Date of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

History, PhD


School of Arts and Humanities

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Janet Farrell Brodie

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

William Jones

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Joshua Goode

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2013 Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr.


Cold War, US-Soviet detente, backchannel, relationships, empathy, secrecy

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Diplomatic History | European History | History | United States History


This dissertation argues that through a secret backchannel, US National Security Adviser and later Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Soviet Ambassador to the US Anatoly Dobrynin formed a relationship which provided the empathy needed to bridge many of the ideological differences between their two countries. It examines transcripts of their telephone conversations from 1969-1977 when the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in detente, or a relaxation of tensions, during the Cold War. The dissertation concludes that the Kissinger-Dobrynin backchannel serves as a case study of the effectiveness of back channels in international diplomacy.