Andrei Gromyko served as Soviet foreign minister from 1957 to 1985. Beginning in 1943, when Soviet premier Joseph Stalin appointed the 34-year-old ambassador to Washington, Gromyko was an indispensable formulator of Kremlin policy toward the United States. Ultimately, he dealt with nine U.S. presidents. In this video segment, Gromyko chronicles the arms race, beginning in the 1950s under General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev. At the time, each superpower had the ability to inflict "unacceptable damage" on the other. Still, neither side acted to stop the arms race until General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev opened the new era in the mid eighties. Under the leadership of Gorbachev, Gromyko concludes, Soviets have embraced the "principle of rational sufficiency" and initiated unilateral steps to stop the arms race. The interview Gromyko conducted for War and Peace in the Nuclear Age is a wide-ranging reflection on nuclear strategy, foreign policy, and superpower diplomacy during the four-and-a-half decades since the dawn of the nuclear age. Gromyko begins the interview with a look at the Potsdam Conference, at which U.S. president Harry S. Truman informed Soviet premier Joseph Stalin that an atomic bomb had successfully detonated. Truman was perplexed by the non-reaction of the Soviet leader, who then submitted a private order to accelerate the Russian bomb project. Gromyko remembers how, following the war, it felt, at age 37, to challenge the experienced architects of the Cold War and the policies they conceived: the Baruch Plan, the Truman Doctrine, and the Marshall Plan. He recalls that Soviet proposals to ban all nuclear weapons and to place strict controls on facilities pursuing nuclear energy were "categorically rejected." Western powers, Gromyko asserts, missed the opportunity to stop the arms race before it began. He points to "a drastic hardening" of foreign policy, citing former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill's 1946 "Iron Curtain" speech as an "open declaration of the Cold War." Gromyko reserves his strongest criticism for the "doctrine of intimidation," the United States' classified National Security Memorandum 68, which marked a dramatic shift in U.S.-Soviet relations. His description of the 1962 Caribbean crisis stands in stark contrast to U.S. officials' accounts of the same episode, known as the Cuban missile crisis. He provides detailed recollections of his conversation with President John F. Kennedy during this period, concluding that it was "probably the most difficult meeting I experienced in all my 48 years of meeting presidents of the United States." Gromyko moves ahead to the period of detente. His retelling of last-minute changes prior to the signing of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) I differs from that of national security adviser Henry Kissinger. Gromyko discusses the key Soviet objection to U.S. proposals during SALT II negotiations: the United States, which targeted the Soviet Union with forward bases around the world, demanded drastic reductions in the Soviet Union's principal deterrent-the heavy intercontinental ballistic missile. At Vladivostok in 1974, the two sides agreed on a basic framework for the SALT II Treaty, which was signed five years later. Reflecting on the trends he has observed during his long career as Soviet foreign minister, Gromyko sees more continuity than difference: each administration has tried to achieve military superiority, and the Soviet Union, always one step behind, has pressed to maintain "virtual parity" to safeguard its national interests. Much was achieved during detente, he recalls. While that term is no longer used, Gromyko sees parallels with-and holds out hope for-the current process of "deepening mutual understand and trust."