September 01, 2010

Khrushchev at the UN

the son of Andrei Gromyko, Soviet foreign minister from 1957-1985, recorded a conversation he had with his father about the United Nations General Assembly meeting that took place on October 12, 1960.


Can you imagine? The urbane Macmillan, the British Prime Minister, was speaking. Since this was the height of the Cold War, he was attacking us. Well, I would say this was business as usual at the UN, and all the political, diplomatic, and propagandistic tricks were being played. I was sitting and wondering how to respond to these attacks when an opportunity presented itself during the debates. Without warning, Nikita Sergeyevich, who was sitting right next to me, bent down, and at first I thought he was looking for something under the table. I even moved back so I wouldn’t be in his way. Then he suddenly pulled out his shoe and started banging it on the table. To tell the truth, my first thought was that Khrushchev wasn’t feeling well. But I instantly understood that this was our leader’s way of protesting, and he was trying to put Macmillan in an awkward situation. I became very tense and forced myself to start banging the table with my fists – after all, I had to do something to support the head of the Soviet delegation. I didn’t look at Khrushchev. I felt very uncomfortable.

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