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the U.S.S.R. and communism, as well as Soviet political leaders in the Free World.
It is thus natural that the impressions of Soviet visitors to the United States, as reported in the Soviet press and by Soviet literature, are mainly intended as propaganda aimed at the Soviet people. They are directed at avoiding the contribution of any evidence which might arouse in the Soviet reader admiration or envy of our way of life. They avoid particularly the mention of any favorable traits relating to the political, social, and cultural life of the United States, even while they admit economic and technical achievement. Thus, as a rule, Soviet visitors, in their reports, make every effort to present America in its darkest colors. The depressing picture which they paint is usually achieved through "misrepresentation by omission." All the unfavorable aspects of life in America are stressed, exaggerated, and multiplied. In confirmation of the accuracy of the description, the reports cite American sources critical of conditions in the United States, and unjustified and often irresponsible statements appearing in the American press. These citations serve as evidence supporting Soviet allegations. They are of tremendous importance in the Soviet Union proper where they appear more convincing to the Soviet reader than any speeches made by Communist authorities. In addition to "misrepresentation by omission," some visitors distort conditions in the United States to the extent of claiming, for example, that a police regime, striking terror into every citizen, exists in the U.S.A.
It has been observed that a relatively large number (possibly 25 percent) of the Soviet citizens visiting the United States under the exchange program after an initial trip to the United States, return to America on a second mission. Among names of repeaters obtained from reports in the press are the following: Boris Polevoi, Aleksei Adzhubei, K. Nepomnyashchii, Shevchenko, Perevodchikova, Sheveleva, and Kabalevski. The percentage among the visitors of persons who have traveled extensively in China and Western Europe is still higher. These people are apparently trained professional "tourists," whose objective is far from mere tourism.
It has further been observed that a certain percentage of visitors visiting the United States under the guise of representatives of Soviet culture are actually leading workers of Communist or Communistfront organizations. A vivid example is Nina Popova, candidate member (alternate) of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and until February 1958, board chairman of the AllUnion Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (VOKS). The compilation of the material available in the Soviet press on visits to the United States, is time consuming because no index of such material exists in the Library of Congress, and the titles of articles appearing in Soviet periodicals do not always indicate that these articles refer to a visit of the author in America. It would be neces
sary, in order to obtain a complete picture of the reaction of Soviet visitors, as presented to the Soviet reader, to follow through page by page, all the material listed in the first several paragraphs of the covering memorandum.
Excerpts and, in some cases, descriptive comments on typical published reports follow:
1. "LITSOM K LITSU S AMERIKOI"
A book deserving particular attention among the publications by Soviet visitors to the United States upon return to the Soviet Union, is "Litsom K Litsu S Amerikoi" ("Face to Face with America"), Moscow, State Publishing House for Political Literature, 1959 (1st edition, 250,000 copies). The book is devoted to Premier Khrushchev's visit to America in September 1959, and sets down the impressions of some of the persons accompanying him on the trip. These persons include A. Adzhubei (son-in-law of the Premier), listed, together with interpreter O. Troyanovski among the 12 authors of the book. Both Adzhubei and Troyanovski knew America from previous visits. The presence of Adzhubei among the authors is a factor contributing to the significance of the statements contained in "Litsom K Litsu S Amerikoi." As stated in the preface (p. 7), the book, which covers 600-some pages, was written "in tense struggle for the victory of truth and reason, for the triumph of the principles of peaceful coexistence, and of the great ideas of communism."
The size of the volume makes it impossible to examine in a brief study the entire material relating to the visitors' reaction to America. The passages selected for examination are limited therefore to excerpts describing some of the cities visited by Khrushchev and certain aspects of the American way of life. The selection was governed by a desire to give a general idea of the views on America conveyed by the authors to their Soviet readers, rather than by an intention to cite material most hostile to the United States. Many paragraphs portraying an intentionally unfavorable and acutely distorted picture of America have consequently been disregarded:
There is no capital in the West which can compare with Washington in aloofness from industry and the working class. Factory chimneys can be seen neither in the suburbs nor, particularly, in Washington as such. The central sections of the city reflect decorous calm, wealth, and prosperity. Solid homes seem to hide from alien eyes behind the exuberant vegetation of avenues and parks.
