Saturday, June 15, 1974

Collapse of Northwest Soviet Liaison Corporation

Event: June 1974

St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow
It came as a surprising phone call to me in a Moscow hotel from my client and boyhood friend in Los Angeles. As if he were rescheduling his day-timer he said simply, "Sorry, Gene. Something came up. We can't make it. You make the appropriate apologies."

With that call my enterprise collapsed. It was all over. One doesn't renege on a business agreement with the Soviets and stay in business. I had exhausted all my political and social capital to pave the way for this particular client at his insistence a month earlier, even though I had warned him my company needed at least 6 months lead time for a decision. Despite this he and his company had delayed making the decision 5 months beyond the deadline and I risked making an exception for him based on our life-long friendship never dreaming of such an outcome.

My friend John Bowen, executive vice president of National Medical Enterprises in charge of international sales and marketing, had agreed to come to the international medical services trade show taking place in Moscow with his boss, NME president Richard Eamer.  Now, the night before key appointments with Soviet ministers of trade and commerce the next morning, I learn they wouldn't make it.

With no further recourse than to leave the city, I left empty handed in a state of shock and returned to the US.

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