February 6, 2014
Several decades ago I read an amusing first person account by (as far as I can recall) composer Igor Stravinsky about what it's like to visit your Swiss bank to check up on your private stash. (I can't find the story online to confirm this memory, other than a biographer noting that Stravinsky visited two Swiss banks in October 1968.)
Anyway, Stravinsky (assuming that was the narrator) emphasized that a visit to a high-end Swiss bank involved much careful shuttling from one private waiting room to another, like in the opening scene of an expertly constructed bedroom farce before everything goes awry in the last act. Discreet staffers orchestrate your movement down cleared hallways so that you don't accidentally bump into other clients visiting their own loot. I mean it would be embarrassing for all concerned for Maestro Stravinsky to bump into Prime Minister Wilson or General Secretary Brezhnev coming out of the vault.
I recall that when I read this (around 1982?) that I laughed at Stravinsky's example of the Labour PM, but I was surprised by his very notion that the Soviet supremo might be on the take, might be salting a little away against the day of destruction, then somewhat intrigued: it was an idea that just didn't come up much in the culture of the time. Two things were taken for granted back then: Muscovite women were homely and Muscovite men were honest.
So, that raises the question: Did the CIA ever attempt to bribe the Soviets into just giving up? And if not, why not?
By Steve Sailer on 2/06/2014