Sputnik Escalates the Cold War
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Glassboro Summit (23–25 June 1967)

U.S.-Soviet summit meeting held in June 1967. The Glassboro Summit took place at Glassboro State College during 23–25 June 1967 in Glassboro, New Jersey. There, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin met to discuss a host of issues including Arab-Israeli relations in the immediate wake of the Six-Day War of June 1967. Johnson, who at the time was embroiled in the Vietnam War, called the summit with the intention of de-emphasizing Vietnam and focusing on other Cold War issues. The main topics of discussion included Soviet arms sales, nuclear proliferation, antiballistic missile (ABM) development, the Six-Day War, Vietnam, and Fidel Castro's regime.

At the time, neither Johnson nor Kosygin expected to reach any conclusive agreements. The summit's major goal was to keep dialogue open between the two superpowers and to avoid confrontations over contested issues. Johnson hoped that the Soviets would agree to step up efforts regarding nuclear nonproliferation. Kosygin, however, argued that the issue would not be resolved unless the United States ended its bombing of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV, North Vietnam). Johnson was unwilling to do so, and thus little substantive progress was made toward the control of nuclear proliferation or the limiting of ABM systems. Another important topic for discussion was the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East. Kosygin demanded that Israeli forces pull out of areas formerly controlled by the Arabs. But Johnson refused to pressure Israel on the issue, so the two sides agreed to disagree.

Johnson was also keen on putting an end to Castro's support of guerrilla insurgencies in Central America, but Kosygin remained silent on the issue. Although the Glassboro Summit did not result in any major breakthroughs, it was nonetheless an important step forward in U.S.-Soviet relations. The two leaders made some headway toward arms limitation, although no real advancement occurred on the issue of ABMs. Glassboro was the last major U.S.-Soviet summit to take place between 1967 and 1972, when President Richard M. Nixon began to thaw Cold War tensions through détente. Because of Moscow's crackdown in Czechoslovakia in 1968, the United States declined to hold high-level talks with the Soviet Union until that time.

The house in which the meetings took place still stands today. After a thorough restoration, it is now open to visitors and serves as a museum and memorial to the summit. A statue of a white dove sits in the home's living room, symbolizing the meeting's generally amicable atmosphere and the "Spirit of Glassboro" during the height of the Cold War.

Arthur Holst


Further Reading
Bamberg, James. British Petroleum and Global Oil, 1950-75: The Challenge to Nationalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.; Califano, Joseph A. The Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson: The White House Years. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991.; Steele, Jonathan. Soviet Power: The Kremlin's Foreign Policy, Brezhnev to Andropov. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983.
 

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