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Friday, September 22, 2006

September 22, 1960: Comity at UN, Girl Caught in Cuba Brawl Dies, Poets Support the Revolution, NY Times says Soviets Won't Risk Atomic War Over Cuba

The Cold War seemed to thaw a bit on this day in 1960 as President Eisenhower's speech to the United Nations calling for negotiation and cooperation by all nations to resolve the world's pressing problems was greeted by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev as "conciliatory" and he hinted that he would like to meet with Eisenhower. Many neutral nations in Asia, Africa and elsewhere viewed Eisenhower's address as constructive.

Premier Fidel Castro of Cuba refrained from commenting on the speech to avoid worsening relations with the United States. Also at the United Nations, President Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia urged action on disarmament, citing the risk of a continued build-up. Despite the conciliatory atmosphere at the United Nations today, Tito, members of the Cuban delegation, and all representatives of Soviet block nations refrained from applause when Eisenhower finished his address.

The nine-year-old girl who was shot at a West Side restaurant in New York yesterday in a dispute between friends and foes of the Cuban government died today of her wounds. Castro called the death "sad."

The Fair Play for Cuba Committee held a reception today at the Theresa Hotel in Harlem where the Cuban delegation is staying. Guests included Langston Hughes, Columba University Professor C. Wright Mills, Allen Ginsberg and Henri Cartier-Bresson. The committee supports the Castro Government. Two of its members said today they had been dismissed from their jobs as writers with WCBS radio because of their involvement with the group.

"The photograph of Premier Khrushchev embracing Premier Castro at the United Nations ... will doubtless become famous. One can read into it all kinds of symbolisms, not least being that a bear hug can be lethal," The New York Times wrote in an editorial on this day in 1960 of the picture taken earlier this week.

"The problem that worried the United States ... most when it was discussed at the San Jose meeting of the Organization of American States was ... Khrushchev's threat to use nuclear missiles against the United States if the Americans invaded Cuba. ... The Russians knew that the Americans had no intention of invading Cuba and the Americans knew that the Soviet Union was not going to get involved in a nuclear war just for the sake of Cuba. The importance of the move lay in the fact that it was a challenge to the military domination of the United States in the Western Hemisphere ...

"When the Cubans accepted the supposed shield of Russian nuclear missiles, they may have been thinking in terms of protecting Cuba and the Cuban revolution. The stakes are much higher. It is thoughts like these that press upon Americans when they see photographs of Nikita Khrushchev and Fidel Castro embracing. They make us feel the chill wind of the cold war right here in Manhattan."