Eisenhower and Nixon Meet in Wheeling

Wheeling Intelligencer
September 25, 1952

Crowd Cheers Dramatic Ike, Nixon Meeting

By Frank Desmond
of The Intelligencer Staff

Undoubtedly one of the most momentous incidents in the history of Wheeling was enacted shortly after the last note of ten o'clock was struck last night when General Dwight D. Eisenhower placed his right arm paternally about the shoulders of California's Senator Richard M. Nixon.

The scene was Stifel airport. The meeting took place forward in a huge DC-6B - "The Dick Nixon Special." No one knows the exact words of greeting but the warmth of the cordiality was manifest when the two emerged from the plane smiling - and with Ike's arm still about the grinning aspirant to the vice-presidency who only Tuesday night had bared with unprecedented candor his financial history from the days of his youth.

An overflow crowd stood by as they witnessed the reunion of two of the country's most outstanding figures. General Eisenhower, seeking the Presidency and the comparatively youthful Nixon who had been accused of wrongfully accepting contributions.

The drama of the meeting that followed was enacted only a few moments later when an unprecedented throng which even poured into the "apron" of the airport, acclaimed the two with resounding cheers. There were chants of "We Want "Ike" mingled with those of "We Want Nixon."

A tall girl waved a banner bearing the legend "I Like Ike - And All-American Nixon."

Mothers and fathers held their youngsters aloft to get a glimpse of Ike and the young man who had been accused of unethical methods in accepting campaign funds.

Photographers from the newspapers in many cities as well as syndicated news services illuminated the scene with their flash bulbs as admiring and cheering crowd of close to 5,000 stood by.

In the course of a mutual embrace, Nixon exclaimed humorously:

"This is something new. We've never done this before."

Even the camera men and scores of news reporters chuckled at this.

It was evident that airport officials were unprepared for the great crowd which assembled at the airfield. As one attendant remarked:

"We thought everybody would be at the stadium."

But this turned out to be untrue as word trickled about that the California Senator was speeding non-stop from Denver, Colo. at the request of General Eisenhower to met him face to face in Wheeling.

It seemed that all roads led to Stifel field. A steady stream of motor traffic to the field was interrupted shortly after nine o'clock when the sirens of motorcycle policemen heralded the arrival of Ike at the B. & O. station and verification was made of his sudden plans to meet Nixon at the airport.

Eisenhower arrived there on the dot of 9:25 as the thousands cheered. Then came a surprise. The presidential candidate decided that he and Mrs. Eisenhower would "sit it out" in their car until the arrival of Nixon's plane.

The two sat in the rear seat chatting off and on and, at times, exchanging generalities with Thomas Frame, their chauffeur, a brother of city detective James Frame.

At times, the General tapped his knees impatiently, donning and doffing his gray hat intermittently. Occasionally an overenthusiastic spectator would succeed in getting through the heavy guard line if only to wave at the distinguished guest and, each time, Ike returned the greeting.

Less than a half hour earlier, it had been decided to hold the momentous reunion on the second floor of the airport building, but a sudden change in plans, countermanded this. There was a second report that the two would meet in the McLure hotel.

During all this time, Ike was quoted as saying:

"Oh, this won't take too long. Let's sit out. It's nice and comfortable here."

Soon the drone of the big ship bearing Nixon and a score of newsmen could be heard at a distance. Ike sat complacently watching as it circled the field. Wheeling policemen and detectives, assisted by other valley authorities, joined hands in a chain to clear a path to the DC-6B and Ike was out of his car in a jiffy.

Showing no signs of his strenuous campaign, the Presidential candidate stepped nimbly to the gangway and ascended to the big cabin. He was all smiles as he disappeared inside with the cheers still resounding.

The meeting consumed but a few minutes as the two, arm in arm, emerged from the plane, posed for numerous snapshots and were off for the Wheeling stadium.

Government and Politics