FEBRUARY 5, 1949
NEW YORK, FRIDAY—I went yesterday to the luncheon given to the French Ambassador and the officials who arrived with the Train of Gratitude from France. They all were deeply moved by the enthusiasm shown along their march, particularly the welcome given by the children. Since the children of France received with such gratitude the Friendship Train which Drew Pearson originated and accompanied to Europe, it was fitting that there should be special thought given to America's children on this returning train.
The speeches at the lunch were brief, for the guests were a little late in reaching the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, but there was great good feeling in the room, and I cannot think of a gesture which could have been made by the French people which would do more to draw together the people of the United States and the people of France.
One of the organizers of the idea in France told me a charming story of a little orphan girl who dressed a doll most beautifully and then found there was no money for the doll's wig and as she had pretty curls, she cut them off to make the doll's hair.
There are representatives of labor, of industry, of the government and of the veterans of the war accompanying the train, and I feel sure that the results will be to spread and to revitalize the traditional friendships between our two peoples.
The papers have been full of Mr. Stalin's answers to one of our newspaper correspondent's questions, but I can't see that he said very much more than he has said in the past. I never remember a statement from Marshal Stalin in which he did not say that he wanted peace, that he thought we should do some more talking, and that his doctors would not allow him to leave his own country.
That last statement always interests me, since if you passionately want to achieve an objective, it seems to me that you take risks, and make sacrifices. That I think would be the feeling of any American soldier or statesman. My husband always said that one of the best places he knew for international meetings was the Azores! You do not have to fly over any mountains and the trip could be made easily.
This meeting should not be a meeting just between the United States and the USSR. It should be a meeting of the representatives of the five great powers and the first thing on the agenda should be the writing of the peace for Europe.
The article published by the German paper which set out the USSR suggestions for settlement is amusing because it contains the usual USSR idea of compromise. You give up everything on your side and agree with the USSR on all points and then the compromise is accepted.
I want very much to see steps taken to bring about a better understanding between the USA and the USSR, but I want them to have some semblance of real compromise and I cannot see that a flat decision that we must meet in USSR territory or that we must accept USSR terms laid down beforehand, holds out much hope for any results. Both of us must go halfway and I am sure the USA will go its full halfway.