SEPTEMBER 24, 1948
PARIS, Thursday—The first day of the United Nations General Assembly meeting here was a somewhat busy one for me. After breakfast and after exchanging our registration blanks and passports for our ration cards, we met three of our colleagues outside the hotel to proceed to our offices at the Hotel D'Iena. With considerable beckoning we managed to attract the attention of an old taxi driver who was piloting a taxi labelled U.S.A. In no time at all we found ourselves driven around to the Palais de Chaillot, where the General Assembly meetings will be held and where we did not want to go at all at this time. Our chauffeur remedied that immediately, however.
This short, unscheduled sightseeing trip gave us our first glimpse of Paris again, and we rediscovered that it is really beautiful. The Place de la Concorde looks very much as I had always remembered it and the first impression is that the city was little touched by the war. In the hotel housing our offices, however, one immediately senses that there has been little opportunity to make improvements over the past several years. Noticeable immediately is the scarcity of office items and the poor quality of the writing paper and the total absence of soap.
I left Miss Thompson and Buzzie Boettiger to get things in order while I hastened into another office for the first meeting of our delegation. This was a short session, and I left hurriedly, realizing that my work was cut out for me for the rest of the morning since I had a speech to redictate in French and had only one secretary who could take it down.
We finished at 2:25, and now, according to my whirlwind schedule, I had to get something to eat and get to the Palais de Chaillot by 3 o'clock for the General Assembly meeting.
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At the Palais de Chaillot, to my joy, I was greeted by one of the attendants who was at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, and who remembered me from the sessions of the Human Rights Commission held there last December. I timidly asked him if there was any place I could get something to eat in 15 minutes. He directed me to the staff cafeteria across the court, and I found my way between delegates' cars that were streaming in.
At the cafeteria they gave me a plate of pea soup and a piece of dark bread, which is everybody's fare here, and they kept pressing more food upon me which, of course, I did not have time to eat. When I tried to pay they did not want to take any money because I had eaten so little, and I had to leave my money on the table. Thanking my hosts, I dashed back to the theatre-meeting hall just five minutes before the session opened.
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We left the meeting hall at 7:30, and while two of my colleagues were finding a car to take me back to my hotel I was able to greet the delegates from the Soviet Union, headed by Andrei Y. Vishinsky, whom I met at the door and outside the building.
Once back at the hotel, Miss Thompson and my grandson and I went to the only place for dinner that we had time for—the grill. But we enjoyed it very much and by 9 o'clock I was back in my room for an appointment with three of my associates. We worked till 10:30 o'clock before deciding we had had a full day.
So, how would you like to be a lady delegate to the U.N. on the U.S. delegation? It is interesting, but somewhat exhausting in spots.