The presidential bed and the kitchen sink are staying put at the White House, but the Reagans are airlifting just about everything else they or their support staffs might need at next week's Moscow summit.
That cargo ranges from the president's armored Cadillac and disposable shower curtains to the First Butler and Dave Brubeck's Quartet Plus One.
The butler, Alfredo Saenz, and Brubeck are being dispatched for the reciprocal dinner the Reagans will give Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife Raisa next Tuesday. And one would expect the president's limousine to go along since it goes everywhere he does. But shower curtains?
Not for President and Nancy Reagan, who will be staying at Spaso House, the official residence of the American ambassador, where presumably the shower is curtained, but for White House aides staying in Moscow hotels.
After the presummit advance trips, there were complaints that bathroom floors at one Moscow hotel, the Rossiya, were always wet but that the Americans did not dare use their only hotel-furnished towel -- hand-towel-sized -- to mop up the water because they'd need it to dry themselves.
Some of the women making those trips also let it be known that they did not like the idea of nosy KGB agents watching or filming them, particularly while they took showers. One female official, however, pooh-poohs as "paranoia" the idea of hidden cameras: "If there are cameras in your room, they are probably in the shower as well. I just figured if anybody wanted to peek, let them."
Devotees of spy novels know better than to discuss sensitive material in a Soviet hotel room -- and definitely know not to read classified documents beneath the chandelier. There is little likelihood that members of the White House support staff will be carrying any such documents around.
Such is not the case with the president's summit advisers. He and they will confer in new or beefed-up "secure rooms" at the U.S. Embassy.
"You should always assume that you're being watched and listened to," says James L. Hooley, head of White House advance arrangements when the president travels.
Precautions also are being taken at Spaso House to protect the Reagans' privacy. As part of that, "the president will be advised that there is a good chance he and the first lady will be overheard in their private rooms," Hooley says.
The White House decided not to swap the twin beds in the Reagans' room for the king-sized one in the bedroom of Ambassador Jack Matlock and his wife, perhaps to put to rest, as it were, any opportunity for presidential bedtime stories. (Another king-sized bed slept in on the Reagans' previous European trips made headlines last year when the White House shipped it all the way from Portugal to Venice, scene of the economic summit.)
If worst comes to worst, the Reagans can always go sit in their White House limousine. It has been loaded up by the Secret Service with non-optional extras, most importantly a secure communications hookup for the occupants. The White House says there is no car like it anywhere, not even those expensive copies foreign countries special-order for their leaders.
Negotiations are invariably delicate between the host country and the White House over what the president should be permitted to bring with him. His limousine is always at the top of the White House list. Only once did Reagan use someone else's. That was in Japan the day he went to see Emperor Hirohito, whose limo was waiting inside the gates to transport Reagan the rest of the way to the Imperial Palace.
There is some historical precedence for the concern about the car. The Secret Service has never gotten over how Leonid Brezhnev "kidnaped" Richard Nixon in Brezhnev's Zil limousine during the 1972 Moscow summit. The Secret Service detail jumped into Nixon's limousine in hot pursuit, only catching up with the two leaders at Brezhnev's dacha outside town. When the Americans parked their limo so it blocked the front door, the KGB was so furious that negotiations to get the Americans to back off were "as fraught diplomatically as any in my career," writes Henry Kissinger in his book, "The White House Years."
Besides security considerations, the Americans dealing with the Soviets on the Moscow summit wanted to maintain "reciprocity." They did not insist that Gorbachev use a White House car or helicopter during his Washington visit, enabling Gorbachev to ride around town in his big Zil. Since turnabout is fair play, the Americans felt justified in expecting to take Reagan's Cadillac to Moscow.
Director of White House Communications Thomas C. Griscom, a key summit planner, says claiming reciprocity amounted to going strictly by the book -- the Washington summit book.
"We took our blue Washington summit schedule and the Soviets were sitting there with their white version, and sure enough, when we'd say that at the Washington summit we did this and that, they'd see it was there," says Griscom.
The Soviets were what one White House aide called "politely insistent" in offering the Reagans the same Kremlin guest quarters that Nixon used, instead of Spaso House. White House advance teams purposely did not want to inspect them, fearing that by turning down the invitation it might appear that they didn't approve of the accommodations.
