DECEMBER 8, 1948
PARIS, Tuesday—With the end of our meetings now definitely in sight, we have started to pack our belongings for the trip home. Pictures and books, which have been given to me and which have been accumulated over the past few months, are much too interesting to leave behind and will, I am sure, be of value in the library and in the school at Hyde Park. As Miss Thompson looked at the cartons being filled, however, she remarked that when she and Buzz Boettiger are getting off the ship they would look like old-time immigrants with all their belongings in bags and boxes hung around their persons.
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On Sunday at tea time I invited two girls who are studying here at the Sorbonne and who come from the State of Washington to come in to see me. They had been introduced to me by Mrs. Overton G. Ellis, who is a friend of mine at home.
It was most interesting to get their reactions to life over here. They brought with them another young American girl who is over here with her husband, studying under the G.I. Bill of Rights. They all have gotten over their first dislike of Paris, and now they love it as a city.
All of them regretted that they did not know more young French people, and I hope as a result of our visit they will get to meet a few. One of the girls, a WAC during the war, worked with German youth and is going back to spend Christmas and to renew her contacts with them. When she has learned to speak French fluently and has finished her course in French civilization, she hopes to teach in the U.S. or in Germany. She would like to see that young Germans are sent to the U.S. to learn what living in a free country means, and she has hopes for German youth as a whole.
I think all these young people are going to learn a great deal and be valuable citizens when they return home. They want to travel while they are here. They have a real desire to know the people of these European countries, and they have a sympathy for their problems, which they would never have had without their war experience and this postwar period of study.
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Senator and Mrs. Robert Taft are in Paris and I was told that they had a delightful time in The Netherlands. A group of seven Senators have been touring Europe on behalf of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. They are visiting Army installations and, I am sure, looking into the work of the European Recovery Program.
I used to think these trips did not accomplish a great deal for the taxpayers, who foot the bills, but I have come to feel differently about them. I think there is probably nothing more educational than that these men, who have to decide on spending the people's money for our vast foreign programs, should know what goes on and be able to enlighten their constituents. Otherwise, their continuing interest in the problems of the rest of the world would not be an easy thing to achieve.