On May 1, 1960, a U.S. one-man U-2 spy plane was reportedly shot down at high altitude over Soviet airspace. The flight was made to gain photo intelligence before the scheduled opening of an east-west summit conference, which had been scheduled in Paris, 15 days later.
Kennedy gave a speech at Saint Anselm College on May 5, 1960, regarding America's conduct in the emerging Cold War. The address detailed how the American foreign policy should be conducted towards African nations, noting a hint of support for modern African nationalism by saying, "For we, too, founded a new nation on revolt from colonial rule".
Margaret married Armstrong-Jones at Westminster Abbey on 6 May 1960. The ceremony was the first royal wedding to be broadcast on television, and it attracted viewing figures of 300 million worldwide. 2,000 guests were invited to the wedding ceremony.
On May 16, 1960, Theodore H. Maiman operated the first functioning laser at Hughes Research Laboratories, Malibu, California, ahead of several research teams, including those of Townes, at Columbia University, Arthur Schawlow, at Bell Labs, and Gould, at the TRG (Technical Research Group) company. Maiman's functional laser used a flashlamp-pumped synthetic ruby crystal to produce red laser light at 694 nanometers wavelength. The device was only capable of pulsed operation, due to its three-level pumping design scheme.
De Gaulle hosted a superpower summit on 17 May 1960 for arms limitation talks and détente efforts in the wake of the 1960 U-2 incident between United States President Dwight Eisenhower, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, and United Kingdom Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.