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JFK Welcomes Tito to Washington

Oct. 17, 1963 - President Kennedy gave President Tito a cordial but swift day of tribute at the White House today that pleased the Yugoslav leader and protected the Democrats’ political flanks. The maverick Communist was taken through the entire routine of an official visit — from a 21-gun salute to champagne toasts over luncheon — in less than six hours. Then helicopters carried him back to Williamsburg, Va., as quickly as they had delivered him this morning over the heads of jeering Serbian and Croatian pickets with placards reading: “Murderer,” “Red Pig,” and “JFK, don’t shake hands with killer.” In Congress, some were also protesting the visit. Today’s crammed schedule did allow for 2½ hours of “frank discussion” between the two Presidents on East-West relations, the dispute between the Soviet Union and Communist China, the U.N., and Marshal Tito’s impressions of Latin America, which he visited before coming to the U.S. The Yugoslav visitor expressed gratitude on several occasions for the $2.5 billion in American assistance extended since he was thrown out of the international Communist movement by Joseph Stalin in 1948. President Kennedy, in turn, paid tribute to the Yugoslavs’ “valiant struggle” for national independence.


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