August 23, 1963. The First Two Way Call Between Heads Of State Via Satellite Was Made

50 years ago (Friday August 23, 1963) the first two way call between Heads of State via satellite was made. It was between American President John Kennedy and Nigerian Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa this real time interaction and conversation via satellite by Heads of State symbolized the beginning of a technological revolution across the globe through space applications.

In the telephone conversation, Kennedy and Balewa traded pleasantries, briefly mentioned the nuclear weapons text ban treaty, signed that year and talked about a boxing match in which Nigerian middle weight boxer Dick Tiger had retained his title against an American. The symbolic phone call lasted two minutes and went like this:

PRESIDENT KENNEDY : Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER: Yes

PRESIDENT KENNEDY: It is a great pleasure to talk to you from the White House. We send our very best wishes to your people and to you.

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT KENNEDY: I hope that this is the beginning of much closer communication between Nigeria and the United States and indeed between the whole continent of Africa and our continent, our hemisphere. I think that this can be a very important means of providing for closer understanding among our people and also of course, among the people of Africa.
We send you particularly, Prime Minister, our best wishes remembering your visit here to the United States. I also appreciate the wire you sent me in early August in regard to the best ban treaty. I think that what we are doing today shows what can be done through the peaceful use of Space.

PRIME MINISTER: We congratulate you heartily Mr President for this very big achievement.

PRESIDENT KENNEDY: I hope we will be seeing you back in the United States and that all goes well for your country and your people.

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you.

PRESIDENT KENNEDY: Very good wishes Prime Minister and we look forward to having Dick Tiger come over here.

PRIME MINISTER:  It was indeed a very great day for us when Dick Tiger beat the American, Gene Fulmer.

PRESIDENT KENNEDY: I know we watch those things over here. Well, we wish you good luck, regards from the people of the United States to the people of Nigeria

PRIME MINISTER:  Mr. President, I would be very happy if you would convey our greetings and all the best wishes to the people of United States.

PRESIDENT KENNEDY: Thank you, Prime Minister, and we look forward to seeing you back at the White House again someday.

PRIME MINISTER: It is my intention to visit the United States very soon, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT KENNEDY: Good. Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, and good bye.

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