DECEMBER 7, 1940
LAREDO, Texas, Friday—We went without lunch yesterday, because, on arrival in Laredo, I found a whole delegation waiting to receive me. I went right in to shake hands with everyone and to listen to a group of three musicians who were playing most delightfully. Then, for a few minutes, I talked with quite a large group of the press, not only from here, but from various neighboring places.
After that, a Mexican delegation, which had come to greet me, appeared. The Mexican Consul suggested that we might like to cross the border to see Nuevo Laredo, which lies just across it. The Mayor of Nuevo Laredo was most kind, and it was very interesting to see the new municipal building in which their offices are soon to be housed.
They have space enough here to erect beautiful arched balconies to keep the sun away from the rooms inside. It certainly makes a charming architectural effect. The park in front is not yet finished, but if the present one which lies at some distance is an indication of what this new one will be like, I am sure many people will enjoy its flowers and loll in the shade of its trees.
We were shown the waterworks and a most beautiful municipal swimming pool, where I was told that many of the children from the United States side of the river come to swim. The water and electric light plants are municipally owned, which means, they tell me, good lighting for the streets. We shopped in one or two shops, bought some delightful French perfume, a few pieces of Mexican silver jewelry and some Indian weaving.
Then we went back across the border and we settled down to a little work on mail, but even as we worked we enjoyed the many lovely flowers which filled our rooms. A most beautiful platter of grapefruit with a basket of oranges, grapes and dates reminded us that this is the land of fruit. The dates had no pits and tasted particularly good. A most wonderful basket with different kinds of candies and fruits is going back with us on the plane, so that others in the household at home may enjoy it with me. So many people have sent us various kinds of remembrances, that we found it very difficult to close our bags this morning.
My lecture last night was on a new subject: "Strengthening the Bonds of Friendship Between the Americas by Cultural Ties." I felt that there were a number of people who could have talked with more authority and greater knowledge. I enjoyed, however, being able to give expression to my belief that the development of our cultural relations is basic to any political and economic understanding.
If we are to defend ourselves in this hemisphere and preserve our democracy, we must have unity in the Americas. That will only come through the understanding of our various cultures.
We leave in a few minutes to drive to San Antonio, from where we expect to fly back to Washington.