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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

September 20, 1960: Khrushchev Goes to Harlem, Hugs Castro; Nixon asks for United Front; Texas Dems Reject Party Platform; JFK Vows to End Poverty

Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev went to Harlem on this day in 1960 to meet with Fidel Castro at the hotel where the Cuban leader was staying. Later in the day, Khrushchev embraced Castro in a giant bear hug on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly.

Vice President Richard Nixon, the Republican candidate for president, called on his Democratic opponent, Sen. John F. Kennedy, to avoid "statements which tend to disparage America and which in any way would encourage Chairman Khrushchev and his fellow dictators to believe that this nation, the leader of the free world, is weak of will, is indecisive, is unsure of and hesitant to use her vast power, is poorly defended, is held at bay by imperialistic Communism, is divided in opinion on world affaris, believing that the majority of mankind holds her in disdain." In a sign of unity Kennedy and all Americans should support President Eisenhower's anticipated proposals at the United Nations this week, he said.

In Texas the Democratic Convention repudiated the party's national platform. But state party leaders said they nonetheless supported Sen. Kennedy for president. The state, traditionally Democratic, went for Eisenhower and Nixon in the last two presidential elections.

In a nationally televised speech, the first of the campaign, Sen. Kennedy pledged to strengthen the nation's defenses and "wipe out poverty," if he is elected president. "This is no time to say we can out-talk Khrushchev. I want to outdo him -- to out produce him. I think we must prove to a watching world that we are the wave of the future and that the Communist system is as old as the Pharaohs."

The United Nations voted 70-0 early this morning to bar shipments of arms to the Congo from other countries. The Soviet Union, which had been sending military supplies to the war-torn country, abstained.