Why Herbert W. Armstrong Didn’t Meet Leonid Brezhnev

Franz Joseph Strauss recommended he not talk to the Soviet leader.

On Wednesday, Nov. 28, 1981, Herbert W. Armstrong touched down in Munich for a meeting with German politician Franz Joseph Strauss. The two preceding days he was in Switzerland and Egypt, where the thought came to mind that he simply had to see the governor of Bavaria once again. While Mr. Armstrong was in Egypt, Mr. Strauss was in Russia meeting with Lenoid Brezhnev, president of the Soviet Union and chairman of the Communist Party.

The meeting was set for 9 a.m. on the following day. Mr. Armstrong arrived with three enlarged photographs in hand, featuring Strauss, Brezhnev and Soviet diplomat Andrei Gromyko, whom the governor had not yet met. Official photographer for the West German government and the Plain Truth magazine, Alfred Hennig, had snapped the shots and ensured they were enlarged for the unofficial ambassador to present to his host.

The meeting began with the pair reminiscing about Mr. Strauss’s past visits to the campus of Ambassador College in Pasadena, California. A decade earlier he spent two full days at the college. He spoke to a formal assembly of the student body and was later interviewed again for television broadcast by the World Tomorrow program. Before departing the campus, Strauss was guest of honor at a special banquet hosted by Mr. Armstrong at his home. “At the close of the first day, he commented that he had just spent the happiest day of his life. The peace and happiness here are contagious,” recalled his host, the unofficial ambassador for world peace. “Dr. Strauss drank it in. Herr Strauss said, ‘We need an Ambassador College in Germany’” (Plain Truth, September 1979).

Additionally, another topic of conversation was China, which the governor had recently visited, as did the internationally recognized ambassador for peace in early 1980, at the invitation of President Deng Xiaoping, as the first leader from the world of Christianity.

Hoping for 20 to 30 minutes of discussion time, Mr. Armstrong was surprised by the more than 90 minutes afforded him. Their discussion continued, focusing on world events, including the present turmoil in the Middle East, implications of a divided Jerusalem, and Polish-Soviet relations, with Strauss reportedly saying “the Soviets were more afraid of the pope than American missiles” (Worldwide News, Dec. 14, 1981).

When asked whether he should personally meet with the Soviet president, the Bavarian governor, according to the Worldwide News, told his guest “he didn’t think it was a good idea.”

The same December 14 edition reported, “Dr. Strauss said when he met President Brezhnev, the president came prepared with a written speech, which he read in Russian. The speech had three parts: (1) accusations, (2) judgements on other people, and (3) personal accusations as, ‘Why do you want war?’ Dr. Strauss was asked to give an immediate reply. The Bavarian governor said Mr. Brezhnev never speaks without a prepared text.” The meeting concluded with an invitation from Mr. Armstrong to Mr. Strauss to revisit Ambassador College, which he accepted, setting time aside in March 1982 for the trip.

The recommendation that Mr. Armstrong not meet with the Soviet president didn’t stop the delivery of Jesus Christ’s gospel message of Matthew 24:14. The Plain Truth magazine, which Mr. Armstrong founded 30 years prior, had grown into a mass-circulation publication, enabling its publisher to ensure Mr. Brezhnev’s face, as well as specific prophetically focused articles about the Soviet Union, appeared in editions for November 1964, January and December 1975, April 1981, and May 1982, just six months before the Communist leader’s death.

Soon both Strauss and Brezhnev will be thrilled to know that the Bible prophesies of the establishment of an Ambassador College in Germany, Russia, and all nations (Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 30:20; Malachi 1:11). Its current-day successor, Herbert W. Armstrong College, founded by our editor in chief, Gerald Flurry, remains an undimmed light in a darkening world, continuing the work and legacy of its namesake. The Russians will soon flock to Jerusalem to join the rest of the world for annual visionary education and instruction, in the wonderful World Tomorrow (Zechariah 14:16).

For more of the plain truth about the people biblically identified in Genesis 10:1-2 as Gog, request a complimentary copy of our booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.