WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 1959 (UPI) Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, convinced he had made a good beginning on his tour of the U.S. today, took his first look at our capitalistic way of life.
His first stop was at the 1,000-acre agricultural research center at Beltsville, Md., where Agriculture Secretary Ezra Taft Benson told him the U.S. wants to share its food production know-how to promote peace.
The visit, which the squat Russian leader had requested, was a prelude to his first "tough" meeting with newspaper reporters this afternoon. He agreed to meet with them at the National Press Club and answer all questions with no holds barred.
The 64-year-old Russian was up early for his tour. He appeared on the front porch of Blair House in his shirt sleeves at 7:45 and viewed the traffic roaring by.
Asked how he liked Washington, Khrushchev replied in Russian: "Very good town." Then, in English, he said: "Very good."
Meanwhile, at the White House, President Eisenhower told visitors that he hoped the visit "would do some good."
And at the State Department, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko met with Secretary of State Christian Herter to draft the agenda for the Big Two talks at Camp David next week.
Khrushchev was particularly eager to see the agricultural center 14 miles from Washington. Benson pointedly noted that the Big Red leader was viewing the fruits of capitalistic freedom that made the U.S. the No. 1 nation in agriculture.
"We believe that food can be, and should be, an agency of peace," Benson said. "We are using our abundance for peace, we want to share knowledge for peace. We believe that knowledge shared is not diminished, but multiplied."
Khrushchev was in smiling good humor as he took a close look at the station's cattle, sheep, hogs and famous white Beltsville turkeys.
As they prepared to depart, Benson told his visitor "You'd make a good farmer." Khrushchev replied, with a smile, "I can compete with you."
Khrushchev told Benson that Russia has been able to achieve very good results in improving cattle "without baronial sires." He said they "did not have such good mothers and fathers."
At the sheep pen, Khrushchev drew a big laugh when he remarked "I started out my working career by herding sheep." Behson, who joined in the laughter, replied, "So did I."
Khrushchev declared in a toast at a White House dinner last night that the United States and the Soviet Union are "much too strong" to quarrel. He said Russian intentions are based on the need to improve relations.
"If we were weak countries, then it would be another matter, because when the weak quarrel they are just scratching each other's faces and it takes just a couple days of a cosmetician and everything comes out right again," he said.
"But if we quarrel, then not only our countries can suffer colossal damage but the other countries of the world will be involved in a world shambles."
A "tea" with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a Soviet Embassy dinner for President and Mrs. Eisenhower also was scheduled today.
Eisenhower seemed to be enjoying Khrushchev's presence far less than the beaming Russian liked being here. Eisenhower was precisely correct and cordial as befitting a host. But he somehow resembled a West Point cadet showing his grandmother through the Academy.
It also appeared Eisenhower did not like what amounted to Khrushchev's blatant boasting at the airport about the Soviet moon rocket and what could be taken as a taunt to the United States to get an American one there. One could scarcely miss the implication that if the Russians can hit the moon with a rocket, they can also hit targets on earth.
The most significant exchanges of the visit so far came at the White House formal dinner last night. Khrushchev ignored the invitation's specification of white tie and showed up in a black suit and grey four-in-hand.
He found himself in some improbable company - FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, CIA Chief Allen W. Dulles, party giver Pearle Mesta and New York Stock Exchange president Keith Funston, among others.
Other ranking guests were Vice President Richard Nixon, Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson and House Speaker Sam Rayburn.
Eisenhower proposed the champagne toast to Khrushchev and the Soviet Union.
"It seems to me that our two countries have a very special obligation to the entire world," he said. "Because of our strength, because of our importance in the world, it is vital that we understand each other better. You and I have agreed on this point.
"I think that skillful debate is not enough now. We must depend upon fact and truth. And we must make it our common purpose, as I see it, that we develop for each other the maximum of fact and truth, so that we may better lead - between us - this world into a better opportunity for peace and prosperity."
Khrushchev responded with his remarks about the two nations being far too strong to quarrel.
"You are a very rich and strong country," he said. It is true that you are richer than we are at present. But then tomorrow we will be as rich as you are, and the day after tomorrow we will be even richer."
"I must say that the meeting I had today heartened me. When some of our journalists approached me after the meeting and asked me my impressions, I said that there was an agreed communiqu