Questions directed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s reporter to Soviet Deputy Trade Minister Vladimir Alkhimov on the accuracy of his remarks regarding the human rights of Soviet Jews and U.S. trade legislation affecting Soviet-American trade, angered Donald Kendall, Pepsico head. Kendall and Alkhimov are the co-chairmen of the U.S.-USSR Trade and Economic Council.
After the Council’s news conference had ended at the Madison Hotel, the JTA reporter, Joseph Polakoff, went to the dais to obtain additional comments. Alkhimov and Polakoff, who had met two years ago at the conference arranged by the National Association of Manufacturers on the same subject, shook hands and Alkhimov responded briefly to a question and then moved to the end of the dais to speak with other reporters.
Polakoff started to join that group when Kendall pushed him. Polakoff protested the pushing and Kendall put his hands on Polakoff’s shoulders. Polakoff demanded he remove his hands which Kendall did but he thrust himself against Polakoff in a confrontation and demanded to know “how old are you?” Polakoff responded age was of no consequence. Kendall, who is about three inches taller, younger and heavier than Polakoff, then brushed Polakoff and interposed himself between the JTA reporter and those talking with Alkhimov, Polakoff will be 67 years old in October.
Later at the State Department, Polakoff described the incident and asked spokesman Robert Anderson whether the Department countenanced such action by a leader of a quasi-official group. Noting he was not present, Anderson replied that if Polakoff’s report was accurate, “this is not the type of thing that should be done.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.