U-2 Spy Plane Incident

At the height of the cold war, as critics of the Eisenhower administration complained about the growing "missile gap," the United States secretly gathered data on Soviet missile capabilities through photographs obtained from U-2 reconnaissance plane overflights of the Soviet Union. In May 1960, plans were finalized for a crucial Paris summit conference between western nations and leaders of the Soviet Union with disarmament to be the main focus. Hopes for a successful summit were dashed when on May 1, May Day, an American U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers was shot down over Soviet air space. On the first day of the Paris summit, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev stormed out after delivering a condemnation of U.S. spy activities.

  1. Documents
  1. Background Paper on Soviet Overflights
  2. CIA Comments on True Magazine Article, May 1960
  3. CIA Memo Listing Overflight of the Soviet Bloc
  4. CIA Report on U2 Vulnerability Tests
  5. Conference for Authorization by the President to Produce Thirty U-2 Aircraft
  6. Cover Plan to Be Used for Downed U2 Flight
  7. Memo for Ann Whitman, Discusses Khruchev and Summit Conference
  8. Memo for Director of the CIS Concerning Use of U2 Reconnaissance
  9. Memo for Re
  10. Memo for Recoed Regarding Plans for U2 Successor Plan
  11. Memo for Record Re Cancellation of Baltic Area Overflights
  12. Memo for Record Regarding Discontinuation of Overflights
  13. Memo for the Record Authorizing One Additional U2 Flight Prior to May 1, 1960
  14. Memo for the Record Discussin Overflights
  15. Memo for the Record Regarding Possibility Additional Overflights
  16. Memo of Conference With President
  17. Memo of Conference With the Presdident Re Recent Progress in Reconnaissance Devices
  18. Memo of Conference With the President
  19. Memo of Conference With the President Re Continuation of Overflight Program
  20. Memo of Conference With the President Regarding Approval of Overflight
  21. Memo of Conference With the President Regarding Enemy Icbm Development
  22. Memo of Conference With the President Regarding Overflight Concerns
  23. Memo of Conference With the President Regarding Successor Aircraft to U2
  24. Memo of Confernce With the President Regarding Soviet Fighter Capability
  25. Memo of Conversation, Bipartisan Leaders Breakfest With the President
  26. Memo Regarding Handling of Satellite Reconnaissance Products
  27. NASA Press Release Concerning Missing U2 Airplane
  28. Radio Interview With Drew Pearson of Washington Post
  29. Report on Project Corona, March 17, 1959
  30. State Department Press Release Concerning U2 Incident
  31. State Department Press Release Numner 254 Concerning U2 Incident
  32. State Department Telegram For American Embassy in Moscow
  33. State Dept. Telegram Re Coordination With British
  34. Statement by the President Regarding U2 Incident
  35. Washington Post Article, US Heard Russians Chasing U2