Summit meeting 1961

3 – 6 June 1961

In Vienna, Khrushchev presents Kennedy with a memorandum concerning the German policy, the so-called Berlin-Memorandum. It contains a proposal for the conversion of West-Berlin into a demilitarised and neutral city and demands the finalisation of a peace treaty. The memorandum is not made public until 11 June. On that weekend, the whole world was watching Vienna. The Soviet Premier Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev and the American President John F. Kennedy were meeting in Vienna. For the Viennese, this summit meeting was an event of top priority. The wives of the politicians, Nina Khrushchev and Jackie Kennedy, were especially welcomed with wild enthusiasm.

For negotiation were the future status of Berlin, which was still occupied by all four victorious powers, nuclear weapons tests and disarmament. There was to be no rapprochement. For the young Kennedy, who had become President in the same year, it was his first meeting with his great opposite number from the Soviet Union. For the Viennese it was a major coup to have the two heads of the superpowers in town. Virtually the highlight: the Kennedys attended service in St. Stephen’s Cathedral. This was almost better than the formal dinner in Schönbrunn Palace, where Khrushchev and Kennedy appeared together for the only time and in the company of their wives.

The streets were lined with people when the convoy of national limousines went by, accompanied by a gigantic array of police and bodyguards. Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the CPSU, was riding in a Russian ZIL, the Federal President Adolf Schärf in a Mercedes 600 and U.S. President John F. Kennedy alternatively in a Lincoln or a Cadillac. Incidentally, none of the vehicles was armoured. While the two men were negotiating first in the American then in the Russian embassy, the women went their separate ways. Nina Khrushchev was guided through the Cézanne exhibition in the Belvedere by the Viennese city councillor for Cultural Affairs Hans Mandl; Jackie Kennedy visited the Spanish Court Riding School with Federal Chancellor Alfons Gorbach. When John F. Kennedy took the Lincoln, Jackie was out in the Cadillac.

Of the extended version, a total of only about 1000 models were built. The American embassy in Vienna acquired the vehicle especially for the state visit of Kennedy. Also in the USA, Kennedy and his wife Jackie preferred this special edition model. After Kennedy visited Vienna, the Cadillac with the registration number W 700 remained with the U.S. embassy until 1967, when it was sold to a private buyer. After that, the vehicle changed ownesr another four times. For years it was then parked in an underground car park on Reumannplatz, before the present owner acquired it in 1989. This man does not actually care about old cars, but he has a soft spot for President Kennedy – “womanising not included”, he says.

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