In 1964, Canadian diplomat John Watkins died of a heart attack while being interrogated by the RCMP as a suspected Soviet spy. The RCMP could find no evidence to confirm their suspicions, yet Watkins' death was hushed up for nearly 20 years and his reputation fell under a shadow.
The intrigue surrounding John Watkins' career obscured his exceptional talents as a diplomat. First posted to the USSR in 1948, Watkins learned Russian and developed a wide circle of Russian friends. He was allowed to travel to places barred to other foreigners, and in 1955 he organized an historic meeting between Canadian External Affairs Minister Lester Pearson and Communist Party chief Nikita Khrushchev. Intelligent, eccentric and convivial, John Watkins was famous for the wit, insight and common sense he brought to his task of interpreting the byzantine politics of Cold War Russia.
Moscow Despatches offers an unequalled glimpse into the world of Canadian foreign policy during this crucial period in world history.