ties in the two countries that bilateral cooperation between political adversaries was acceptable. By 1981, 23 interacademy scientific workshops had been held.
Many American university-based scientists had hoped that the interacademy channel would be a nongovernmental channel relatively free of government interference. However, the governments were and will remain important participants in interacademy activities: academy institutes in Russia are government institutions; the NAS and many of the participating American scientists receive funding from the U.S. government departments and agencies that help support exchanges; and both governments monitor, and if necessary control, exchanges through the visa process. Constraints on the academy-to-academy channel persist today, but the political and administrative distances between government and academy activities in both countries in this arena are far greater now than they were two and three decades ago.
A specific example of the coupling of government and academy interests occurred in the early 1970s when Secretary of State Henry Kissinger successfully promoted a decade of expanded bilateral intergovernmental scientific and technological cooperation as one of the centerpieces of U.S. efforts to improve relations between the two countries. This cooperation was brought to life in 11 formal intergovernmental agreements in science and technology. For a few years, these agreements had the desired political effect of translating the concept of détente into highly visible activities (Ailes and Pardee, 1984; Schweitzer, 1989:140–141). The governments selected the NAS and ASUSSR to lead the physics program, and a series of meetings and consultations involving leading physicists from both countries ensued over a period of more than 10 years. A good example of an important government initiative was the evolution of the intergovernmental Agreement on Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy and its annexes. This agreement resulted from discussions between U.S. president Richard Nixon and Soviet president Leonid Brezhnev, and was then embedded in the Kissinger initiative. It led to hundreds of exchanges of scientific importance. Meanwhile, the core interacademy program of individual exchanges remained independent of these larger initiatives and continued. Indeed, the interest among scientists in the two academies expanded to additional fields, including science policy, the social sciences, and engineering.
Over the years, adjustments in the character and scope of interacademy cooperation have been driven by a variety of factors. They have included: