9/20/92 at 8:00 PM
George Bush's penchant for personal diplomacy took a new turn this summer. NEWSWEEK has learned that in late August, after a phone conversation with Russian President Boris Yeltsin during which Yeltsin worried aloud about the medical care his mother was receiving for a heart condition, Bush secretly dispatched his physician, Dr. Burton Lee, to the rescue. Lee was vacationing on Martha's Vineyard at the time. Undeterred, Bush sent an air-force jet to the sleepy Massachusetts island in the early hours of the morning to pick up Lee and whisk him to Moscow.
After examining Mrs. Yeltsin, Lee offered specific medical advice to her physicians, White House sources say. He spoke briefly to Yeltsin, the sources say, then jetted back to the cape. Earlier this year, the sources say, Bush considered sending Lee to Eastern Europe because of complaints from leaders about the quality of medical care there.