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RFK in Bandung: "American Plane Got Me Here, Russian One Didn't"

Feb. 17, 1962 - Robert F. Kennedy made political capital today of his misadventures in a Soviet-built transport plane. The plane, an Ilyushin-14, could not get through some bad weather on a flight from Bali to Bandung yesterday. It made one emergency landing and then put in at Jakarta, where the Attorney General spent the night. The American-built Convair plane carrying the press had no difficulty reaching Bandung. Early this morning, Mr. Kennedy finally reached Bandung in a Convair. “I’m not here to give you any propaganda,” he told students at Bandung Technical University, “but the American planes got here and the Russian one didn’t.” “The Russians may get to the moon,” he said, “but they can’t to Bandung.” The students laughed and cheered. During his remarks to the students, Mr. Kennedy returned to the theme of Cold War competition. “We want a world with a diversity of ideas,” he said. “That is our quarrel with the Communists.” “The Communists cannot tolerate diversity. They cannot tolerate it at home,” he said, citing the difficulties of Boris Pasternak, the late Russian author and poet, and “they cannot tolerate diversity abroad.” As an illustration of the latter, he cited the Soviet dispute with Albania.

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