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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

September 19, 1960: Castro Moves to Harlem, Eisenhower Calls Visiting Heads of State 'Troublemakers'

Fidel Castro left his hard-won accommodations at the Shelburne Hotel in midtown Manhattan this evening, complaining to Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold of the hotel's "unacceptable cash demands." He threatened to sleep at the UN, or in Central Park: "We are mountain people. We are used to sleeping in the open air."

Castro compained of a "climate of inhospitality" in the city and at the Shelburne, where his delegation was asked to put up $10,000 cash to cover their twenty rooms and insure against damage. The Cubans were unable to raise the money and objected that it was unfair. Castro and his entourage were offered rooms in Harlem, at the Theresa Hotel.

Speaking with Negro reporters in his suite there, one of 40 rooms the delegation took, he said the people of Harlem would be more sympathetic to Cuban revolutionaries. Cheering crowds had greeted Castro on his arrival at the hotel.

"In the Theresa suite early today Dr. Castro received a group of Negro reporters and a leader of the so-called Muslim movement among United States Negroes, who calls himself Malcolm X," the New York Times reported the next day.

President Eisenhower, speaking to the American Nationalities for Nixon-Lodge Committee, referred to "troublemakers trying to come to our country," without explicitly naming Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Fidel Castro.

Secretary of State Christian Herter reiterated today that Eisenhower and Khrushchev would not meet when the two men were in New York.

On landing at New York harbor Khrushchev invited Eisenhower to join him in summit talks at the United Nations. "The danger over hanging the world requires a new effort to reduce tensions and to achieve agreement on disarmament," Khrushchev said.

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