Andrei A. Gromyko
Andrei Andreyevich Gromyko (Russian: Андре́й Андре́евич Громы́ко; Belarusian: Андрэ́й Андрэ́евіч Грамы́ка; 18 July [O.S. 5 July] 1909 – 2 July 1989) was a Soviet Belarusian communist politician during the Cold War. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs (1957–1985) and as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (1985–1988). Gromyko was responsible for many top decisions on Soviet foreign policy until he retired in 1988. In the 1940s Western pundits called him Mr. Nyet (“Mr. No”) or “Grim Grom”, because of his frequent use of the Soviet veto in the United Nations Security Council.
Gromyko’s political career started in 1939 with his employment at the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs (renamed Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1946). He became the Soviet ambassador to the United States in 1943, leaving that position in 1946 to become the Soviet Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Upon his return to the Soviet Union he became a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and later the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. He went on to become the Soviet ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1952.
During his tenure as Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union, Gromyko was directly involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis and helped broker a peace treaty ending the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War. Under Leonid Brezhnev’s leadership, he played a central role in the establishment of detente with the United States through his negotiation of the ABM Treaty, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and SALT I & II, among others. After Brezhnev suffered a stroke in 1975 impairing his ability to govern, Gromyko formed a troika with KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov and Defense Minister Dmitriy Ustinov that came to dominate Soviet policymaking during the final years of Brezhnev’s regime. Henceforth, Gromyko’s conservatism and pessimistic view of the West dictated Soviet diplomacy until the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985.
Following Gorbachev’s election as General Secretary, Gromyko lost his office as foreign minister and was appointed to the largely ceremonial office of head of state. Subsequently, he retired from political life in 1988, and died the following year in Moscow.