“The Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes”
On this day, May 24, 1972, President Nixon and Soviet Chairman Alexei Kosygin signed the Agreement Concerning Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes.
This culminated in the 1975 linking of an Apollo spacecraft with a Soyuz command module.
You can see this original document now at the National Archives in Washington D.C.
In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s an entertaining letter from JFK’s mother, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, to President Kennedy.
In 1962, Rose Kennedy wrote to Soviet Premier Khrushchev asking for an autographed photo. Learning that his mother had reached out to the Soviet Premier, JFK wrote her this letter asking her to please check with him before she took it upon herself to correspond with heads of state as requests like hers are “subject to interpretations.” The timing is interesting, considering JFK wrote back to Rose almost immediately after the Cuban Missile Crisis.
In response to this letter, Rose Kennedy wrote back, saying: “I understand very well your letter, although I had not thought of it before. …When I ask for Castro’s autograph, I will let you know in advance!”
From the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Papers/JFK Library
On April 17, 1961, 1400 Cuban exiles launched what became a botched invasion at the Bay of Pigs on the south coast of Cuba.
The Cuban-exile invasion force, known as Brigade 2506, landed at beaches along the Bay of Pigs and immediately came under heavy fire.
Cuban planes strafed the invaders, sank two escort ships, and destroyed half of the exile’s air support. Bad weather hampered the ground force, which had to work with soggy equipment and insufficient ammunition. Read More
The declassified Top Secret pages shown here are from the Cuba Security Folder, 1961. It contains material collected by the office of President John F. Kennedy’s secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, concerning Cuba. All 124 pages can be viewed in the digital archive from the JFK Library.
Dave Brubeck and the Moscow Summit
We were sad to learn of the passing of Dave Brubeck, who died yesterday. He would have celebrated his 92nd birthday today.
In honor of the jazz maverick, and his efforts as an ambassador of music for the U.S. State Department, here’s a photo of Brubeck performing for Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev during the Moscow Summit of 1988.
“During ‘Take Five,’ observers noticed that Gorbachev was tapping his fingers along with the music.
“’I can’t understand Russian,’” Mr. Brubeck said at the time, “’but I can understand body language.’”
The Moscow Summit marked a thaw in the Cold War, and the day after Brubeck’s performance, President Reagan and Secretary Gorbachev would sign the INF treaty ratification at the Grand Kremlin.
Photo: Dave Brubeck performing for President Reagan, Nancy Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev and Raisa Gorbachev at Spaso House, Moscow. 5/31/88.
This morning, our new exhibit opens to the public. “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis” covers the 13 days when the world teetered on the brink of thermonuclear war.
Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev ordered a secret deployment of a nuclear strike force in Cuba, just 90 miles from the United States—with missiles that could reach most major U.S. cities in less than five minutes. President Kennedy stated that the missiles would not be tolerated, and insisted on their removal. Khrushchev refused.
Now, 50 years later, curators at the Kennedy Library and designers from the National Archives have created an exhibit where you can listen to secret real-time White House recordings from Kennedy’s meetings with his advisors during the 13 terrifying days in October 1962.
Do you remember the Cuban Missile Crisis?
Image: Medium Range Ballistic Missile Field Launch Site in San Cristobal, Cuba, taken October, 14, 1962. From the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Learn more about the JFK Library here: http://go.usa.gov/Y8f9
In May of 1947, the House Un-american Activities Committee (HUAC) held a series of closed-door hearings to investigate communist influence in Hollywood, which led to the famous Hollywood Ten investigation. This document was created on September 21, 1948, almost a year after the Hollywood Ten investigation began. The document illustrates the committee’s belief that communist persuasion continued to infiltrate the industry, thus continued monitoring of Hollywood was necessary. It also suggests that the Hollywood Ten investigation did not prevent the creation of “un-American” movies.
Communist Techniques in Hollywood, 9/21/1948, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives
September 12, 1962 — President John F. Kennedy speaks at Rice University Stadium, Houston, Texas, concerning the nation’s efforts in space exploration. In his speech the President discusses the necessity for the United States to become an international leader in space exploration and famously states, “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”