The Corner

Khrushchev in America

Here’s an account of a visit to the U.S. by a mass-murderer, who was also the advocate of a crackpot ideology and an open enemy of the United States.   Amongst the highlights: being hosted by notorious appeaser Dwight Eisenhower.

The White House glittered that night for the biggest white-tie dinner of the Eisenhower Administration. Khrushchev arrived in neat black suit, white shirt and pale grey four-in-hand tie; Mrs. Khrushchev in a dark blue-green dress, with a diamond brooch her only jewelry. The Khrushchev family made a brief visit to the Eisenhower family rooms upstairs, posed with the Eisenhowers for pictures, then went down to the huge E-shaped table jammed into the White House dining room….At 7:40 a.m. next day, Khrushchev walked out onto the porch of Blair House in shirt sleeves, keynoted his second day with a friendly wave to a knot of reporters and photographers… Accompanied by Mrs. Khrushchev and daughters Julia and Rada, he sped out at 9 a.m. to the Agriculture Department’s 12,000-acre Research Station, 22 miles north of Washington at Beltsville, Md. He managed to ignore a horde of noisy photographers and listen intently to the highly technical lectures, e.g., plant response to varying lights. Later he was escorted outside to inspect Beltsville’s best cattle, sheep, pigs and turkeys. “If you didn’t give a turkey a passport,” he said with a grin, “you couldn’t tell the difference between a Communist and capitalist turkey.”

And then there was this:

At the opening of the question session, New York Timesman William H. Lawrence, Press Club president, crisply recounted an anecdote (“perhaps apocryphal”) and invited Khrushchev to comment. It added up to a delicate question: What was Khrushchev doing during Stalin’s blood purges? Khrushchev’s face muscles tightened and his eyes narrowed as he heard the translation. He replied: “Probably the authors of fables, including the author of this question, wanted to place me in difficulties. I shall not reply to this question, which I look upon as being provocative.” Those were the days of a more confident United States, a nation without illusions about its enemies, but a nation that not only talked about playing a long game, but played it. And no, the Eisenhower administration didn’t try to indict Khrushchev either.

Hat-tip: Campaign For America’s Future  (I know, I know, but, credit where credit’s due. You can, trust me, disregard much of the accompanying editorial).


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