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False claim: Nikita Khrushchev 1959 quote to the United Nations General Assembly

A viral post on social media falsely attributes a lengthy quote predicting the adoption of communism and the gradual creation of a “socialist state” in the U.S. to former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev on September 29, 1959.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

The post makes the claim that Khrushchev, speaking before the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, told Americans that the Soviet Union would feed “small doses of socialism until you will finally wake up and find you already have Communism” (examples here , here , here ). It makes the further claim that Khrushchev delivered his prediction for America while banging his shoe on the podium.

The post then outlines the “eight levels of control” necessary for the creation of a “socialist state”. The claim, however, contains inaccurate facts and other misleading information.

KHRUSCHEV IN THE U.S.

Khrushchev embarked on a 12-day trip to the U.S. on September 15, 1959, on an invitation from U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower ( here ).

On September 18, 1959, Khrushchev addressed the UN General Assembly. An unofficial transcript of this speech by the New York Times shows no evidence Khrushchev made the remarks attributed to him on social media ( here , here ). In the address, Khrushchev called for a gradual disarmament and an end to the Cold War. Nowhere does he outline a plan to introduce socialism to the U.S. by a piecemeal strategy.

Multiple sources can confirm that Khrushchev’s visit to the U.S. concluded on September 27 of that year, which means that he could not have addressed the UN General Assembly on September 29, 1959, as alleged in the post on social media ( here ).

On September 23, 1960, in another address before the UN, Khrushchev alluded to the replacement of capitalism by socialism in the context of contemporary colonial struggles ( here ).

The full quote is as follows: “It should be clear to everyone that there is no means and no force which can halt this struggle of the peoples for their liberation, for it’s a great historic process, one of ever-growing and invincible power. It may be possible to prolong the dominion of one state over another for a year or two, but just as in the past the bourgeois order of things came to replace feudalism and as, now, socialism is replacing capitalism, so colonial slavery is giving place to freedom. Such are the rules of human development, and only adventurers can believe that mountains of corpses and millions of victims will delay the advent of a radiant future.”

THE SHOE-BANGING INCIDENT

A shoe-banging incident the post refers to did occur, but in October 1960 not September 1959, and under different circumstances than the ones described.

A New York Times report confirms that on October 12, 1960, Khrushchev “bangs his shoe on his desk” at the UN, apparently angered by a statement by Lorenzo Sumulong, a member of the Philippine delegation, who in a debate said that Eastern Europe had been “deprived of political and civil right” due to the dominant influence in the region by the Soviet Union ( here ).

Notes from the UN Library also confirm this reported incident, although the official UN record does not contain a description of it. Khrushchev was not delivering an address at the time, nor standing at the assembly podium ( ask.un.org/faq/37133 ).

Khrushchev’s remarks that day before the General Assembly criticized racial segregation in the U.S., as well as the intervention by UN forces in the Belgian Congo ( undocs.org/en/A/PV.902 ).

“WE WILL BURY YOU”

The line “we will bury you” as a threat to Polish diplomats was widely attributed to Khrushchev by the “Western press”, according to a document approved for release in 2002 by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency ( here ).

The document notes that Khrushchev was quoted making the following remarks at a final reception for the Polish politician, Władysław Gomułka, in November 1956: “If you don’t like us, don’t accept our invitations and don’t invite us to come see you. Whether you like it or not history is on our side. We will bury you.”

Over the years, Khrushchev issued a number of explanations attempting to clarify his statements. One such instance occurred while speaking to the National Press Club in Washington on September 16, 1959: “I have already said that the words ‘We will bury capitalism’ should not be taken literally, as is done by ordinary gravediggers who carry a spade and dig graves and bury the dead. What I had in mind was the outlook for the development of human society. Socialism will inevitably succeed capitalism.” ( here )

REAGAN REMARKS

In a speech by Ronald Reagan delivered before the Orange County Press Club in 1961, and entitled “Encroaching Control”, he alleged that, “Three months before his last visit to this country, Nikita Khrushchev said, ‘We can't expect the American people to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find they have Communism.’” ( here ).

It is unclear what Reagan’s source could have been for these remarks. The comments fit Regan’s anti-communist rhetoric exemplified in other speeches of the time, including a 1964 address in support of the Republican presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, where he criticizes “government handouts” and the threat of “socialized medicine” ( here ).

COMMUNIST RULES

The rules, or as the post describes them, “levels of control” necessary for socialism or communism have a lengthy and fraudulent history.

A report by the New York Times from July 10, 1970, had already debunked the use of any such list by left-wing groups. The list, the Times argued, which emphasized provisions to provoke unrest and enact gun control, was frequently distributed by what it described as “ultra-conservative” groups, right-wing publications, and reproduced by small-town newspapers and gun lobbyists ( here ).

The list included in the social media post appears to be another iteration of this manual. Reuters recently debunked a claim attributing the creation of this list to the American community activist Saul Alinsky ( here ).

CONCLUSION

In September 1959, Nikita Khrushchev visited the U.S. and spoke before the United Nations General Assembly on the need for disarmament and an end to the Cold War.

In another address before the UN in October 1960, Khrushchev criticized the intervention in the Belgian Congo by UN forces. Later, he reportedly banged his shoe on his desk, angered by the comments of another delegate of the assembly.

No evidence confirms that Khrushchev made remarks about feeding the U.S. “doses of socialism” or about the necessary steps for constructing a socialist state. Over the years, politicians and figures on the right have fraudulently circulated these “communist rules”.

VERDICT

False claim. There is no evidence that former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev made remarks about the creation of a socialist state in America to the UN General Assembly on September 29, 1959. The rules for the creation of a socialist state are also false.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .

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