American ambassador to the Soviet Union Thomas J. Watson, Jr. (1914–1993), wrote to Bob Hope in March 1980 to encourage him to entertain embassy staff at a time when tensions between the two countries had worsened dramatically. After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979, President Jimmy Carter (b. 1924) ended détente and intensified the cold war. The embassy consequently became “a very isolated post,” Watson wrote, and a visit from Hope, he suggested, would raise morale. In his reply to the ambassador, Hope offered to do just that.