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Ft. Detrick Celebrates "Washington-Moscow Hotline" Anniversary

Possible aggression from the Soviet Union was a topic on many people's minds. It was 50 years ago the US and USSR established a direct link between the White House and the Kremlin.

FREDERICK, Md. - Possible aggression from the Soviet Union was a topic on many people's minds. It was 50 years ago the US and USSR established a direct link between the White House and the Kremlin.

While technology has advanced significantly since the 1960's, the "Washington-Moscow Hotline" still remains a staple in communication. The "red phone" was the ever ready way for US Presidents to communicate with Soviet leaders, in wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Experts tell us, it still has additional uses.

"For a number of other uses, the nuclear reduction center, Voice communications between the White House and Russian President, and the Secretary of State and the Russian Foreign Minister," said former American Ambassador Jack Matlock. 

The hotline was first established by the United States and Soviet governments with an undersea cable, but like most things, that has changed with the times. 

"It's completely different from what it was 50 years ago. It's up to date, completely reliable, and it's not surprising that others in the world fearing nuclear disaster are trying to follow the steps," said former American Ambassador Dr. Ronald Sagdeev. 

Communications technicians say the hotline and open communication between the US and Russia made the world a safer place. They say the hotline is a prime example of the cooperation between the two, and Fort Detrick is proud of their historic and continued role of maintain the hotline. 

Fort Detrick has made sure communication has remained open, and that any international tension during the time period was eased through communication.

While cable was initially used for communications, by the late 1970's the hotline was switched over to satellite technology to enable the leaders of both countries to have important conversations.

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