December 7, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am #607317ItcheSrulikMember
Nikita Khrushchev’s shoe-banging incident allegedly occurred at some point in autumn, 1960 (on 23, or 29 September, or on 12, or 13 October) during the 902nd Plenary Meeting of the UN General Assembly held in New York.
Some sources claim Khruschev pounded his shoe on his delegate-desk in protest of a speech by Philippine delegate Lorenzo Sumulong. Others argue Khruschev was responding to the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.
Though all parties are in agreement that Khrushchev was enraged by both Sumulong’s and Macmillan’s speeches, and loudly denounced them, there are no photographic or video records of the incident available. There is at least one fake photographic depiction of the incident, where a shoe was added into an existing photograph.
Description of incident with Sumulong
The often used fake image of Khrushchev waving a shoe (above), and the original photo made at the United Nations General Assembly, September 23, 1960, AP archives (below)
During the meeting, head of the Filipino delegation to the United Nations Lorenzo Sumulong stated the following in reference to Soviet foreign policy:
We have been a colonized country. We have passed through all the trials and tribulations of a colonized people. It took us centuries and centuries to fight, to struggle, and to win our fight for the recognition of our independence, and, therefore, it would only be consistent with our history, our experience and our aspirations as a people that we vote in favour of having this item referred to the highest possible level of the General Assembly. While this is not the occasion to discuss the substance of the item, I would like to place on record my delegation’s view on the import as well as on the scope, the extent, the metes and bounds of this item. We feel this to be necessary in view of the statements made at the start of our meeting by the Premier of the Soviet Union. It is our view that the declaration proposed by the Soviet Union should cover the inalienable right to independence not only of the peoples and territories which yet remain under the rule of Western colonial Powers, but also of the peoples of Eastern Europe and elsewhere which have been deprived of the free exercise of their civil and political rights and which have been swallowed up, so to speak, by the Soviet Union.
 and demanded Assembly President Frederick Boland (Ireland) call Sumulong to order. Boland did caution Sumulong to “avoid wandering out into an argument which is certain to provoke further interventions”, but permitted him to continue speaking and sent Khrushchev back to his seat.
Khrushchev pounded his fists on his desk in protest as Sumulong continued to speak, and, as some sources claim, at one point picked up his shoe and banged the desk with it. Some other sources report a different order of events: Khrushchev first banged the shoe then went to the rostrum to protest. Sumulong’s speech was again interrupted. Another Point of Order was raised by the highly agitated Romanian Foreign Vice-minister Eduard Mezincescu, a member of the Eastern Bloc. Mezincescu gave his own angry denunciation of Sumulong and then turned his anger on Boland, managing to provoke, insult and ignore the Assembly President to such an extent that his microphone was eventually shut off, prompting a chorus of shouts and jeers from the Eastern Bloc delegations. The chaotic scene finally ended when Boland, crimson-faced with frustration, abruptly declared the meeting adjourned and slammed his gavel down so hard he broke it, sending the head flying.
Khrushchev’s granddaughter Nina L. Khrushcheva writes that after years of embarrassed silence her family explained their recollection of the event. According to Nina, Khrushchev was wearing new and tight shoes, so he took them off while sitting. When he started pounding the table with his fist during his angry response his watch fell off. When he was picking it up his discarded shoes caught his eye and he took the opportunity to pick one up and pound the desk with it. She also mentions that multiple versions of the incident have been in circulation, with various dates and occasions.
Nina’s account is very similar to that of Khrushchev’s long-time interpreter, Viktor Sukhodrev, who sat with Khrushchev during the event and reported his boss pounded on his delegate-desk so hard his watch stopped, which only infuriated him further and prompted the switch to the shoe.
Nikita Khrushchev in his memoirs mentioned yet another case of shoe-banging. Khrushchev wrote that he was speaking against the Franco regime in strong expressions. A representative of Spain took the floor to reply, and after his speech the delegates from Socialist countries made a lot of noise in protest. Khrushchev wrote: “Remembering reports I have read about the sessions of the State Duma in Russia, I decided to add a little more heat. I took off my shoe and pounded it on desk so that our protest would be louder.” The footnote to this text says that Khrushchev’s recollections are mistaken.
Sergei Khrushchev (Nikita’s son) stated that he could not find any photo or video evidence of the incident. Both NBC and CBC ran a search in their archives but were unable to find a tape of the event. In Sergei’s opinion it would be very unlikely that Nikita Khrushchev intentionally removed his shoe. There was little space under the desk, and the Soviet leader, being rather obese, couldn’t reach his feet.
This specific issue was addressed in 2002 by a former UN staffer, who confirmed that Khrushchev could not have spontaneously removed his shoe at his desk, but claimed he had previously lost it after a journalist stepped on it. The UN staffer then retrieved the shoe, wrapped it in a napkin and passed it back to Khrushchev, who was unable to put it back on and had to leave it on the floor next to his desk; the same staffer also confirmed she saw him later bang the shoe on the desk, thus functionally confirming the reports by Nina Khrushcheva and Viktor Sukhodrev.December 7, 2012 4:57 pm at 4:57 pm #911521I can only tryMember
-The Iraqi Journalist (I forget his name)
-Do seven-league boots count?December 7, 2012 7:14 pm at 7:14 pm #911522Torah613TorahParticipant
Can spell check be added to this site?December 8, 2012 5:29 pm at 5:29 pm #911523uneeqMember
Shoe Wielding Men.
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