Harold Macmillan & Khrushchev's Shoe

One day in September 1960, the famously unflappable British prime minister Harold Macmillan was interrupted in the middle of a speech before the United Nations by Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev, who, it seemed, had removed one of his shoes and was repeatedly banging it on a table. Unperturbed, Macmillan continued speaking: "I'd like that translated," he remarked, "if I may."

[Khrushchev was certainly a boor. After another confrontation with Macmillan in Moscow, he told an associate that he had 'f---ed him with a telephone pole'; and during a series of tense negotiations with the Chinese Communist leadership in Beijing, Khrushchev, in a room which he knew was bugged, entertained his colleagues with obscene rhymes about various Chinese leaders, including references to Mao Zedong as 'old galoshes' -- a term for a used condom in both Russian and Chinese slang.]

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