The impressive facades of government buildings, 130 hotels, four department stores, 40 "supermarkets"-stores of a market type founded on self-service-, a National Art Gallery, a Gallery of fine arts, polytechnical, historical and natural history museums, a memorial obelisk to G. Washington, memorial mausoleums to Lincoln and Jefferson, numerous monuments to generals, one hundred motion picture theaters, a covered stadium seating 9,000, racetracks, swimming pools, playgrounds, parks, all this produces an architecturally sumptuous city outline which lacks, however, human animation-the centre of Washington is empty after dark. Nor is there here a single theater of importance or relative renown. Politics are made in Washington, but by whom? The rank and file population, at any rate, is not encouraged to participate in political activity. On the contrary, the American capital is enclosed in the borders of a specific section, the District of Columbia, which forms a part of no state. The citizens residing there are deprived of franchise, they cannot even elect any city authorities. Washington is administered by three commissioners appointed by the President with the approval of the senate.
But to protect the capital of the U.S.A. from the scourge of war was easier than to isolate it from political shocks.
During the extremely severe economic crisis of 1929-33, the city became the arena of stormy events. The unemployed demonstrating on the streets of Washington organized "hunger marches." There were constant skirmishes between demonstrators and police. No trace remained of Washington's measured existence during the march upon the American capital of thousands of veterans of the first
world war who demanded payment of their pensions. Only by summoning armed forces under the command of General MacArthur, then chief of the general staff, could the demonstrators be dispersed.
After the second world war the name of the American capital was linked with the darkest pages of McCarthy persecution, as furious as it was senseless. Describing the atmosphere prevailing at the time in the United States of America, Adlai Stevenson, prominent leader of the democratic party, wrote of "flourishing libel, fear, cunning insinuations, poisoned pens, anonymous telephone calls, amateurs of rough elbow work ***".
The luxury and comfort of the North West of Washington, particularly sections in the vicinity of Rock Creek Park, are easy to explain: the annual income of a family over here is not inferior to 10 or 12 thousand dollars. The appearance of the Washington suburbs in the North East and South East is different. income of families residing in these sections does not exceed two or three thousand dollars a year, even if one accepts strictly official data. Here reside mainly Negroes-subordinate workers and petty employees. Fifty-two percent of Washington is Negro. According to the official census of 1950, it is here precisely that 27,727 houses were listed in the column of those "unsuited to normal residence" (p. 86).
Baltimore, in the state of Maryland, with a population of almost a million, is the sixth city of the United States by its size and the third port of the country in freight turnover. It has about 2,000 industrial enterprises. A local metallurgical plant owned by the "Bethlehem Steel Company" corporation employs thirty-four thousand workmen. Baltimore has a large auto assembly plant belonging to the "General Motors" corporation, the conveyor of which delivers daily 950 "Chevrolet" cars. The Baltimore inhabitants are proud of their John Hopkins university, one of the oldest institutions for higher education in the country. Alas, there is one more noteworthy sight in this city to which the inhabitants refer without the slightest enthusiasm-the sadly notorious Baltimore slums (p. 147).
Leaving Baltimore behind, the diesel-express crosses with a crashing noise the bridge over the Susquehanna, the wide deep river falling into the Chesapeake Bay, and tears along at a speed of 100 kilometers an hour over the fertile plain where farmers grow sweet corn for canning. Somewhere here, in the yellow cornfields, near the city of Elkton stands a stone obelisk which serves as conventional borderline dividing the country into the North and the South. Many bitter tragic pages in the life of the American Negroes are linked with this invisible border, the "Mason-Dixon" line. It is picturesquely described as a line of demarcation between Negro hell and Negro purgatory (p. 147).
America has long been known for its contrasts. One cannot but notice them even when getting superficially acquainted with the country. The pointed spires of the Baltimore skyscrapers, the gay elegant homes of the local rich, have just flitted past our eyes, and now, here, right next to them, come miles of stone boxes depressing in their monotony, covered with smoke, and rundown with age, under the roofs of which the city poor eke out their existence.
