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Khrushchev Draw Middling Crowds in East Berlin

June 28, 1963 - Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev rode through East Berlin today in a “friendship visit” that drew a considerably milder response than President Kennedy’s tumultuous reception by West Berliners two days ago. About 200,000 people — mostly the staffs of factories and schoolchildren — thinly lined the Soviet Premier’s 15-mile route from Schönefeld Airport on Berlin’s outskirts to the City Hall in the middle of town. A.D.N., the official East German press agency, said 500,000 East Berliners had turned out, but Western newsmen regarded the figure as grossly exaggerated. West Berlin authorities had estimated that more than 1 million people cheered Mr. Kennedy. A well-disciplined crowd of 40,000 heard a tired-looking Mr. Khrushchev deliver a perfunctory arrival speech from the City Hall balcony. Earlier, a thunderstorm had drenched Mr. Khrushchev and East German Communist leader Walter Ulbricht as they rode in an open car. The bulk of the short speech was confined to routine praise of and encouragement for the East German Republic.

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