President Eisenhower visits Greece – December 16, 1959 – NBC Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
In December 1959, President Eisenhower visited 11 nations including five in Asia, flying 22,000 miles in 19 days.
Eisenhower’s purpose for the trip was to show that he supported “the goals that free nations share.” More specifically, however, the president had matters to discuss with Greece’s leadership, according to a Time Magazine interview from December 1959:
“Such Greek problems as Cyprus and the threat of Iron Curtain countries to the north got a thorough going-over during [Eisenhower’s] talks with Premier Constantin Karamanlis. The Greeks, too, delicately hinted that the President should not put too much stock in Russian peace talk, reminded him that they had fought a bitter civil war to drive the Communists out of the country after World War II. Greece had staked out a priority interest in all Balkan affairs, and got from [Eisenhower] his assurances that the U.S. and Greece would consult on such affairs.”
As a result of Greece’s geographical position bordering communist Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower made history as the first sitting American president to visit the Balkan nation.
The President reaffirmed his call for peace and friendship in a brief address to the Greek Chamber of Deputies and received a thunderous ovation. About five hours after his speech, the President boarded the cruiser Des Moines and left Greece for a cruise in the Mediterranean to Tunis, the next stop on his goodwill visit to eleven countries on three continents.
Here is the report for December 16th, 1959 regarding President Eisenhower’s arrival in Greece.
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