DIPLOMACY: The Education of Mr. K.

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Mandate. Before Khrushchev left, Pennsylvania's Democratic Governor David Lawrence reminded him at a dinner that both parties stand firmly behind President Eisenhower. From Khrushchev came a response that made it clear that he was growing alert to U.S. nuances. Said he: "I want to interpret your words [not as a threat but] as a mandate of your confidence and your love to the President, and for that I take heart . . . Our Soviet government has the support of the people. Before I left, the same thing was said to me: 'Khrushchev, go to America, strive for peace, but stand firmly on your own two feet.' "

Late that afternoon Khrushchev & Co. flew back into Washington worn and rumpled. Under Secretary of State Robert Murphy led the proper but perfunctory greeting party. Crowds waved amiably—this time at a familiar figure—as K.'s limousine swept him back to Blair House. Within an hour he was showered and dressed for a reception at the Soviet embassy, then headed off to a private dinner with two dozen businessmen to sound the old brassy warning that U.S. willingness to disarm and trade would prove whether the U.S. wanted war or peace.

But at trip's end, even the suggestive threat had a mellow note. In some strange way—some way that had nothing to do with issues of substance or policy—Nikita Khrushchev and the U.S. had come to a grudging mutual acknowledgment that each party was standing firmly on his own two feet, and not likely to be easily shaken in basic underpinnings.

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