A Revolutionary Idea

Nikita Khrushchev was a satisfied man as he boarded his TU-114 aircraft at Andrews Air Force Base on the evening of September 27, 1959 and prepared for the long flight back to Moscow.  His first visit, the first of any Soviet Premier to the United States, was by his judgment an enormous success.

Khrushchev had visited factories and farms and met with union groups across the country.  He’d gotten to explain the “Soviet way” through first person contact.  His regard for President Eisenhower had grown and he genuinely felt that real progress was made between the two superpowers, that a détente was possible over the issue of a divided Germany, and that the two nations could work together to build a future free of mistrust and enmity.  Unfortunately, a series of dangerous international gaffes over the next few years would put an end to such hopefulness, but for a short time, the future was indeed rosy.

It hadn’t been perfect though.  The incendiary speech by Mayor Norris Poulson that greeted him upon his arrival in Los Angeles nearly had him flying back home.  Luckily, Hollywood’s finest stepped up and smoothed things over.  His children especially enjoyed the dinner with Kirk Douglas, Frank Sinatra, Gary Cooper, Marylyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor.
As the plane taxied to the runway, Khrushchev pulled a paper from his breast pocket and called his Chief of Staff over to him.
“Ivan, when we get back to the Kremlin, have your people begin working on this immediately.”
Ivan glanced at the paper and remarked, “Very interesting…”

Of all the modern ideas that he could have taken note of on his historic trip, Nikita Khrushchev was especially impressed by the IBM factory he visited in San Jose, but not by the computing machines.

“…a self-service cafeteria!  How efficient!”

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