At the final reception for Poland's visiting Gomulka, stubby Nikita Khrushchev planted himself firmly with the Kremlin's whole hierarchy at his back, and faced the diplomats of the West, and the satellites, with an intemperate speech that betrayed as much as it threatened.
"We are Bolsheviks!" he declared pugnaciously. "We stick firmly to the Lenin preceptdon't be stubborn if you see you are wrong, but don't give in if you are right." "When are you right?" interjected First Deputy Premier Mikoyanand the crowd laughed. Nikita plunged on, turning to the Western diplomats. "About the capitalist states, it doesn't depend on you whether or not we exist. If you don't like us. don't accept our invitations, and don't invite us to come to see you. Whether you like it or not. history is on our side. We will bury you!"
Just the day before, ambassadors of twelve NATO nations had walked out on a Khrushchev tirade that lumped Britain, France and Israel as bandits. Now Khrushchev was off again.
The Kremlin men cheered. Gomulka laughed. Red-faced and gesticulating, Nikita rolled on: "The situation is favorable to us. If God existed, we would thank him for this. On Hungarywe had Hungary thrust upon us. We are very sorry that such a situation exists there, but the most important thing is that the counterrevolution must be shattered. They accuse us of interfering in Hungary's internal affairs. They find the most fearful words to accuse us. But when the British. French and Israelis cut the throats of the Egyptians, that is only a police action aimed at restoring order! The Western powers are trying to denigrate Nasser, although Nasser is not a Communist. Politically, he is closer to those who are waging war on him. and he has even put Communists in jail."
"He had to," offered Soviet President Kliment Voroshilov. Khrushchev turned on him and said: "Don't try to help me."
"Nasser is the hero of his nation, and our sympathies are on his side. We sent sharp letters to Britain, France and Israel well, Israel, that was just for form, because, as you know, Israel carries no weight in the world, and if it plays any role, it was just to start a fight. If Israel hadn't felt the support of Britain, France and others, the Arabs would have been able to box her ears and she would have remained at peace. I think the British and French will be wise enough to withdraw their forces, and then Egypt will emerge stronger than ever."
Turning again to the Westerners, Khrushchev declared: "You say we want war, but you have now got yourselves into a position I would call idiotic" ("Let's say delicate," offered Mikoyan) "but we don't want to profit by it. If you withdraw your troops from Germany, France and Britain I'm speaking of American troopswe will not stay one day in Poland. Hungary and Rumania." His voice was scornful as he added: "But we, Mister Capitalists, we are beginning to understand your methods."
By this time, the diplomatswho, in turn, have come to understand Mister Khrushchev's methodshad already left the room.