Soviet-American discussion about cooperation in space received new impetus in the spring of 1962. Following the successful three-orbit flight of John H. Glenn, Jr., on 20 February, Premier Khrushchev sent a congratulatory message to President Kennedy. This letter, which called for closer cooperation in space activities, might first have appeared disingenuous when viewed against the tense political background of the preceding year. But there had been considerable planning in the Soviet Union for just such an overture.
At its Twenty-second Congress on 17 October 1961, the Communist party of the Soviet Union considered closer cooperation with other nations and urged the Soviet government to pursue such a policy "in the fields of trade, cultural relations, science, and technology."1 An early step toward the implementation of this goal came in December 1961 when the Soviet delegation to the United Nations ended its boycott of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and other international organizations, such as the World Meteorological Organization.2 These actions were but a prelude.
1. "Programme of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Adopted October 31, 1961," in B. Dmytryshyn, A Concise History: USSR (New York, 1965), p. 479.
2. The Soviets also
approved the General Assembly Resolution 1721 (XVI) on 20 Dec. 1961,
which laid down the general ground rules for cooperative activities
in space. The text of the resolution is given in U.S. Congress,
Senate, Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, International Cooperation and Organization for Outer
Space, 89th Cong., 1st sess., 1965,
pp. 201-203. The events leading to the passage of this resolution are
described in U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Aeronautical and
Space Sciences, Soviet Space Programs:
Organization, Plans, Goals, and International
Implications, 87th Cong., 2nd sess.,
1962, pp. 163-173; and Arnold W. Frutkin, International Cooperation in Space (Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1965), pp. 91-142, 142-145