29-year-old Victor Jaanimets, an Estonian member of the 'Baltika' the Soviet liner that brought Premier Khrushchev to attend the United Nations General Assembly, deserted the ship in New York Oct. 10, and asked for political asylum.
Q. "What is your opinion of Khrushchev?"
A. (Via interpreter) "A fanatic."
Q. "Tell me this, what are your innermost feelings about your future life now, do you expect to find happiness here?"
A. "I hope I will be happy here, practically know very little about America, I have never been to America."
Q. "But what does he hope to find here for himself?"
A. "A free life. I should not be any longer engaged in a frame and that be able to think the way I want to think, and not the way I am told to think."
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Background: 29-year-old Victor Jaanimets, an Estonian member of the 'Baltika' the Soviet liner that brought Premier Khrushchev to attend the United Nations General Assembly, deserted the ship in New York Oct. 10, and asked for political asylum. While his story is being checked, he is held in custody by U.S. immigration authorities.
At a press conference Oct 11 in the Immigration Service offices in New York, Jaanimets - through an interpreter - said he thought Khrushchev was a "fanatic". He was earlier quoted as saying; "I've had my fill of Khrushchev. He is a tyrant - another Hitler. I have been in America only a short time (the 'Baltika' docked three weeks ago), but I have seen enough to know that all the bad things said about your country (America) in the Soviet Union are propaganda. The Russian people are told nothing but lies." He also said that "half the crew, maybe more" would defect from the 'Baltika' it they had the opportunity.
Jaanimets is said to have been planning the escape for three years. His opportunity came when on a five-hour period of shore leave with a shipmate named Simon. They were under orders, he said, to keep watch on each other, but during a meal at a restaurant he visited the wash-room and was not followed. As he had hoped, there was a back door through which he escaped. Hurrying through the streets he was fortunate enough to encounter an American Seaman, who took him to the International Rescue Committee - a non-sectarian refugee welfare organisation.