Yes. It happened on September 20, 1963, according to History.com. It is one of the lesser known but more important events in the last months of President Kennedy’s life and presidency.
In the fall of 1963, JFK was on a political roll. His approval ratings had climbed. He had overcome the grumbling of the Pentagon and all but secured Senate ratification of the popular Limited Test Ban Treaty, banning nuclear explosions in space. Then he went to New York to say something daring.
In a speech at the United Nations, Kennedy proposed that the Soviet Union and United States cooperate in mounting a mission to the moon.
“Why,” he asked the audience, “should man’s first flight to the moon be a matter of national competition?”
“The clouds have lifted a little” in terms of U.S.-Soviet relations, he noted, declaring “The Soviet Union and the United States, together with their allies, can achieve further agreements — agreements which spring from our mutual interest in avoiding mutual destruction.”
“The idea that America would cooperate with the Soviets in sending a man to the moon seemed unbelievable,” says History.com.
Not to JFK. He thought competing systems of government could cooperate on peaceful projects that benefited all people. This was one expression of JFK’s “strategy for peace” that he offered in his famous American University speech three months before.
This visionary idea, like so many others, died in Dallas.
(If anybody has newspaper clippings about JFK’s Sept. 20 speech, please share!)