October and November 1960 were two of the coldest months of the Cold War. Continuing tensions over Berlin and the nuclear balance were exacerbated by crises in Laos, Congo, and—for the first time—France's rebellious départements in Algeria. During Nikita Khrushchev's table-pounding visit to the United Nations, he embraced Belkacem Krim, the foreign minister of the Gouvernement Provisoire de la République Algérienne (GPRA). After mugging for the cameras at the Soviet estate in Glen Cove, New York, Khrushchev confirmed that this constituted de facto recognition of the provisional government and pledged all possible aid. Meanwhile, in Beijing, President Ferhat Abbas delivered the GPRA's first formal request for Chinese “volunteers.” U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower asked his National Security Council “whether such intervention would not mean war.” The council agreed that if communist regulars infiltrated Algeria, the United States would be bound by the North Atlantic Treaty to come to the aid of French President Charles de Gaulle and his beleaguered government. After six years of insurgency, Algeria appeared to be on the brink of becoming a Cold War battleground.1
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