Attempts to throw light on the U.S. foreign policy process by examining the 13-year history (1955-1968) of the U.S.-Soviet civil air agreement. It retraces the tortuous path that led the U.S. government to the eventual establishment of the New York-Moscow air link. It focuses on the U.S. participants in the process (the President and the Executive Branch bureaucracy), on their internal relationships and on their interactions with the Congress and the American carrier (Pan Am) concerned. Two striking features of this case are (1) the remarkably professional performance of the bureaucracy, and (2) the persistence with which a relatively trivial technical agreement became the subject of Presidential interest and a ploy of Presidential policy. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson, alternately dangled the agreement before the USSR and pulled it away. Thus fluctuations in the fortunes of the agreement came to reflect quite accurately the changes in temperature of the Cold War. 63 pp.