NOVEMBER 29, 1947
NEW YORK, Friday—Today I am flying to Europe and, if all goes well, in somewhere around 24 hours I will find myself in Geneva, Switzerland. What a wonderful thing air transportation is! It permitted me to have my Thanksgiving celebration at Hyde Park with some of my family and friends; and after I reach Geneva, I should have a whole day to rest and get organized for the opening of the Human Rights Commission meeting on Monday morning. I shall write rather carefully of the progress which we make in our work, for I think all of us have a very vital interest in following this work.
It is some time since I have taken a flight overseas; in fact, not since I came back from the first meeting of the General Assembly in London early in 1946. That seems a long time ago and I have curiously mixed feelings about this present flight. In some ways it seems entirely casual and I have made little more preparation for this trip than I would if I were going down to Washington for a few days, and yet in other ways it seems rather a momentous journey.
Except for the few days spent in Germany at the end of the General Assembly in 1946, I have not been in Europe since the war. At that time I felt everything around me was crumbling. But people whom I have seen who went to Switzerland last winter said that they were not conscious of any reminders of war, that it seemed just normal atmosphere. I cannot help believing, however, that one gets some feeling, even in that embattled little nation, of the atmosphere existing in the countries around it. I am anxious to get first-hand impressions.
It is, of course, known that Switzerland has been the depository of a considerable amount of German wealth and I imagine there are many refugees of various kinds still making their homes in that country. My time is so short that I shall not stop in any other country, so I will have to make the best of whatever contacts I can have during my short stay in Geneva.
There is always a little excitement about going off to a new job, but as I grow older I find that I regret the things I leave behind. The lovely pink light in the sunrise sky as I awake on my porch at Hyde Park, the morning walks in the woods with a little black dog cavorting happily beside me or dashing off after the squirrels, the beautiful bluebird I saw unexpectedly take wing across my brook the other day, the family and friends I like to have around me, the Christmas preparation which I enjoy—all these are hard to leave. Only the sense of something tangible accomplished, that may be of value in the future, will seem to me to make this trip worthwhile.