Let us note the brief report on N. S. Khrushchev's trip from Washington to New York which appeared on the following day in the newspaper New York Times. The author, G. (H.) Schwarz, a man not unbeknown, with an agile pen and unlimited imagination as far as anti-Soviet inventions are concerned, tried to describe in the most idyllic colors the route followed on the trip by the head of the Soviet Government. "Nature itself contributed toward making it possible for the Soviet Premier to see the United States in its most attractive aspect," he wrote. But some paragraphs down even G. (H.) Schwarz was compelled to remark in an aside: "Slums which struck the eye particularly when the train passed through Baltimore, were encountered along the way. But the rays of the sun seemed to adorn somewhat the hideous exterior of the decrepit homes with laundry hung out to dry in their back yard."
Don't harbor any delusions, Mr. Schwarz. Sunshine, however bright, can never make the depressing sight of city slums the least bit attractive. There is
no way in which you can escape the fact that millions of people lack a decent roof over their head and are compelled to live in hovels in the wealthiest country of the capitalist world, a country where not one roof in an entire century has suffered from the explosion of enemy bombs or missiles.
No one would have the temerity of suspecting the U.S.A. Democratic Party National Committee of wishing to darken colors and cast a shadow on the American way of life. Yet in a recent report it wrote in black on white that 15 million Americans live in slums, 13 million houses (one-fourth of the total number of residential buildings in the U.S.A.) cannot comply with established standards of sanitation, and 7 million city houses are unfit for residence because of complete decay. "One of every eight New York inhabitants lives in an incredibly miserable dwelling: up to ten people share one room which is alive with rats," gloomily notes the American magazine Newsweek (p. 147).
As the train approached the city of Wilmington, one of the American newspapermen suggested that we look out to see the "kingdom of the Du Pont family." Frankly speaking, it was difficult to see at first glance in the outline of this small city anything particularly noteworthy distinguishing it from other American cities. The same flat roofs over the dwellings, red brick factory and plant buildings, grey warehouses. And just as in thousands of other cities, there is in Wilmington, probably, a Main Street with the indispensable attributes of city life in America: a drugstore, a cafeteria, a movie theater, and a Woolworth store selling products of broad consumption. Recalling the books of Sinclair Lewis who portrayed with mastery the dreary, monotonous life of the American province, we thought that precisely in a city like Wilmington, an average city lacking individuality, one may find characters from his novel "Babbitt," the title of which has become a definition applied to the average American (p. 149).
NEW YORK CITY
The trip from the official to the nonofficial capital of America took 3 hours and 32 minutes *** New York ***. No one remains indifferent to the sight of this city. In some it produces a feeling of dislike, in others-of exaltation. Some call it a poem of stone and steel, others—a soulless monster. unlike the other cities of the world and has the reputation of being an "orphan" among them.
The newspaper New York Herald Tribune in an editorial devoted to the arrival of N. S. Khrushchev in New York, wrote as follows: "There are as many opinions about our city as there are people living in it and as there are tourists visiting it. We are not inclined to affirm that we live in a perfect city. There are many who dislike our noise and dirt, the rattling subway and the fantastic pace of our street traffic. We are concerned over the problems of slums and youth behavior." (The newspaper refers to the catastrophic growth of juvenile delinquency in New York.)
What then is New York-this show window of America, as the authors of many guidebooks to the city usually describe it?
While telling of its sights they invariably recall an episode in history, which to this day remains, in their words, "an unsurpassed miracle of private initiative and enterprise.' In fact, with undisguised pride, one of the "city fathers" told the head of the Soviet government that New York was founded on "business principles." In the interest of truth, it might not be amiss to digress somewhat into the past of the greatest city of America.
