No Russian Collusion: Clemson College, 1961

The Cold War was in full force in December 1961. The United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a complex struggle involving ideological, military, diplomatic, economic, scientific and social competition. In addition, both powers possessed weapons capable of inflicting catastrophic damage if they chose to use them.

Major Cold War events in 1961 included Russian cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyvich Gagarin becoming the first human in space; the failed Bay of Pigs invasion by the United States causing Cuba to seek closer alliance with the Soviet Union; and the construction of the Berlin Wall.

The Berlin Wall, October 1961 (from CIA Historical Collection)

Then in December 1961, two Russians arrived in Clemson.

At the time, Clemson was a small college -- approximately 4,000 undergraduate men, 100 undergraduate women, and a handful of graduate students -- in a small, sleepy town. South Carolina was a racially segregated state and there were no African American students at Clemson. A fact of interest to the Russian visitors.

The Russian visitors were Nikifor Mironovich Levchenko, Second Secretary, Economic Division and Ilya Efimovich Emelyanov, Agricultural Counselor from the Soviet Embassy in Washington D.C. They arrived on the train and stayed overnight at the Clemson House.

the Clemson House area of campus, c1961

A detailed surveillance report of their activities in President R.C. Edwards’ Papers carefully documents their visit to the town and campus, and hints at the confusion and suspicion their surprise brief visit produced.

the town of Clemson, c1961

The FBI was contacted, but did not want to be officially involved:

Created By
Susan Hiott


Clemson University Libraries Special Collections and Archives

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