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1960: Khrushchev anger erupts at UN

The Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev has disrupted a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly with several angry outbursts.

Twice he pounded his desk and twice he shouted interruptions to show his disapproval at the way UN forces have intervened in the recent trouble in former Belgian Congo.

Mr Khrushchev is calling for the UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold to be replaced by a three-man executive representing the western, Soviet and neutral camps.

His interruptions came during a speech by British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, who expressed total confidence in Mr Hammarskjold's "energy, resourcefulness and above all integrity".

Military force

While most of the Assembly applauded his sentiments, Mr Khrushchev pounded the table with both fists.

When Mr Macmillan referred to the recent four-power summit in Paris, which was called off after a US spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union, Mr Khrushchev began shouting in Russian and waving his forefinger.

His words were translated as: "Don't send U2s. You were supporting aggression."

Another more violent interruption came when Mr Macmillan moved on to the subject of inspection and control of disarmament.

The prime minister said he understood Soviet concerns that inspection and control of arms could be a cover for espionage.

At this point, Mr Khrushchev stood up and waved his hand and shouted: "You accept my disarmament proposals and I'll accept any controls."

During last Friday's session of the General Assembly, Mr Khrushchev accused the UN of siding with the so-called colonial powers.

He is angry at the UN's refusal to use military force in newly independent Congo, which appears to be on the brink of civil war. Instead, a UN peacekeeping force has been deployed with orders not to intervene to influence the outcome of the conflict.

In Context
On 3 October, Nikita Khrushchev demanded the resignation of Dag Hammarskjold, accusing him of acting on behalf of the colonial powers and therefore not fit to represent all nations of the UN.

A week later Mr Khrushchev caused uproar when he famously used his shoe to bang on the desk after the Philippine delegate accused the USSR of imperialism in Eastern Europe.

The UN Secretary General was later killed during a visit to Congo in September 1961.

He was on his way by plane to negotiate a peaceful settlement between Congo and Katanga when the aircraft exploded.

There are various theories as to why the plane crashed and sabotage has still not been ruled out.

He was posthumously awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1961.


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