On this day in history - July 24th, 1959

Nixon and Khrushchev at the "Kitchen Debate"
Nixon and Khrushchev at the "Kitchen Debate"

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - On this day in history - July 24th, 1959 - The "Kitchen Debate" in Moscow.

The United States and the Soviet Union agreed to hold a cultural exchange in which each country would visit the other and put on an exhibition. The U.S.'s exhibition, held in Moscow, was called the American National Exhibition. It contained a mock house full of American technology meant to make daily life easier, and the exhibitors claimed that any American could afford to buy it.

Then Vice President Richard Nixon toured the house with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, and they exchanged remarks for a television camera. Khrushchev began to berate a resolution by the U.S. Congress to pray for people in some of the U.S.S.R.'s satellite countries. Then Khrushchev took jabs at American technology, saying that the Soviets would soon have everything the Americans had, and that the Soviets would wave "bye-bye" as they passed. Khrushchev even asked Nixon if there was a machine that "puts food into the mouth and pushes it down."

Nixon played down the comments, saying it was better to compete technologically than militarily. Nixon promised that the argument would be translated and broadcast back in the States, and the two leaders shook hands. It was the first major meeting of the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. in four years.