President Eisenhower's Press Secretary, James Hagerty, arrived at Tokyo's Haneda Airport, June 10, to received a hostile welcome from about 5,000 trade unionists and militant students.
President Eisenhower's Press Secretary, James Hagerty, arrived at Tokyo's Haneda Airport, June 10, to received a hostile welcome from about 5,000 trade unionists and militant students. After being greeted by U.S. Ambassador, Douglas MacArthur, he left the airport for the American Embassy amidst vast crowds dominated by left-wing extremists waving red flags and banners reading "Hagerty go home" and "Ike stay away." Then, outside the airport, screaming and struggling demonstrators surrounded the car, climbed on the roof, smashed its windows and cut the tyres.
For more than an hour, Mr. Hagerty, his appointments secretary Thomas Stevens, and Mr. MacArthur were trapped in the car. At one stage, students - singing the 'Internationale' - rocked the car backwards and forwards in an attempt to overturn it. All the while a helicopter hovered overhead, awaiting an opportunity to land and rescue the three men trapped in the car. After an initial delay, 1,700 police were sent in to quell the mob. Eventually, they cleared a way for the helicopter to land - 50 feet away - and the three men were hustled into it. It was all done in such haste that one of the men was only half-way through the door when the helicopter took off.
The helicopter flew to a military barracks where the party left by car for the American Embassy and entered by a back door as further demonstrations were taking place at the front of the building. Mr. Hagerty - in Tokyo to make final arrangements for President Eisenhower's visit, June 19 - said he did not think the Japanese people would allow the President to be caught in a similar position when he arrived. He stated that he "was sure that the demonstration in no way reflects the feelings and attitudes of the great majority of the Japanese people, for whom the American people have the warmest feelings of friendship."
President Eisenhower left Washington by Air June 12 for his 23,000 mile Far Eastern tour. Before boarding his jet aircraft he said that the paramount objective of the tour was to "improve the climate of the international relations."