In the early part of the Seventeenth century on the spot where now tower immense New York skyscrapers stood only pitiful Indian wigwams belonging to the Iroquois tribe. In 1626, Peter Minuit, the Dutch governor, concluded with them, as asserted by experts of American business, "the most profitable business transaction" in the history of the U.S.A. He filched from the simplehearted, trusting Indians a large island in exchange for a few bottles of gin and a handful of glass trinkets priced at 24 dollars. Later the Indians called this island Manahatta (the Manhattan of today, the central part of New York) which means in Iroquois: "We were duped.' Apparently, even at the dawn of the development of private enterprise it proved sometimes difficult to draw a line between a "business transaction" and deceit, between "a miracle of private initiative" and open robbery (p. 153).
It is important to stress that publicity, as far as America is concerned, is not only a purely business conception. Publicity determines the psychology of society, it has entered the life of the American so universally and so solidly that it seems to have become a trait of national life. There is nothing surprising in this situation when one compares just two figures: America annually spends the fabulous sum of 10.5 billion dollars, i.e., one-fortieth of its total income on publicity and publicity broadcasting, while spending 16 billion dollars on the education of the growing generation (p. 263).
AMERICAN STANDARD OF LIVING
One cannot but see that a relatively high standard of living has been reached in the United States. But, as known generally, millions of people in the same America live in conditions of poverty and even misery. Sidney Lens states, for example, that "the earnings of one-sixth of the taxpayers-heads of families and single individuals-are less than 40 dollars a week ***. Of the 6.5 million Negroes working in the United States in 1950 (the most recent statistical figure), a good two-thirds made less than 30 dollars a week."
Lens emphasizes that, in this manner, the much lauded standard of living of the Americans belongs to the field of statistics rather than reality. One-third of the nation which under the Roosevelt government was poorly dressed, badly nourished, and lived in bad conditions, still continues as of today to make barely enough to keep itself alive.
One can only add that, while it is considered in the United States that the country has come out of the profound crisis which shook it in 1958, when columns of enemployed filled Washington, there are still in America, and this we emphasize, 3,400,000 fully unemployed people just according to official statistics.
Under U.S.A. conditions unemployment for the average American is a deadly, desperate period of existence. The twenty or thirty dollars a week which the American receives only during the fitst months of his unemployment disappear as rapidly as hopes inspired by publicity, and man remains face to face with his fate. He can try and tear himself from the horror of misery and despair, trusting on himself alone and on his own strength for social principles and the social system proclaim: each for himself.
At first glance American cities look bright and elegant. The electric brilliance of publicity lighting gives them this appearance. But with daylight, they acquire the look of a tired musical comedy dancer after she has removed her makup. Without makeup life, American life, produces an impression far more complex, painful, and even oppressive than would seem to a lighthearted tourist.
One must spend a quarter of one's earnings on living premises from 75 to 100 dollars for a barely endurable apartment, 500 dollars for the right alone to give birth to a child in a clinic, 750 to 1,000 dollars a year to study at a good university. Is not this the reason why millions of teenagers in wealthy America are unable to get a high school degree and, the more so, higher education? Is not this the reason why in this wealthy country thousands and thousands of teenagers roam the streets, often coming under the influence of gangster groups, become drug addicts, and the degree of moral depravity cannot sometimes be encompassed by normal human vision. Recall the words of the same Sidney Lens who said: "The United States holds the world record in the number of murders per hundred thousand inhabitants." These are, perhaps, the most important traits in the life of this so-called happy society (p. 266).
The San Francisco suburbs appear at last, built up by tiny cubic houses ranging from one to two stories in height. As we learnt subsequently, their construction is rapid: a bulldozer arrives, levels out the land, road and waterpipes are laid, and right there and then scores of even sized tiny houses are scattered along the road, like dice out of a box. All of them are standard: there are but seven or eight styles and they differ only in color and the way they are painted. Some Americans like to live in this kind of home: inferior quality but they own it, even though one has to pay the company over a period of many years for this small home.
But in the eyes of the Soviet man, there is something endlessly sad in the way people squeeze themselves into these small-sized houses, crushed as in a vise on either side by similar tiny buildings owned by others. There is no real yard, no small garden, but only the asphalt of the sidewalk-a stone burrow for humans among hundreds of similar burrows (p. 274).