APRIL 22, 1943
ON BOARD THE PRESIDENT'S SPECIAL TRAIN, CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas—This is written as we leave Monterrey, Mexico, after some very busy hours. The President was greeted here by the President of Mexico. Though the news of his visit had only been announced at noon, the streets were lined with people as we drove to the Governor's Palace. The two Presidents stood side by side on the balcony and reviewed the Mexican First Division, followed by some cavalry troops, which were as beautifully mounted as any I have ever seen.
Our two small grandchildren, Chandler and Elliott, Junior, were fascinated and stood in front of the Foreign Minister and me. They watched with wide eyes the veteran division with a few of the young men brought in under conscription, passing by.
Besides the military bands, there was in the square across from us, a real Mexican orchestra playing some of the haunting Mexican songs which, as the Foreign Minister murmured in my ear, are meant for moments of peace and reflection, such as seranades at midnight.
Later, in a great field out at the military camp, the children of the School of Monterrey, gave an exhibition which they dedicated to me. Girls in costume danced very charmingly, and then to music, thousands of boys and girls went through a drill with poles and dumbbells. One group sang a beautiful song called "Americas Immortal," which was written by a Mexican author and dedicated to all the Americas.
The pupils of a military school went through some very excellent drills. The little boys at the end of the line were hardly able to handle their guns, and yet manfully tried to keep in step.
I drove with the President of Mexico's wife, Madame Avila Camacho and liked her very much. Except for a very few words, which I managed to acquire as a result of my few Spanish lessons, our conversation was carried on through an interpreter.
We ladies went shopping for an hour and returned to the military academy in time for dinner. I do not think I have ever seen more beautifully arranged flowers than those which decorated the tables. I was only grieved that my Spanish was not up to understanding all of President Avila Camacho's speech.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs told me he hoped both speeches would be translated in Mexico and the United States, for this was a real occasion, since the Presidents of our two countries had not met face to face in 34 years. It seems a long time for countries not to bring their chief executives together when they are next door neighbors.
For our grandchildren it was a great day, perhaps their first lesson in Pan-American friendship. Let us hope that in their generation this friendly gesture will grow to very active cooperation for the mutual benefit of Mexico and the United States and all the other American republics.