20. Editorial Note

On July 17, in response to a Congressional Joint Resolution, President Eisenhower issued Proclamation 3303 designating the third week in July as “Captive Nations Week.” The proclamation concludes:

“I invite the people of the United States of America to observe such week with appropriate ceremonies and activities, and I urge them to study the plight of the Soviet-dominated nations and to recommit themselves to the support of the just aspirations of the peoples of those captive nations.”

The proclamation is printed in Department of State Bulletin, August 10, 1959, page 200.

In his memoirs, President Eisenhower recalled that he had been sympathetic to the Congressional resolution, but would have delayed its passage for some days. On July 21, Soviet Chairman Nikita S. Khrushchev criticized the proclamation and expressed doubts whether Vice President Richard M. Nixon should continue with his plans to visit the Soviet Union. Eisenhower recalled that this did not discourage the Vice President, who told the President that although he recognized the difficulties inherent in making the trip, he was “optimistic and even eager” to go. (Eisenhower, Waging Peace, page 408). For documentation on Vice President Nixon’s visit, see Documents 92107.

The Captive Nations Week Proclamation also came up at the President’s press conference on July 22. A transcript is in Public Papers of the President of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959, pages 536–546.