relent. Nixon announced the good news in a speech before the convention: "The Russians got to the moon first, but the American Dental Association got to this ballroom first!" According to Carlson, "the dentists surged out of their seats, cheering their victory." The following day, headline writers had a field day: "String Pullers Can't Budge Teeth Pullers" and "Dentists Pull Teeth out of Khrush Fête."
The ADA in the meantime went about its business. The U.S. Post Office unveiled a commemorative postage stamp honoring the centennial, and E. R. Squibb and Sons introduced the first electric toothbrush known as the Broxodent, which awed the assemblage, giving the celebration yet another buzz.
After his tour of the U.S., Khrushchev returned to Moscow and continued his reign over the Soviet Union for another five years. In 1964, he was deposed due to "erratic behavior." He lived out his life in Moscow, where he died in 1971 at the age of 77.
Carlson P. K Blows Top: A Cold War Comic Interlude Starring Nikita Khrushchev, America's Most Unlikely Tourist. New York, NY: Public Affairs; 2009.
Khrushchev N. Khrushchev Remembers. Boston, MA: Little Brown and Company; 1970.
Kubijovyc V, ed. Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopedia. Toronto, Ontario: University of Toronto Press; 1963.
Christiansen R, Kossen S. Unionists assail brutality of Nikita. San Francisco Examiner. September 22, 1959.
Dobriansky, LE. Crimes of Khrushchev against the Ukrainian people. Ukrainian Weekly. September 17, 1960. No. 179, Vol. LXVII. http://www.ukrweekly.com/old/archive/1960/1796003.shtml. Accessed November 4, 2013.
Harriman A. How Khrushchev stacks up against Stalin. San Francisco Examiner. September 6, 1959.
On September 10, 1959, ADA President Percy T. Phillips, DDS, received two letters: one from the mayor of New York and the other from the U.S. Department of State's chief of protocol. Both letters advised Dr. Phillips that the ADA would have to give up the use of the ballroom in order for the mayor to safely host a luncheon for 1,200 businessmen "honoring" the visiting Khrushchev. The mayor referred to Khrushchev as his "distinguished guest," while the chief of protocol chimed in claiming "the national interest and great importance of ... the state visit" dictated the ADA must comply. Carlson sums up the ADA's reaction:
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When the ADA took on Nikita Khrushchev
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Like the fabled defenders of the Alamo, the American Dental Association drew a line in the sand and refused to budge. On September 11, [1959,] Percy Phillips fired back a letter that resounded like American history's classic statement of defiance -- "Give me liberty or give me death!" and "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" -- although not quite so pithy.
This stamp was issued in 1959 during the centennial meeting of the American Dental Association. Image courtesy of the National Postal
The ADA, the mayor, and state department all refused to budge. The wily Phillips picked up his telephone and leaked the dilemma to the press. Newspaper headlines throughout country bellowed in support of the association -- an example, the Chicago Sun-Times headline: "Stubborn Dentists Won't Be Yanked."
The standoff between the U.S. government and ADA lasted three days. The adverse publicity forced the state department and mayor to