Russia proved surprisingly cordial to Richard Nixon (see below), but Poland provided the most eye-bugging welcome an international traveler ever got.
Fearful that the Kremlin might take offense if Warsaw crowds treated Nixon too much more warmly than they recently treated Khrushchev (TIME, July 27 et seq.), Poland's Communist government had carefully kept quiet the time and place of the Vice President's arrival, and the Warsaw press said nothing about the route his party would follow into Warsaw. As further insurance, Polish Communists decreed that only 500 people would be allowed onto Babice Airport to meet him.
None of this careful planning bothered Warsaw's freedom-minded people. While Nixon in his brief arrival speech was drawing smiles from Polish officials with a tactful mention of Vice Admiral Hyman Rickover's Polish birthplace, Makowa Village, and recalling that two Polish glass blowers had been among the first settlers at Jamestown, Va., the excluded crowds waved and shouted beyond the airport gates. And when Nixon's Russian ZIS limousine started out of Babice toward the city, all semblance of formality disappeared.
The Fielder. Along the 15-mile road to Warsaw, perhaps a quarter of a million Poles waited for a glimpse of the Vice President. Ten deep in many places, they included hundreds of Polish army troops, who, in a gesture unimaginable in any other Red nation, waved right along with the civilians. And as white-helmeted motorcycle cops slowly cleared a path for Nixon's car, the crowd kept up a steady roar: "Bravo, Americans! . . . We love Americans . . . Long live Nixon . . . Long live Eisenhower!"
Standing erect, with hands stretched out toward his admirers, Nixon was hit repeatedly by bouquet after bouquet. So heavy was the rain of flowers that four times the ZIS had to be swept clean of them to leave room for its occupants.
Again the Chorus. When at last the driver of the ZIS fought his way through to Myslewicki Palace, where the Nixons were to stay, nearby windows and balconies were jammed, and at least a thousand members of the crowd managed to shove their way into the courtyard. And as Dick and Pat Nixon stood on the steps waving, the roaring chorus rose again: "Bravo, Americans!"
If ever a people voted with their throats, their eyes, their smiling faces, the residents of Communist Poland showed their preference this day.