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Khrushchev Makes Extravagant Nuclear Claims

July 16, 1962 - Premier Khrushchev told a group of U.S. newspaper editors today that the Soviet Union has an anti-missile missile that can hit “a fly in outer space.” He added that the U.S. was deluding itself in thinking that a high-altitude nuclear explosion could be effective against Soviet global rockets. The Soviet leader told the editors, “I am not boasting, but we actually have a global rocket that cannot be destroyed by any anti-rocket means. And I know, if anybody knows, what ‘anti-rocket means’ are because we have them.” U.S. officials remain skeptical, however, that the Soviet Union, any more than the U.S., has solved the myriad of technical problems and perfected a usable missile defense system. The Soviet leader is believed to have been stung by recent statements by U.S. officials about the military superiority of the U.S. It is believed the Premier is trying to preserve the Soviet image abroad as well as meet criticism at home by emphasizing Soviet military prowess and supposed superiority.


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