50 years later, hotline to Moscow still relevant

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Associated Press

Posted on August 29, 2013 at 6:04 AM

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — A Cold War-era hotline between Washington and Moscow is turning 50.

Government and military officials are marking the anniversary with a celebration Thursday at Fort Detrick in Maryland. The Army maintains a satellite link there for secure communications between leaders of the two countries.

Former Soviet space exploration director Roald Sagdeev (ROH'-ahld SAG'-deev) says the system remains relevant, especially in light of the nations' differing views on the Middle East.

Despite the popular myth, officials say the president doesn't use a red phone to talk with his Russian counterpart. In fact, the connection established in 1963 was for written communications only.

A voice component was added decades later. Former White House Situation Room manager Michael Bohn (bahn) says that is now the preferred mode of communication between the world leaders.

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