COLD WAR

When Nixon Met Khrushchev

It was an unlikely location for a Cold War showdown: Vice President Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev in the model kitchen of a "typical American house" at the 1959 American exhibition in Moscow. William Safire—who worked as a press agent for the company that built the home at the time (before going on to write speeches for Nixon)—remembers the meeting in Friday's New York Times. As much as Nixon tried to be the congenial guest, Khrushchev was relentlessly abrasive and aggressive. But when talk drifted to war, Nixon suddenly firmed up, scolding the Russian leader for what he said were irresponsibly threatening remarks. In the brief moment of Nixon's superiority, a photo was snapped of him jabbing Khrushchev with his finger, definitively—and inaccurately—summing up the meeting to the public.