September 19, 1959 - Khrushchev Denied Access to Disneyland
By: Via Crowley – Ms. Sotiropoulos
On September 15, 1959, Nikita Khrushchev arrived in the United States, becoming the first Soviet premier to do so. As he had expressed interest in several international meetings to see America, he was eventually extended an invitation by president Dwight E. Eisenhower. Khrushchev wanted to visit six other states following his arrival in the capital, a national tour in which both leaders hoped would ease tensions in the height of the Cold War. Khrushchev made this desire particularly clear in his short speech given subsequent to his landing, stating that “We have come to you with an open heart and with good intentions. The Soviet people want to live in peace and friendship with the American people.”
Following his tours of Washington D.C. and New York City and brief visit to Eleanor Roosevelt, Khrushchev and his entourage moved on to Los Angeles, where he was greeting with a luncheon hosted by 20th Century Fox with many stars in attendance such as Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra. During this meal, he is alerted that his anticipated trip to Disneyland had been cancelled because the Los Angeles police chief could not guarantee his safety. A very angered Khrushchev ended his luncheon speech with a burst if irritation: “Do you have rocket launching pads there? …What is it? Is there an epidemic of cholera or plague there? Or have gangsters taken hold of the place that can destroy me? And I say I would very much like to go and see Disneyland. For me such a situation is inconceivable.”
Khrushchev then departed to San Francisco, various parts of Iowa, Pittsburg, and eventually back to D.C. Although Khrushchev and Eisenhower did not reach any solid decisions concerning any issues between them, especially disarmament, but both agreed they better understood each other at the end of the trip.