JANUARY 7, 1946
LONDON—Yesterday, being Sunday, as many people as could leave London, left it for the weekend, so it seemed a very quiet place, indeed, as we emerged from the hotel after a morning of work to find a place for lunch. The American Embassy canteen was closed, so we went to the Allies Club. This is the club where they have held discussion groups from time to time, I understand, and there is a nice quiet dining room that looks out on one of those little grassy squares surrounded by similar houses which one finds so unexpectedly in London. A man came out to exercise his two Scotties and as I watched him I felt homesick for my small Scotty back in the United States. Instead of the traditional roast beef of Old England, we have a nice little fish for lunch which suited me very well but must have been hard for the British. They like to follow their traditions but have had to break so many during the war and cannot resume them even though the war is at an end.
Last evening I dined in a little house which was built out of the bombed-out kitchen of a very large mansion. What was once the kitchen and servant quarters, provides you with an entrance hall and a smaller kitchen at the left. Down two steps you come into a fair-sized living room with a fireplace and a little staircase leading to a balcony which is a dining room opening into the kitchen. A mirror cleverly placed makes it seem very spacious, and above there are two bedrooms. This type of building out of the ruins is what makes London still able to house so many people, and at the same time, gives it an air of being less scarred then one might expect after the V-1 and V-2 bombs. One notices in some places deceptive fronts still standing and it takes a second look to see that there is nothing behind.
Someone told me of an experience they had with a man who was standing looking at an empty space. He turned and seized the passerby's arm and said, "There, five years ago, a German bomb landed on a school, 1200 children were killed but no mention was ever made of the incident." Of course, the silence was for security reasons but five years later a man who may perhaps have been mourning children of his own, could feel indignation about the dropping of that bomb. Somehow it seems to me that it is this kind of indignation that should fill the heart of every delegate to this conference. War no longer deals with soldiers alone, it deals just as harshly with men, women and children and that is why, if our civilization is to continue, war must come to an end.