(b. Old Gromyki near Minsk, 18 July 1909; d. Moscow, 2 July 1989)
Russian; Minister of Foreign Affairs 1957–85 Gromyko was born in Belorussia, the son of Russian peasants. He studied economics and agronomy in Minsk and at the Institute of Economics in Moscow and joined the Communist Party in 1931. Gromyko worked first as an agrarian economist, writing for the journal Voprosy ekonomiki from 1936 to 1939 and joined the diplomatic service which Stalin had just purged and was aided by the patronage of Molotov. After serving for four years as counsellor at the Soviet Embassy in Washington he became ambassador to the United States in 1943. He led the Soviet delegation at the Dumbarton Oaks conference in 1944 which paved the way to the foundation of the United Nations, and in 1945 was present at the Yalta and Potsdam conferences. From 1946 to 1948 he was a permanent Soviet Representative at the UN Security Council. In 1949 he returned to Moscow as First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs but three years later became Soviet Ambassador to London; this was a demotion, reflecting Stalin's ill-will. Returning to Moscow following Stalin's death, he survived Molotov's disgrace to become Foreign Minister in 1957. He prospered under Brezhnev after 1964 and became a full member of the Politburo in 1973.
Gromyko's influence on foreign affairs increased even further under Andropov and Chernenko in the years 1982 to 1985. He gave Gorbachev vital backing in his bid to become General Secretary of the CPSU in March 1985 but soon ceased to be Minister of Foreign Affairs and was replaced by Shevardnadze. He was promoted to the largely honorific post of chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet—the USSR's head of state. In 1988 he retired and in April 1989 was removed from the Central Committee.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — Politics.