1959 Kitchen Debate

Kitchen Debate

(7/25/59) During a visit to the Soviet Union by US Vice President Nixon, he and Soviet Premier Khrushchev engaged in a so called "kitchen debate" on the merits of Communism and Capitalism. The debate took place at the opening of the American National Exposition in Moscow.

In 1958 a cultural agreement was signed between the Soviet Union and the United States. As part of that agreement, the two countries agreed to establish cultural exhibitions in each other's capitals. The Soviet exhibit opened in New York in June 1959, in July the American exhibition opened in Moscow. On hand on July 24 was Vice President Richard Nixon. He took Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev on a tour of the American pavilion. That pavilion covered over 30,000 and had products from 450 companies.

In the course of the visit the two men engaged in three separated debates about the superiority of either the United States or the Soviet Union. The debates centered on each country's economy and technology. Each claimed that their system produced more economic growth and better technology. Khrushchev said that it would not take the Soviets long to surpass the United States. Both sides agreed it was good that they were debating economy and technology and not military matters and both sides agreed that the debates should be broadcast on their respective television networks.

A fourth debate took place in private at the dacha of Khrushchev the next day. The discussions were considered a significant milestone in relations between the two countries, and Nixon’s performance at the debates enhanced his political standing in the United States.