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Monday, September 25, 2006

September 25, 1960: The US-Cuba Split, 'Fateful' Week at UN, Cuban Hotel Switch Staged, the 'Old Nixon', Computer Sales Rise

This day in 1960 was a Sunday, and the New York Times ran numerous stories analyzing issues stemming from the week's events at the United Nations.

Under the headline, "U.S. and Castro; Washington Sees Little Hope for An Improvement in Relations," R.W. Kenworthy cites President Eisenhower's refusal to "break bread with Fidel Castro" as symbolic of the U.S. attitude toward the Island nation. The snub stems not from the many accusations and insults Cuban officials "heaped" upon the United States -- "They [the U.S.] would like to crush our people under foot and massacre them," Ernesto Che Guevara is quoted as saying -- but from the conviction in Washington "that Cuban foreign policy, if not actually subject to orders of the Soviet foreign ministry, is certainly being coordinated with Soviet 'cold war' directives."

Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's literal and public embrace of Castro this past week just helped drive home the point, Kenworthy writes of the Soviet-Cuban "love fest," which included "Khrushchev's echoing of Dr. Castro's charges that Cuba was the object of 'attacks, intrigues, subversion, economic aggression, and poorly concealed threats of intervention' by the United States."

In The News of the Week in Review, an unsigned piece calls the UN session "a fateful new encounter in the cold war." Dashing hopes raised by President Eisenhower's concilliatory speech, Khrushchev "engaged in a massive propaganda offensive against the West in the struggle for world opinion...." The Soviet leader's address is described as having "raked over all the issues of the cold war, heaped abuse on President Eisenhower and the United States, virtually called for a revolt against the Western powers in the remaining colonial areas, and delivered a sweeping attack on the UN and its Secretary General."

The article reports that when Castro "and his bearded aides" moved with much fanfare from the Shelburne Hotel early in the week, where they said they'd been overcharged, and took rooms at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem, they were carrying out a pre-arranged plan. "It turned out that the Cubans' move to the Theresa had been arranged before the furor at the Shelburne began, and also that they were paying more at the Theresa than at the Shelburne. But at the Theresa they could demonstrate Cuban support for the colored peoples."

With the fall presidential campaign in full swing this past week, Russell Baker writes that Vice President Richard Nixon had put John F. Kennedy on the defensive by playing up his greater foreign policy experience, suggesting that the senator's "terribly naive" attitude about the Soviet Union would lead the U.S. "down the road to surrender." But Baker notes that in so doing Nixon raised the specter the vice president has tried to avoid of "'the old Nixon' [who] is the cut-and-thrust campaigner of 1950-54, the man who conducted the 'pink slip' campaign against Mrs. Helen Gahagan Douglas, the Republican who is supposed to have called former President Truman a 'traitor.'"

In business news, this brief item: The Radio Corporation of America's electronic data processing systems business increased its sales 200 percent from the previous year.