AUGUST 26, 1944
HYDE PARK, Friday—This is one of those wonderful early autumn days when the sun is warm and the air is cool. One of the children and I followed two young "hares," who ran ahead of us and tried to lose us, all the way to the top of the hills behind the cottage, and we came down again pretending we were automobiles carrying various kinds of cargo. We were quite surprised to find a real truck blocking the road, and some men working among the Christmas trees. They must have thought we were behaving peculiarly!
The war has moved so fast in the last few days that one can hardly take it in. For the French people themselves to have freed Paris must be a source of great joy to them. The problems already reported of feeding and providing adequate protection for such a big city, however, are certainly going to be difficult, even though the French seem quite able to undertake their own civilian government. Many people have thought that it would take a long time for the French people to recover sufficiently from the past few years' hardships to be able to carry the responsibility of local government. But as one reads of the way the cities are rising and taking control, that theory seems to vanish into thin air.
There will be great want, however. The need for clothing, food, medicines, tool replacements, household goods, machinery, will be extremely difficult to fill. Certainly, the meetings at Dumbarton Oaks cannot move too quickly to meet this European situation as it shapes up now. There will be a tremendous urgency, as well, for Governor Lehman and the UNRRA to gather their supplies as quickly as possible and get them to the points where they will be needed most.
Paris has always been a symbol, and now that it is again a city where Frenchmen are free, I feel that the whole nation must breathe a sigh of relief and hope. They have much to do to get their house in order. They not only have prisoners of war still in Germany, but also all their young people who were taken for forced labor in Germany. These young people, who are so necessary for the work to be done at home, will not be back for some time; and when they do come, it may take them a long time to recover from the hardships which they have been through. In spite of all that, French people everywhere must be happier today than they have been in many long months.
We, in this country, have always had an admiration and an affection for the French people and for their culture, and we wish them well. Their comeback will be a courageous one, and their eminence in the intellectual and artistic fields will, I am sure, rapidly reestablish itself.