Archive Record

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Catalog Number 1999:48
Collection Nikita Khrushchev - Mesta Plant Tour
Object Name Records
Title Nikita Khrushchev Mesta Machine Company Tour
Scope & Content Collection contains 21 images, the context of which are Nikita Khrushchev's September 24, 1959 visit to the Mesta Machine Company.

The images are printed on 8 x 10" photographic paper. 17 of the images are marked with a catalog number (Mesta or Press?), and 4 have no delineation.

Also in the collection are several pieces of correspondence regarding the visit, a reproduction of a New York Times article about the visit and an original copy and reproduction of Pittsburgh Press, the text of the speech given by Frank Mesta, and a bound Mesta promotional booklet.

Photographs are in good condition, with a small to moderate amount of fading.

Titles of the images imposed by archivist for purpose of cataloging the collection, descriptions based on photographic evidence.

The exact location within Mesta Machine in the photographs is unknown.
Physical characteristics U.S. Information Agency Correspondence and Pittsburgh Press - fragile
Admin/Biographical History Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (1894-1971), Soviet Communist leader was first secretary of the Soviet Communist Party from 1953 to 1964 and premier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from 1958 to 1964.
He arrived in Pittsburgh for a visit on September 23, 1959. Pittsburgh at that time was considered "a symbol of national power," so his hosts tried to map a tour that would impress the Soviet Premier and his entourage, with the city's vitality. Mr. Khrushchev was interested in viewing an American Mill during his visit. Mesta Machine, a leading supplier of steel machinery and equipment, located in West Homestead, received high priority among the places that he wished to visit. Mesta's machinery had been exported to Soviet steel mills under the lend-lease agreements of World War II. Concurrent with his visit was a lengthy steel strike that had closed down all the unionized mills in the area. Mesta Machine was one of the few big mills still operating, as it had resisted organization by the United Steelworkers of America.
He visited the plant on the morning of the 24th.

"I must tell you about the warm welcome given us by the people of one of America's biggest industrial centers, the city of iron and steelworkers and machine builders, the people of Pittsburgh. They displayed great friendliness and respect for us. I even felt mildly apologetic when I drove from the airport to the city. We arrived in Pittsburgh at midnight. The night was dark, but as we drove to the city, there were cars parked along the entire route, there were people standing, and I saw their smiles and heard their greetings.

In Pittsburgh we visited the machine-building plant of the Mesta Company. We felt that the management did everything to show us the plant, to let us see the working conditions there. We made the rounds of the plant and conversed with workers. I wish to stress one thing: When we entered, there were greetings but they were restrained. However, the more we talked to the workers, the warmer the meeting became, and the workers loudly expressed their sentiments of respect for us, representatives of the Soviet state, of the Soviet people."

--Nikita Khrushchev, "Historic Visit of Peace and Friendship," USSR (November 1959).

By all reports, Khrushchev enjoyed his visit to Mesta and joked with both the management and the workers of the plant. Kenneth Jackey, a Mesta employee gave Khrushchev a cigar, in return Khrushchev gave him his wristwatch. Khrushchev also gave away medals to some female employees.

Dates of Creation September 3, 4, 12, 24, 1959