ASME had an important seat at the table as the Soviet Union started opening up to the West during the Gorbachev era. But there were fits and starts in the relationship between U.S. and Soviet Engineering organizations. In March, 1988, ASME President-elect Ernest L. Daman enjoyed drinks and caviar in the Atlanta Hilton with Konstantin Frolov, the Vice President of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Also present was David Belden, ASME’s executive director, and the men’s wives. They were in town for an ASME manufacturing conference, with Frolov scheduled to speak two days later in Washington, to the ASME Industry Advisory Board. As Daman recalled in his oral history, Frolov never showed up for his speech.
This was a period when the United States and Soviet governments were striving for improved relations after General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the political reforms known as perestroika and was calling for new openness and transparency in government, or Glasnost.
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