Castro, Banks Discuss Ships

Source: Montreal, The Gazette, Monday, April 27, 1959, p. 3.

New CNS Deal?

Castro, Banks Discuss Ships

Fidel Castro held a closed-doors session late last night with Hal C. Banks, president of the Seafarers International Union, and there were indications they may have reached some agreement regarding the Cuban-owned former Canadian National Steamships fleet.

It was reported that Banks was accompanied by several other union officials.

The CNS sold eight ships to Cuba during a strike called by the SIU. The ships have since been tied up by further labor complications.
Banks refused to comment on the meeting.

The Cuban prime minister and the union officials reportedly decided that Cuba would make a direct approach to the Federal Government. Purpose of this approach was not immediately clear.

Earlier, at a press conference, Castro said Cuba cannot afford to have the ships idle.

“Either we want the ships operating or we would like our $500,000 back,” he declared.

“For Canada, $500,000 is not a lot of money but it is a lot of money for Cuba.”

Castro met the union officials in his suite at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel between a dinner tendered in his honor and the Chambre de Commerce des Jeunes‘ Toy Campaign dance, which he also attended.

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