“Armed with powerful weapons and recent technology, the Navy of the U.S.S.R. has become a completely modern navy. It is capable of solving any problem put to it and can operate far from its shores and deliver decisive blows against important objectives deep in the territory of the enemy.”
This statement by Admiral Golovkov, First Deputy to the Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Navy would seem paradoxical in view of Khrushchev’s derogatory statements concerning navies. As early as 1956, during his trip to Britain with Bulganin, he remarked that cruisers were useful only for naval visits. Again during the Lebanon crisis in July 1958, he made veiled threats to reduce our carriers to steel coffins at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. A short while later, in a letter to President Eisenhower on the Far East situation, Khrushchev pointed out that “The heyday of surface navy power is over. In the age of nuclear and rocket weapons . . . these once formidable warships . . . can serve as targets for the right types of rockets.” During his visit to the United States in September 1959, he once again went out of his way to comment on the obsoleteness of cruisers.