President Dwight Eisenhower watched the 1953 documentary Mahatma Gandhi: 20th Century Prophet at the DuPont Theatre in Washington, D.C. on February 10, 1953.
Eisenhower watched the movie with India’s ambassador to the U.S., Gaganvihari Lallibhai Mehta. The ambassador would later become the subject of a national controversy in August of 1955 after he was refused restaurant service at the Houston airport during a layover. Houston, like the rest of the south, had strict segregation laws under Jim Crow. The refusal of service was considered an international embarrassment for the Eisenhower administration, which hadn’t made civil rights a priority. It was also a national embarrassment for Houston because the airport had just celebrated the 40th anniversary of it being a “world port” the night before, as Anke Ortlepp notes in the 2017 book Jim Crow Terminals: The Desegregation of American Airports.
President Eisenhower visited India in 1959. He wasn’t denied service anywhere in the country.