21

As part of the détente between the United States and the Soviet Union, American president Richard Nixon made an 18-minute address to the Soviet people, which was broadcast on Soviet state television on May 28, 1972. New York Times journalist Hedrick Smith, writing in 1973 (The Russians, p. 605), indicated that this was one of two such public addresses by an American president. (I am not sure when the other address was made or which president gave it. Perhaps Smith was referring to the Soviet broadcast of Nixon's kitchen debate in 1959, though Nixon was not president at the time, and this was a dialogue between Nixon and Khrushchev rather than a direct address to the Soviet people generally.)

Did the Americans ever reciprocate by inviting the Soviet leadership to arrange for a public address to the American people on American television? If so, when did this broadcast (or these broadcasts, if there were more than one) occur, which leader(s) spoke, and are there any recordings available online?

  • Could you edit your question to clarify what you've looked into already, complete with links and references, and context if applicable? In particular, please let us know what you find missing or unclear about the Wikipedia entry on the topic, if one exists. This allows those who might want to answer to do so without needing to redo the work you've already done. – Mark C. Wallace Jan 14 at 12:10
  • The Kitchen Debate between VP Nixon and Soviet President Khrushchev was broadcast on all three American Networks on July 25, 1959. Doesn't that count as Soviet Leadership addressing the American People? – user27618 Jan 14 at 15:52
  • @JMS: Did you read what I wrote about the kitchen debate in my question? – Psychonaut Jan 14 at 15:57
  • @Psychonaut I did. You spoke of Nixon addressing the Soviet people the other side of that was Khrushchev addressing the US public on all three networks – user27618 Jan 14 at 17:49
26

Leonid Brezhnev addressed the American public on radio and television the 24th of June, 1973. His speech can be read here and also here. There is a clip of the speech (seemingly wrongly dated 25th of June) on YouTube. He begins with:

I highly appreciate this opportunity of directly addressing the people of the United States on my visit to your country.

"SYND 25 6 73 LEONID BREZHNEV DELIVERS STATEMENT ON US TELEVISION". Source: AP archive

Interestingly, Voice of America (VOA) Russian-language broadcasts were being jammed at the time so Brezhnev's own words during the visit were being blocked by his own jammers until, that is, his speech on the 24th. For this event, the jamming stopped two minutes before the speech began and "remained off for the duration of the speech."


Earlier, at the end of the first state visit by a Soviet leader to the US, Nikita Khrushchev had addressed the American people in a television press conference on the 27th of September, 1959. His speech can be read here. The speech began with:

I am glad of this opportunity of talking to you before leaving for my country. We liked your beautiful cities and fine roads, but most of all your amiable, kind-hearted people. And let these words of mine not be taken as the guest's customary tribute of courtesy and respect to his host

There's an audio recording of this speech here, but some of it is a statement read out by a Soviet official. However, Khrushchev's voice can be heard introducing the speech and at other points, usually with the translator talking over it.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    Thank you! Are you aware of any recordings of the TV addresses that can be viewed online? – Psychonaut Jan 14 at 13:03
  • 3
    @Psychonaut Gorbachev and Reagan made reciprocal adresses on the New Year eve 1988, and these speaches are on youtube(m.youtube.com/watch?v=TORzXd5QHXo) – jmster Jan 14 at 16:56
  • 1
    There would have been a date crossover between the US and Russia, therefore, both the 24th and 25th are likely correct, just one of them being the date in part of the US, the other being the date in part of Russia. – SEoF Jan 16 at 9:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.