Flashback: Debating U.S.-Russia relations

(CBS News) "We have reached the conclusion that there is not enough recent progress in our bilateral agenda with Russia to hold a U.S.-Russia summit in early September," White House press secretary Jay Carney said this week, defending the administration's decision to back off from President Obama's scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Last week on "Face the Nation," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told Bob Schieffer that attending the meeting "would give Putin the kind of respect he doesn't deserve at this point in time."

And on "Face the Nation," August 9, 1959, Gov. Leroy Collins, D-Fla., defended Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's planned visit to the United States. Fresh off his trip to Russia as head of the Nine Governors Committee, Collins pushed for increased communication between the two countries.

WILLIAM LAWRENCE, New York Times National Correspondent: Governor, have you no misgivings at all about Premier Khrushchev coming here to talk with President Eisenhower?

COLLINS: Mr. Lawrence, I don't have any misgivings about him coming here. Now, I don't think that he is going to come here and he and the President are going to sit down and solves all the problems of the world. But the important thing about him coming here, and the important thing about other Russians coming here, is for them to understand at firsthand things about our system that they just do not understand now...

Collins explained that the visit would give Khrushchev a chance learn more about American culture. For example, Collins added, Khrushchev could see for himself how American newspapers operate.

MR. LAWRENCE: Will they understand it in 10 days, Governor?

COLLINS: No, they can't. But they can understand more than they did before. For instance, our press, Mr. Khrushchev said in our conference--he said that that the press in America was owned by millionaires and was dominated by capitalist interests. Well, we told him immediately that three-fourths of the newspapers of America were owned by people of modest incomes. And he didn't seem to believe it. But yet we asserted that very positively. He thinks that whatever is in our American papers, and whatever is said on our television is dominated and dictated by a super government. They can't think in other terms, because they have been so deeply indoctrinated in those terms. Now, if he comes over here and he sees a newspaper one day sharply critical of the President and his polices, and the next day praising his policies, and taking an independent attitude about things, and searching for the truth -- well I think it can't help but be impressive...

About a month after this appearance, in September 1959, Eisenhower welcomed Khrushchev to the United States. "I most sincerely hope that as you come to see and believe these truths about our people," President Eisenhower said to Khrushchev, "there will develop an improved basis on which we can together consider the problems that divide us."

The full transcript of Collins' "Face the Nation" interview is below:


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