A long-ago presidential visit

Posted on February 18, 2014 

Raleigh has had its share of presidential visits in recent years, but in 1954, the city was pulling out all the stops to prepare for a visit from the President of Turkey.

Celal Bayar, Madame Bayar, and their official presidential party will descend from a special train at the Seaboard Station at 9 a.m.

The President's visit to Raleigh is part of a goodwill tour of parts of the United States as guests of President and Mrs. Eisenhower.

Faytteville Street yesterday was bedecked with flags of the Turkish Republic, and an official welcoming committee of State and city officials will extend greetings to President Bayar in front of City Hall where a reviewing stand has been erected....

The visit of the 70-year-old Turkish president to the United States marks the first time a Turkish ruler has ever visited this country and the first time the head of a foreign government has ever paid an official visit to North Carolina.

Governor Umstead, whose impaired health has forced him to take a rest at an undisclosed resort, will be represented by a State welcoming committee .... the governor has proclaimed the period Feb. 14-20 as Republic of Turkey Week.

President Bayar will be welcomed at City Hall by Mayor Fred B. Wheeler and other city officials.

The remainder of the Thursday schedule for the Presidential party includes a visit to State College where the party will tour the School of Textiles and visit the nuclear reactor on the campus, the first reactor built outside the restrictions of the Atomic Energy Commission.

At noon the party will leave for Chapel Hill where the President will visit Morehead Planetarium and dine with Gordon Gray, president of the Consolidated University of North Carolina.

At 3 p. m. the party will leave for Durham where the President will observe cigarette making processes in the Liggett and Myers tobacco plant. Turkish tobacco is blended with American tobacco in the manufacturing processes in the plant....

A dinner with Duke University president Hollis Edens and a visit to textile mills in Rocky Mount rounded out the visit.

The Presidential party will return to Raleigh where the three special cars will hook onto the Seaboard's northbound "Palmland" which departs from here at 9:15 p. m. The party is scheduled to arrive in New York at 9:20 a. m. Saturday.

President Bayar arrived in the United States January 20 for a 27-day visit. His official visit actually will end when he leaves Raleigh and the remainder of his stay in this country will be "private and unofficial." The N&O 2/18/1954

The plans all went off without a hitch except for one embarrassing incident.

Some 73 Turkish flags lining the route of the Presidential cavalcade along Halifax Street were lifted by kids.

Detective Captain Bob Goodwin last night said that "15 or 20" of the flags had been recovered from youngsters living in the immediate area where they were taken. The officer also issued a plea to children who still have flags to return them over to their school principals and all will be forgotten. The flags belong to the Turkish Government.

"The kids didn't seem to understand the implications arising from removal of the flags," Captain Goodwin said. He was sure that the thefts were not done with thought of impoliteness. The kids had been given Turkish flags by their teachers and these flags were waved eagerly when the President passed.

"Perhaps they just thought they could also get a few flags off the sidewalk staffs to wave also," Goodwin said. The N&O 2/19/1954

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