JANUARY 28, 1946
LONDON—On Friday I went to lunch with Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin at the House of Commons.
We walked through the Great Hall, which is the oldest part of that great building built by William Rufus. It was spared much harm from bombing, even though the section of the building in which the House of Commons sat was destroyed. I think this Great Hall is one of the really majestic buildings in the world; the roof, I believe, is the greatest single, unsupported arch of any building in Europe. Senator Townsend and I, walking through together, were wondering how we would find our destination, when a member of Parliament, who evidently was also in the RAF, kindly came to our rescue and took us all the way through the maze of corridors and stairs to the dining room.
I had often been in the House of Commons before, but never happened to have a meal there. Tea on the terrace has always been something I've read about in a book, and lunch in one of the little dining rooms was an entirely new experience. I am told that during the bombings the Speaker always sent the members down into these rooms for shelter, but I doubt very much whether they were greatly protected. The windows look out on the terrace, and beyond is the river.
Lunch was very pleasant sitting between Mr. Bevin and Mr. Lie of Norway and talking to the delegate from Mexico across the table. He reminded me of the old days in Washington when he brought his children to the Easter egg rolling on the White House lawn, and we both hoped that the traditional egg rolling would begin again this year, now that the war is over. It is a little hard on the White House lawn, but it does give a great many children something to remember for the rest of their lives.
As we came out from lunch, we saw a baby in a basket waiting with its parents in the hall. For a moment I wondered just why a baby should be there! Then Mr. Bevin reminded me that down in the crypt there is a church, and when Members of Parliament come in and bow to the Speaker they are really bowing to what was once an altar. I remembered then that I had once seen this church, and I think it a rather nice idea that people come to be married and to christen their babies in the same building where the laws of their land are made.
Later in the afternoon I went to the English Speaking Union for a reception given by the National Council of Women of Great Britain. A great many representatives of various women's organizations were there. As so often happens, I think a difference of opinion is developing among the various groups of women as to the exact representation or affiliation they desire to have with the UNO. I myself believe the important thing is to stress the attitude taken in the very beginning of the UNO Charter, which reaffirms "faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small." This really means, I think, that women should come in on an equal basis—not even as specialized groups, unless they are representing some particular objective. Their influence should be felt as delegates, alternates and advisers.
Among the women now here are economists, lawyers and social workers, all leaders and experts in their various fields. With this type of representation, I believe, women really achieve what they want, which is to have on all important subjects the point of view of both men and women who are working together to frame the policies of the organization.