10.11.2010

September-October, 1960: Khrushchev and the U.N.

* Monday, September 19: Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev arrives in New York for what will be a contentious session of the United Nations General Assembly. Also in New York is Cuba's leader, Fidel Castro, who had arrived the day before.
-- Footage of Khrushchev and Castro arriving in New York: @

* Tuesday, September 20: The General Assembly opens. Khrushchev and Castro meet for the first time. Afterward, Khrushchev likens Castro to "a young horse that hasn't been broken. He needs some training, but he's very spirited, so we'll have to be careful."
-- Footage of Khrushchev-Castro meeting: @

* Thursday, September 22: U.S. President Eisenhower expresses strong support for the U.N.'s role, particularly its peacekeeping activities in Africa. He also asks: "Will outer space be preserved for peaceful use and developed for the benefit of all mankind? Or will it become another focus for the arms race -- and thus an area of dangerous and sterile competition?"
-- Speech: Summary @ and text @

* Friday, September 23: Speaking for nearly two and a half hours, Khrushchev accuses the West of continuing to seek colonial rule in Africa. He also says the secretary-general's post should be abolished in favor of a three-person committee representing Communist, West and neutralist blocs. After Khrushchev's speech, a New York antiques dealer presents him with an American Indian peace pipe, saying "may the leaders of our two great powers, the USSR and the USA, see in this pipe a new age ... may you and the heads of other states symbolically smoke it together." (Click here for larger view.)
-- Portion of speech: @

* Monday, September 26: Castro speaks for more than four hours. He begins his speech by saying, "Although it has been said of us that we speak at great length, you may rest assured that we shall endeavor to be brief ..."
-- Text of speech: @ and @ (printed version)

* Thursday, September 29: Khrushchev interrupts a speech by British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan, pounding on his desk with his fists and shouting, "You send your planes over our territory, you are guilty of aggression!"
-- BBC summary: @
-- Life magazine coverage: @
-- Footage: @

* Monday, October 3: Khrushchev repeats his call for the removal of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, who replies that by doing so he would "throw the organization to the winds."
-- Footage: @

* Sunday, October 9: Khrushchev is interviewed on the "Open End" TV program, hosted by David Susskind. The interview turns contentious, with Khrushchev at one point threatening to walk off the set. The most memorable exchange:

Khrushchev: ... Our land is sacred and sovereign, and it's only the peoples of the Soviet Union themselves that have the right to govern their land, and administer their affairs. ... Why should you try to poke your nose into our garden? Have you not enough things to do in your own country?
Susskind: You're baying at the moon. ... We believe with all our might that there are many subjugated peoples in Eastern Europe. We ask that a plebiscite be held, not in your home country, not in the Soviet Union, but in many of the countries of Eastern Europe, who are now within the Soviet orbit.
Khrushchev: Is such an expression as "baying at the moon" regarded as normal polite conversation in your country? We regard it as rude. After all, I'm old enough to be your father, and young man, it is unworthy to speak to me like this. You look pleasant enough but you do not express yourself quite courteously. I do not permit an attitude like that towards myself. I did not come here to "bark" -- I am the chairman of the Council of Ministers of the world's greatest socialist state. You will therefore please show respect for me. If you do not want to, then do not invite me for an interview. There must be courtesy, but you are accustomed to prod and knock everyone about. Ours is the kind of state which will not allow itself to be ordered about.

-- More about the near-departure: @
-- Time magazine account: @
-- Photo from interview: @

* Wednesday, October 12: Shoe-banging incident. See separate post below.

* Thursday, October 13: After a final, failed attempt to have the U.N. condemn the United States for its U-2 spy flights, Khrushchev boards a plane and departs from New York. "We are leaving in a good mood," he says.

Other resources:
* "Khrushchev in New York" (Text of speeches, appearances): @
* "Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev": @

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