Slayton, American crew’s docking module pilot.
On August 5, 1963, after more than eight years of difficult negotiations, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union signed the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
The Limited Nuclear Test Ban treaty was signed in Moscow on August 5, 1963, by U.S. Secretary Dean Rusk, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, and British Foreign Secretary Lord Home—one day short of the 18th anniversary of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
Over the next two months, President Kennedy convinced a fearful public and a divided Senate to support the treaty. The Senate approved the treaty on September 23, 1963, by an 80-19 margin. Kennedy signed the ratified treaty on October 7, 1963.
- prohibited nuclear weapons tests or other nuclear explosions under water, in the atmosphere, or in outer space
- allowed underground nuclear tests as long as no radioactive debris falls outside the boundaries of the nation conducting the test
- pledged signatories to work towards complete disarmament, an end to the armaments race, and an end to the contamination of the environment by radioactive substances.
-from the JFK Library
President Ford signs the Final Act
In the summer of 1975, Gerald Ford traveled to Helsinki, Finland to join the leaders of 30 other nations to sign the Helsinki Accords. The accords, or “Final Act,” was the result of two years of negotiations.
While U.S. participation was heavily criticized at home from both the left and the right, Ford believed it was his most significant foreign policy achievement. The agreements reached at Helsinki are widely credited as the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union and their reach into Eastern Europe.
Photo: President Ford and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev raise their glasses in a toast after the Signing of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Accords) . Also present are Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko (left), possibly Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin (far left), and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (right). 8/1/75.
Nixon and Khrushchev’s Kitchen Debates
On this day in 1959, Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev met for the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow.
As Nixon led Khrushchev through the model house they began a series of impromptu debates (mainly held in the model kitchen), on capitalism and communism. To debate such ideas both leaders used examples of household appliances to better stress their arguments. Nixon’s performance in the “Kitchen Debate” further raised his stature back in the United States.
In this photograph we have Nixon and Khrushchev debating in front of the now famous model kitchen. To the right of Nixon is future Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev. 7/24/59.
-from the Nixon Library
Violinist Eugene Fodor provided after-dinner entertainment in the East Room of the White House.
Earlier in the year Fodor became the first person from outside of the Soviet Union to share the top honors at the Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow. “He also jogs four miles a day, is a scuba diver, a skier, and rides spirited horses. He obviously shares my enthusiasm for physical exercise,” President Ford observed in his introductory remarks. “I wish I shared even a little of his musicianship.”
Handshake in Orbit
After many months of preparation for U.S. Astronauts and Soviet Cosmonauts, The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project docked two space crafts together in orbit.
Here, U.S. commander Thomas P. Stafford and Soviet commander Aleksey A. Leonov shake hands upon meeting each other in space.
Apollo-Soyuz: Cold War Collaboration
On July 17, 1975, the Apollo and Soyuz spacecrafts docked together in space during the first joint U.S.-Soviet space mission. Cosmonauts Aleksey Leonov and Valeri Kubasov and astronauts Thomas Stafford, Vance Brand, and Donald Slayton conducted joint scientific experiments, exchanged gifts, and spoke in each other’s languages.
This mission was seen as an opportunity not only to cooperate in space but also to strengthen U.S.-Soviet cooperation in general.
President Ford and Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev both called to congratulate the crews after the docking.
Model of the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft depicts their linkage in outer space. The commemorative pins attached to the base were worn by the cosmonauts when they presented the model to President Ford on September 7, 1974.
Photo and caption courtesy of NASA: In perhaps the most iconic image from the flight, astronaut Deke Slayton and cosmonaut Aleksey Leonov are seen together in the Soyuz spacecraft.
On July 15, 1971, Richard Nixon announced to the nation that he had accepted the PRC’s invitation for him visit China.
President Nixon’s trip to China in 1972 ended twenty-five years of isolation between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). He viewed his trip as the first step in a long process of contact between the United States and the PRC. Further, he believed it would reduce tension between the United States, the PRC, and the Soviet Union.
The President’s trip to China required a tremendous amount of planning. Part of this effort involved matters of protocol and etiquette, such as the use of chopsticks.
Image: Transcript of Speech President Nixon Gave Announcing Upcoming Trip to China. 7/15/1971.
More on Ping Pong Diplomacy: Nixon’s Trip to China on the Presidential Timeline.
Apollo-Soyuz Astronauts and Cosmonauts Launch
Gerald R. Ford became President during a time of great unease. The war in Vietnam divided Americans and the Cold War was two decades old and counting. In spite of tension, both the United States and the Soviet Union expressed interest in joint space exploration.
In 1972, the two countries signed an Agreement of Cooperation regarding possible joint initiatives. The idea for a mission during which a U.S. and a Soviet spacecraft would dock emerged from this agreement.
On July 15, 1975 the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was ready. U.S. astronauts—Brigadier General Thomas P. Stafford, Vance D. Brand, and Donald K. Slayton— and Soviet cosmonauts—Aleksey A. Leonov, the first cosmonaut to walk in space, and Valery N. Kubasov—were launched into Earth orbit.
This unique mission, combining both diplomacy and science, demonstrated that U.S./Soviet cooperation was possible and laid the foundation for the current International Space Station.
Apollo-Soyuz emblems via NASA.gov
Of circular design, the emblem has the words Apollo in English and Soyuz in Russian around a center disc which depicts the two spacecraft docked together in Earth orbit. The Russian word “soyuz” means “union” in English.