166. Editorial Note

On September 1, the Soviet Government officially announced that Chairman Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev would head the Soviet Delegation to the 15th Session of the U.N. General Assembly opening in New York on September 20. For text of the brief Soviet announcement, see The New York Times, September 2, 1960. Documentation on U.S. participation in the 15th Session is printed in volume XI, pages 305 ff.

The prospect of Khrushchev’s appearance at the General Assembly prompted discussion in the Eisenhower administration on the President’s participation there as well. In a memorandum to Eisenhower, September 2, Secretary of State Herter wrote that Khrushchev had also “written Nehru a letter urging him to come and the Soviets are undoubtedly trying to line up other heads of state and government.” Herter advised that the President authorize the Department of State to instruct U.S. Missions to inform local governments that Eisenhower would not participate in the work of the General Assembly or be there while Khrushchev was, would not address the General Assembly during the opening general debate, and had not yet made a firm decision to appear there. Eisenhower initialed Herter’s memorandum. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Dulles-Herter Series) This memorandum is printed in volume XI, page 305. Instructions conveying these Presidential decisions were transmitted in circular telegram 341 to all diplomatic posts, September 2. (Department of State, Central Files, 320/9–260)

In the following weeks, the United States and Soviet Union exchanged statements and aides-memoire on security arrangements and administrative matters relating to Khrushchev’s visit. The text of a Soviet note, September 6, requesting protection arrangements for Khrushchev was transmitted in telegram 599 from USUN, September 7. (Ibid., 320/9–760) A similar Soviet request to Dag Hammarskjold, U.N. Secretary-General, September 6, was transmitted in telegram 600 from USUN, September 7. ( Ibid .) For text of the September 9 U.S. aide-memoire, which among other things restricted Khrushchev’s travel to Manhattan Island in New York, and a September 10 Department of State statement on these restrictions, see Department of State Bulletin, October 3, 1960, pages 521–522. For text of the September 13 Soviet communication charging that the U.S. travel restrictions were unprecedented in the history of the United Nations and could not be considered “other than as an unfriendly act toward the U.S.S.R.,” and the U.S. reply of September 13, see ibid., pages 522–523.

[Page 557]

A similar Soviet communication to Hammarskjold, September 13, and Hammarskjold’s September 15 letter to James J. Wadsworth, U.S. Representative at the United Nations, urging some relaxation on the restrictions imposed on Khrushchev and mentioning in particular a lifting of the ban on Khrushchev’s visiting or staying at the Soviet residence in Glen Cove, Long Island, were transmitted in telegram 698 from USUN September 15. (Department of State, Central Files, 320/9–1560) A September 16 Soviet note replying to the September 13 U.S. note is attached to a memorandum of a conversation between Foy D. Kohler, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, and Georgi M. Kornienko, Counselor of the Soviet Embassy. ( Ibid ., 320/9–1660) Guidance to U.S. Missions on the travel restriction of Khrushchev to Manhattan was transmitted in circular telegram 418 to all diplomatic posts, September 16. (Ibid., 320/9–1660). The memorandum of conversation and circular telegram 418 are printed in volume XI, pages 324327.

For text of Eisenhower’s statement, September 17, urging “the traditional dignity and cooperation of our people” in the face of “an extremely difficult security problem” arising from “the forthcoming attendance at the United Nations General Assembly of nearly a score of Chiefs of State or Heads of Government, several of whom have been bitterly antagonistic to the United States,” see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960–61, page 702.

Another Soviet note delivered to the Department of State on the evening of September 17 protested the “campaign of hostile anti-Soviet public acts” being planned for Khrushchev’s arrival in the United States. For text, see volume XI, pages 328329. It was transmitted in telegram 427 to USUN, September 17. (Department of State, Central Files, 320/9–1760) The text of the U.S. reply to Hammarskjold’s September 15 letter was transmitted in telegram 431 to USUN, September 18. While not included in the text of the reply, instructions in the same telegram said that the Department of State was willing to convey orally to Hammarskjold when he was given the letter that the United States would consider a request for a specific visit by Khrushchev to Glen Gove, such as a weekend, if the Soviet Delegation made the request at least 48 hours in advance. ( Ibid ., 320/9–1560)

