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Saturday, September 23, 2006

September 23, 1960: Khrushchev Attacks UN, Non-Alligned Form Bloc, JFK Strikes Back, FDR's Secretary of State Backs Nixon

In a two and one-half-hour speech at the United Nations Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev attached the institution and its secretary general, called for immediately dissolving all colonial governments and accused the West of standing in the way of disarmament. He said the UN should be reorganized based on alliances. He also said the UN should move out of New York.

Secretary of State Christian Herter described Khrushchev's speech as "an all-out attack, a real declaration of war against the ... United Nations."

Non-alligned nations made progress today in organizing themselves into a neutralist bloc at the UN with Yougoslavia's Marshall Tito suggesting that India's Jawaharlal Nehru take the lead.

President Eisenhower's speech to the UN on the 22nd was described in the lead editorial of today's New York Times as a challenge to the Soviet Union to "work for a true world community," the paper said. Eisenhower, speaking to "the largest international galaxy of leaders ever assembled ... called for an immediate conference on steps toward general and complete disarmament under effective control, for a controlled end of the production of fissionable material for nuclear weapons as a step toward their elimination and for United Nations surveillance to prevent surprise attack."

The Democratic nominee for president, Sen. John F. Kennedy, said today that his Republican opponent, Vice President Richard Nixon, was "selling America short" and "peddling complacency." Kennedy, campaigning in Denver, was responding to Nixon's charge that the senator advocated concessions to the Soviets that "would serve not the cause of freedom but would work toward the cause of surrender." Kennedy also said, "It is those who are satisfied with things as they are -- those who think we have reached our limit -- those who are afraid to ask the American people for greater effort and sacrifice, who are in reality selling America short."

Sen. Kennedy's running mate, Sen. Lyndon Johnson, accused Nixon of questioning "the motives and patriotism of an opponent." Nixon, he said, was using "a completely false premise as to whether someone is or is not soft or naive on communism or whether someone is or is not a patriot."

A member of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Cabinet said he supported Richard Nixon for president, according to news reports on this day in 1960. James Byrnes, FDR's secretary of state, said "the presidency is not a place for an immature or impetuous man."