50 years ago, JFK offered Soviets shot at moon


buzzaldrinapollo11In the middle of the space race, President Kennedy suggested that the Soviet Union and the United States work together on a mission to send a man to the moon, the National Journal reminds us.

Kennedy announced his proposal in a speech before the U.N. General Assembly in New York City on Sept. 20, 1963.

The president’s proposing a joint mission caught people on both sides of the Cold War by surprise.

Many Americans were outraged at the idea of working with the enemy.

Andrei Gromyko, the USSR’s foreign minister who was attending the General Assembly, said Kennedy’s remarks were “a good sign” but didn’t comment directly on the invitation.

According to a 1997 interview with Nikita Khrushchev’s son, the Soviet leader decided in November to accept JFK’s proposal. A week later, Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas.

Excerpt from This Just In published in the Tribune-Review on Sept. 24. This Just In, compiled by M.S. Scully, appears in the print edition of the Trib on Tuesdays and Fridays.