Meanwhile, in a telephone conversation with Secretary Herter on September 8, Goodpaster said that President Eisenhower had reconsidered his earlier decision to stay away from the General Assembly and now thought he should make the first speech there. He wanted to make the speech even if Khrushchev was present and then leave without meeting with him. Goodpaster indicated that Eisenhower’s administrative assistant Malcolm C. Moos and C.D. Jackson, Vice President of Time Inc. and a frequent consultant to the President, as well as James Shepley from Vice President Nixon’s office were already working on a draft of [Page 558] Eisenhower’s speech, which would not be “a polemic against Khrushchev but it would be constructive and positive in tone.” The main thrust of the speech “would be to come up with proposals in a constructive way on how to put the world on a better footing.” Herter remarked that while there was a lot to be said in favor of a speech by the President, opinion in the Department of State was divided on it, and he believed the President should not make the speech. (Eisenhower Library, Herter Papers, Telephone Conversations)

Khrushchev arrived in New York on the Soviet ship Baltika on September 20. For text of his arrival statement in which he emphasized disarmament and challenged Eisenhower to join him in U.N. summit talks, see The New York Times, September 20, 1960.

Eisenhower decided to go ahead with his speech and addressed the General Assembly on September 22. For text of his speech, which stressed non-interference in Africa, especially during the Congo crisis, the Food for Peace program, outer space, arms control, and peaceful change in the developing world, and touched on “several immediate problems,” such as the RB–47 incident, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960–61, pages 707–720.

On the next day, September 23, Khrushchev delivered a long speech, which demanded among other things the ouster of Secretary-General Hammarskjold and suggested his replacement by a three-man body representing the West, Soviet bloc, and neutral nations. He also suggested the United Nations leave New York, promoted disarmament and “peaceful coexistence,” and reiterated Soviet charges of overflights of Soviet territory by U.S. aircraft. For text of Khrushchev’s speech, see U.N. doc. A/PV.869 or The New York Times, September 24, 1960. Khrushchev spent the weekend of September 24–25 at Glen Cove.

On September 30, President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India, President Sukarno of Indonesia, President Abdul Gamal Nassar of the United Arab Republic, and President Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia sent a letter and a joint draft resolution, both dated September 29, to the President of the General Assembly requesting “as a first urgent step” toward easing the current world tension a renewal of the recently disrupted contacts between Eisenhower and Khrushchev “so that their declared willingness to find solutions to outstanding problems by negotiation may be progressively implemented.” For texts of the letter and draft resolution, see volume XI, pages 370371.

In another speech to the General Assembly on October 1, Khrushchev attacked the United States and its allies and charged that only the admission of Communist China to the United Nations could avert the danger of nuclear war. For text of Khrushchev’s speech as well as statements by Representative Wadsworth on the same day, see U.N. doc. [Page 559] A/PV.881 or The New York Times, October 2, 1960. Following his speech, Khrushchev went to Glen Cove for the weekend of October 1–2.

For text of Eisenhower’s October 2 letter rejecting the plea of Nkrumah, Nehru, Sukarno, Nasser, and Tito for a meeting with Khrushchev, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960–61, pages 742–744. For text of Khrushchev’s reply of October 3 requiring U.S. condemnation of its “unprecedented treacherous acts” before agreeing to resume talks with Eisenhower, see The New York Times, October 4, 1960.

For texts of Khrushchev’s speech to the General Assembly on October 3 renewing his attack on Hammarskjold and the Secretary-General’s response that same afternoon, see U.N. doc. A/PV.882 or The New York Times, October 4, 1960. Khrushchev visited Glen Cove again October 8–9 before addressing the General Assembly on disarmament on October 11 and on colonialism on October 12. For texts of his and Wadsworth’s October 11 and 12 speeches, see U.N. docs. A/PV.900 and A/PV.901. Extracts were printed in The New York Times, October 11 and 12, 1960. Khrushchev left New York on the evening of October 13 to return to the Soviet Union.

Eisenhower’s recollections of his and Khrushchev’s visits to the U.N. General Assembly are in Waging Peace, pages 576–589. Khrushchev’s recollections are in Khrushchev Remembers: The Last Testament, pages 462–486.

Documentation on the visits of Khrushchev and Eisenhower to the 15th Session of the U.N. General Assembly is in Department of State, Central Files 033.6111, 320.611.61, and 761.13. Some documentation is also in the Eisenhower Library in the following files: Whitman File, Dulles-Herter Series; Whitman File, International Series; Whitman File, DDE Diaries; and Herter Papers, Telephone Conversations.