OCTOBER 18, 1949
NEW YORK, Monday—Yesterday was a very interesting Sunday. Our Episcopal service was held a half hour earlier than usual so that the members of the church who wished to go down to meet Prime Minister Nehru of India could be there by 12 o'clock. He and his sister and daughter and their party arrived a little early and were going through the library together with several thousand other people when I reached there from church.
When a man is being taken from one engagement to another as rapidly as the Prime Minister is being whisked about, museums must seem to him the last necessary activity. He did, however, say that it was a wonderful thing to see in a museum the life of a man reconstructed so that the public could watch it step by step.
As soon as he had seen a few things on the first floor we walked over to the grave where he laid a beautiful white wreath. I was grateful that it was a good day because a journey of 75 miles by automobile and back to New York City again can be pretty wearing if the weather is gray and cold. But there was sun yesterday and the trees still look lovely, so that I felt the Prime Minister and his sister, Mrs. V. L. Pandit, who is the Ambassador from India to the United States, and his daughter, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, could get some real enjoyment out of their drive.
We walked from the grave over to the house where the State Department had arranged that I should formally receive the Prime Minister on the steps and he should answer so that the "Voice of America" would carry this ceremony to many lands. It was a surprise to me when I arrived to meet him that this would be done and I don't think he was forewarned either, so I can only hope everything went satisfactorily to him.
We went through the house rather quickly and then he and his sister and daughter came back to my cottage for lunch. Just my son's house guests and my own and Henry Morgenthau, Jr., our near neighbor, were here for lunch.
For 20 minutes before the Prime Minister left, other near neighbors came in to have the honor of meeting him and to speak their good wishes. It is inspiring to feel how much interest there is in even being able to see this man from such a faraway country. Many people have read a great deal about him, but they never before have felt very close. In spite of that, he seems to have impressed his personality upon the people of the United States until we are convinced that he is one of the people we must know.
I have always thought, ever since I first saw him, that he gave one a sense of being a calm center no matter how much of a storm raged around him. That is no less my impression even now. He is a great and strong man—sensitive and gentle as well. But I felt yesterday we were perhaps not giving him as much time as he might like quietly to take in learning what the people of this country are really like. We move him from one conference with the great and powerful to another—and I think he might like a little quiet just to receive impressions.