"We didn't want to be in that position. It wasn't a matter of disapproving," says Hooley. "We thought it was better to be in a place that was at least nominally controlled by Americans."
That decision eliminated at least one potential problem presidents have been known to face on the road: status maneuvers among staff. During Nixon's 1974 Kremlin stay, Kissinger, then secretary of state, and Alexander Haig III, who was White House chief of staff, fought over whose suite should be closest to Nixon's.
Whatever Reagan eats in Moscow, whether prepared at Spaso House or served by the Soviets, at least one steward from the White House Mess staff of Ron Jackson will be involved in the preparation. Hooley says that is as much a health as a security precaution.
"If we presume that anyone who poisons the president is going to start World War III, I guess we don't have to worry -- any more than we have to worry about Queen Elizabeth's chef," says Hooley.
Not part of reciprocity are two events proposed by the Soviets and accepted by the Americans. One is a brief meeting between Gorbachev and Reagan the day the Reagans arrive, instead of the next morning. The other is a private dinner at the Gorbachevs' dacha outside Moscow the last night the Reagans are there.
The Gorbachevs and Reagans will attend a special performance of the Bolshoi Ballet, which was on the original schedule proposed by the White House. Afterward, they will drive to the dacha, a brick-and-stucco two-story dwelling described as "not unlike a small mansion in Potomac."
Griscom calls the dinner "a very personal touch because it involves just the four of them. It gives them a chance to have dinner very informally without a lot of people around ... It probably says a lot about what President Reagan has been able to accomplish ... and how he will leave in place a relationship to build on."
Neither Griscom nor Hooley has gotten involved with the arrangements being made for the Reagans' reciprocal dinner. "It's a whole separate operation. I keep my hands off social events," says Hooley.
Nancy Reagan's chief of staff, Jack Courtemanche, is handling those. He returned from his third trip to work things out only last week.
In addition to food (some is also being shipped from Finland) and wine (all of which will be Californian), flying to Moscow aboard Air Force planes in recent days have been civilian and military personnel, including White House social secretary Linda Faulkner.
She is fine-tuning details of the dinner, working with the embassy's Italian chef Petro Velot, who will have backup assistance from Ron Jackson's White House Mess staff. No White House chefs are on the scene.
The White House is hiring Soviet butlers, two per table, to work the dinner though Saenz will have the sole responsibility of serving Reagan. He'll also be the butler-in-residence where matters of serving protocol are concerned.
"We'll certainly take advantage of his expertise," says Faulkner.
Invitations were done by White House calligraphers and sent to Moscow to be hand-delivered by the embassy to the approximately 110-120 guests.
Faulkner says "very few, if any," American business types are on the list drawn up from a variety of sources. Nancy Reagan had her own suggestions, "as she does for every dinner," according to Faulkner, but also contributing names were the embassy, the State Department and other U.S. agencies involved in the summit.
"Some names were suggested by private citizens who wrote to us and whom we knew and respected," says Faulkner.
There will be the usual U.S. and Soviet officialdom present, but Faulkner says that "largely it's a mix of outstanding people from various Soviet fields -- writers, sports figures, filmmakers -- similar to how we approach the state dinner at the White House."
As in Geneva when the Reagans entertained the Gorbachevs at a much smaller party, there will be background music during dinner played by U.S. Army violinists flown in from Washington.
Afterward, Dave Brubeck's Quartet Plus One will perform. The Gorbachevs met Brubeck and his wife Iola at the Reagans' White House dinner last December, but at that time Brubeck was a guest.
Gorbachev, 57, is of that generation when Soviet college students were first becoming enthusiastic about American jazz. The enthusiasm hasn't waned, as Brubeck discovered in sellout concerts he gave in Moscow and Leningrad last year.
Faulkner says the White House decided to rent silverware, tablecloths and napkins from a Washington supplier rather than take them from White House stock because the risk of loss or damage is too great.
Because Spaso House does not have adequate quantities, supplemental State Department china and crystal, some from the U.S. Embassy in Finland, also are being taken over.
The Reagans have given only a handful of reciprocal dinners on their trips abroad. These include one for French President Franc ois Mitterrand in Paris in 1982 and one for Chinese leaders in Beijing in 1984.
In both cases, right up with the top secrets were menus and guest lists.