In a long interview with visiting American attorney Marshall MacDuffie, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev adopts a friendly attitude toward the United States and indicates that he believes President Dwight Eisenhower is sincere in his desire for peace. The interview was the precursor to Khrushchev’s announcement later that same year that he wanted “peaceful coexistence” between the United States and the Soviet Union.
MacDuffie, a long-time acquaintance of the Soviet leader and a proponent of closer relations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, spent three hours conducting the interview. During the discussion, Khrushchev indicated that it was his desire that “We should have disarmament and we should think how to avoid a new war.” He was critical of some U.S. officials that he accused of making belligerent statements towards the Soviet Union, but he was also quick to point out that he did not hold Eisenhower responsible for those statements. In fact, the Soviet leader praised the president’s leadership, and apparently hoped that Eisenhower might negotiate seriously on a number of issues.
Later that year, Khrushchev announced that the goal of the Soviet Union was “peaceful coexistence” with the United States. Eisenhower and his secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, were cautiously optimistic about this new Soviet approach—an American response that was markedly different from the pessimistic vigilance assumed during the harsh confrontational Stalin era. Later in the year, however, much of the new optimism was shattered when Soviet troops brutally suppressed revolts in Hungary, as any talk of striving for peace was overshadowed by that use of armed force.