It was less than twenty-four hours after my arrival in Moscow that I got my first striking lesson in Soviet determination-in their driving purpose to achieve for themselves a better and more abundant life-and a lesson in Soviet logic as well.
I had already been impressed, while driving from the airport to the center of the city, by the aÂÀstonishing amount of new building, most of it huge apartments aimed at relieving the chronic Soviet housing shortage that is still far from beaten. Then, right at the start of the "great debate"34 with Premier Khrushchev in the television studios of the American National Exhibition at Sokolniki Park, he turned to me and said:
"We wish you success in showing what America is capable of. How long has America existed-three hundred years?"
"More than a hundred and fifty," I told him.
"Well, then," he went on, "we will say America has been in existence for a hundred and fifty years, and this is the level she has reached. We have existed not quite forty-two years and in another seven we will be on the same level as America." And he said that then they would pass us by and go further still!
Now, nothing I saw during my eleven days in the Soviet Union-and let me say at once that I don't believe this makes me, overnight, a "Russian expert" -- none of the sharp impressions I carried away leads me to believe that they will equal our standard of living in seven years -- or in seventy -- if only we remain true to the traditions that have made possible our fabulous growth up to now.____________________