SEPTEMBER 22, 1959
NEW YORK—I feel a little sad that because of security reasons Premier Nikita Khrushchev was not allowed to visit Disneyland in California. I realize that that particular place is a difficult place to guard anyone, but I hate to see us give him the feeling of incompetence on our part, which he certainly must have.
We hurry him so; we allow no time for the usual things that visitors like to do.
Take, for instance, his visit to Hyde Park. If he had been given one extra day in New York, he could have driven up into New York State at a reasonable hour and performed what he considered his duty "to pay his respects to a great man."
He told me this visit was not for pleasure, that he felt it was his duty to come because without U.S. help during the war Stalingrad might have fallen, and that the Russians felt my husband understood Soviet needs and aspirations.
We might have given him a little pleasure if we had allowed him to have a quiet and peaceful lunch, to look around a little and see our countryside and how our people live, and to drive back to New York leisurely.
Even men like to shop, and neither he nor the ladies of his party have been allowed much time at all to see if there is anything here they would like to take home. I know from experience I like to shop in any country I visit, for I like to take home things that will remind me of what I have seen.
Instead of one leisurely day of this kind, he had on his mind an afternoon speech at the United Nations and I doubt if he returned in time to New York to have any lunch. This is not conducive to good temper!
The photographs in our metropolitan newspapers on Monday of his greeting the people at a train stop and the story that he walked away from guards at the hotel and mingled with some of the people are indicative of the fact that he wants personal contacts. And I feel these contacts are important for him.
He must be made to feel before he leaves that we are sure enough of our people not to be afraid to have him meet with them and talk with them, even though we disagree with his beliefs. We still think of him as a human being, and we should be willing to try to find ways of living together in spite of the different points of view which we hold on many subjects.
Only time will tell us how strong we are. I have great faith in the things we believe in, and I think we can prove our strength. We cannot prove it by refusing to have ordinary contacts with another human being. Even Christ reasoned with his adversaries. It is our security in our spiritual beliefs which gives us our strength.