The Beginnings of Cooperation
The Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 became the catalyst for possible cooperation in space between the United States and the Soviet Union. This confrontation, during which Kennedy sought to overthrow the communist Castro regime, brought both nations to the brink of launching nuclear weapons. After a tense period, both nations were compelled to avoid the devastation that would result from nuclear warfare. In August 1963, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which banned all nuclear tests underwater, in the atmosphere, and in space.
Following the signing, on September 20, 1963, John F. Kennedy made a speech before the United Nations General Assembly proposing that the US and the Soviet Union join forces to reach the Moon. The joint expedition was intended to improve American-Soviet relations. However, the political climate at the time would not support such a bold proposal for cooperation. Most Americans firmly believed that the US would be the first nation on the Moon. The nation's attitude was clear when, in December 1963, Congress passed a bill stating, "No part of any appropriation made available to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration by this Act shall be used for expenses of participating in a manned lunar landing to be carried out jointly by the United States and any other country without consent of the Congress."