Two Trips to Moscow
The stout old man was tired but happy. He had just returned from his seventh and last trip to Moscow where he had met with the Soviet leaders and signed a treaty that returned the Porkkala naval base, located only a half-hour drive from Helsinki to the southwest, to Finland four decades before the original due date. Granted, the Finns had extended a "friendship" treaty with the Soviet Union for another twenty years, a treaty that required Finland to fight on the side of the Soviets if Finnish soil was used to launch an attack against the Soviet Union, but that seemed so meaningless compared to the fact that within four months-- in late January 1956--Soviet troops would leave Finnish soil, he hoped for good. At the tender age of eighty-five President Juho Kusti Paasikivi had scored his greatest foreign policy victory.
The younger man--athletic, bold, and tall--was equally satisfied. He could remember another trip, seven years earlier, when Paasikivi had sent him to Moscow as a member of the delegation that had negotiated the Finno-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance (FCMA), signed in April 1948. At that time the atmosphere had been extremely tense, and most people, both Finns and foreign observers, had expected that the treaty would be a prelude to a communist takeover of Finland. Nobody had celebrated that delegation's return and without President Paasikivi's personal prestige the Finnish parliament, Eduskunta, might never have ratified the FCMA Treaty. In the end, it had turned out to be a safe treaty for Finland, but back in 1948 only a small minority of Finns had believed that the treaty would be enough for the