Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
In one corner of a back room of the Soviet embassy Monday night, Soviet Ambassador Anatoliy Dobrynin talked intently to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and U.S. SALT negotiator Paul C. Warake with a pause to greet a two-man delegation from the People's Republic of China.
But it was not a time to weight questions of diplomatic import. Rather, from the band motions, the Russian ambassador must have been discussing the merits of the bottle of vodka in his band.
"Happy birthday," toasted Vance as he touched glasses with Dobrybin and diplomatically small-sipped his vodka.
More than 1,000 persons had accepted invitations to help celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution (celebrated on Nov. 7 because of a calendar switch after the 1917 Russian Revolution).And every one of them must have attended, jamming the curving stairs to the second-floor reception rooms.
The annual anniversary can be one barometer to the state of diplomatic feelings between countries. Monday night Vance was accompanied by other top State Department officias in a good show of titles. Another Cabinet officer, Transportation Secretary Brock Adams, also attended.
The People's Republic of China, which sent a delegation to a Russian embassy celebration in Washington for the first time last year, was represented Monday night by Han Hsu, deputy chief of the liaison mission here, and an aide.
Han is expected to succeed to the No. 1 post on the People's Republic liaison mission when his boss, Huang Chen, returns to Peking within a week or so.
"Ambassador Huang is busy with his farewells," the aide explained.
A dispatch from Peking yesterday noted that the Chinese Foreign Minister went to the Russian embassy there for the Soviet anniversary celebration. He was believed to be the first leading Chinese official to join such a gathering in 10 years. But Western diplomatic barometer-readers didn't think this indicated any thaw in Sino-Russian relations.
The Russian Revolution anniversary is one Washington diplomatic affair that people try to arrive at early. One reason, undoubtedly, is the food and drink.
Monday night they were not disappointed. The 60th anniversary may not be quite as festive as, say the 50th, but it is more of a milestone than the 57th or 58th.
The room-length tables in two of the reception rooms offered a well-stocked buffet of Russian delicacies, including smoked salmon, meat puddings, tongue, beef, sausages, meat-filled pastries, shredded-beet relish, and, of course, caviar hors d'oeuvres.
When Vance arrived in the first half-hour of the reception, Ambassador Dobrynin took him off to the smaller back reception room where the food was the same but the crowd smaller. Soon others followed to see what the boys in the back room were talking.
Dobrynin was wearing three ribbons on his dark business suit, including two Orders of Lenin and the Order of Red Banner for Labor.
In addition to the traditional vodka toast, Vance sampled a perozky, which Mrs. Dobrynin described as a "pastry filled with almost anything - meat, mushrooms, cabbage."
One of the guests at the Russian anniversary celebration Monday night was wearing a yarmulke. Rabbi Arthur Schneier said it was the first time he had attended the Soviet party and that he represents the Appeal of conscience Foundation, an interfaith group concerned with religious freedom for all beliefs.