During his recent tour of neutral Asian countries, President Tito of Yugoslavia paid his first visit to Ceylon.
During his recent tour of neutral Asian countries, President Tito of Yugoslavia paid his first visit to Ceylon. Tito came to Ceylon after his tour of Indonesia, Burma and India.
Ceylon rolled out the red carpet for the distinguished visitor. The streets of Colombo, the ships in the harbour and all government buildings were gaily decorated for the Marshal's visit.
As the Marshal's yacht, the 5,000 ton "Galeb" steamed into Colombo's Queen Elizabeth Qua???, the quayside was a splash of colour. Awaiting the President's arrival were caffroon-robed Budapest monks, dignitaries in white national dress, the army, navy and airforce officers, and the diplomatic corps.
Dressed in a cream-coloured Marshal's uniform, President Tito, with Madame Jovanka Broz-Tito at his side, appeared on the deck and the Galeb band immediately struck up the Yugoslave national anthem. Dignified, he stood towering over his men.
Some enthusiastic Kandyan drummers on the footside of the gangway started their drum beats of welcome which almost drowned the Yugoslave national anthem. The drummers were however shh-od to a stop.
After a 21-gun salute was fired, the President and Madame Tito came down the gangway.
Ceylon's Governor-General, Sir Oliver Goonetilleke (goona tee la ker) welcomed the visitors with an outstretched hand. He presented Prime Minister Solomon Bandaranaike and Mrs. Bandaranaike to Marshal Tito and party.
The Prime Minister made Tito smile with his Yugoslav welcome, "Yootro" (the Yugoslav word for good morning), he said, (he had apparently picked up the word earlier from Yugoslave newsmen), and Marshal Tito responded with a smile on hearing his language spoken.
The Governor-General's grandson, Mohan, placed a garland of orchids on President Tito's neck.
Smart boys of the Royal Ceylon Navy presented a guard of honour, which the President inspected accompanied by the Captain of the Navy, Commodore Royce de Mel. The Marshal then took the Royal Salute.
The Marshal was introduced to other Ministers, diplomatic corps and CIP's. Among those awaiting the President were Russian Ambassador Vladimir G. Yakovlev, the Communist Ambassador Chang Tsan-Ming, and Ceylon's Communist Partly leader Peter Keuneman.
In his speech the Marshal said this being his first visit he was eagerly looking forward to meeting the people of Ceylon and learning something about the country's history and cultural heritage.
He said there were many similarities between his country and Ceylon - both struggling to strengthen peace and international co-operation.
Colombo dock worker were waiting in the route within the port itself, being the first "people" to greet the visiting President. As the open Humber and the colourful mounted escort approached, they clapped their hands and cheered Marshal Tito.
A big crowd lined the streets of Colombo as the President accompanied by Governor-General Sir Oliver drove in state from the quayside to Sir Oliver drove in state from the quayside to Sir Oliver's official residence.
From the open car, Marshal Tito had a first glimpse of the sights of Colombo, and saw friendly people waiting to catch a glimpse of the hero from Yugoslavia -- a sight which had heartened the Marshal in Indonesia, Burma and India.
He saw the crowded streets of Colombo, where slow moving bullock carts made their way through the city's heavy traffic; wayside markets where the people buy their fruits and vegetables.
He saw the intricately carved temples of Colombo, and the mosques nearby - an excellent example of religious co-existence.