DECEMBER 6, 1949
NEW YORK, Monday—I had an interesting trip to Worcester, Mass., the other day on my way to Groton School. Across the aisle on the train sat two gentlemen who talked in German. I suppose I looked at them with interest because in a few minutes one of them got up and came over to me.
"May I introduce you," he said, "to the president of the Free University of Berlin. He landed five hours ago in this country and I am now accompanying him to Harvard where he is going to lecture on Goethe."
I was interested to meet him. He told me how he had been dismissed from office by Hitler and how, when he was free again, he had arranged with General McCloy to start the university. His group began with about 2,000 students, but today they have over 5,000. He knew the Countess von Moltke, who also is over here, as I mentioned last week, lecturing to raise the money for an exchange of students between the United States and Germany.
He said most of his democratic friends had died during the Hitler period.
He was full of vigor, in spite of his 65 years, and seemed full of hope that the next generation of German youth might learn to live with the rest of the world on equal terms instead of trying to conquer the world as a master race.
I hope he is right. Germany in the center of Europe is of importance to every nation in Europe and of vast importance to the peace of the world in the future. If the Communists could carry it their way, it would give them a great advantage. If however, Germany stays with the democracies of the West, it will turn the tide our way. Certainly, it would lead to greater stability and greater security on the part of the Western states if Germany showed signs of wishing to live in peace with all of her neighbors.
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The Groton boys to whom I spoke in the evening were a very good audience. The chairs are extremely uncomfortable and holding the attention of an audience ranging in age from 12 years to 60 is not an easy task. I was very much afraid that at some point I would lose the interest of some of the boys. But if they were not interested, they still managed to contain themselves and when the question period came they were full of questions.
Even after we adjourned to the big room in the main building and all the small fry had gone to bed, the older boys kept on asking questions. I think we would have gone on talking for a long time if John Crocker, head of the school, had not realized it was 11 o'clock and late for the boys and fairly late for us as I had to leave fairly early Sunday morning.
I left via Worcester and on Sunday afternoon I went to tea with my old friend, Mrs. Elizabeth von Hesse, who helped me to learn to control my voice and keep it from skipping up into the higher registers. She had a number of her friends at tea and I enjoyed my time with her very much. I particularly liked the music, which was rendered by a group of four who did some songs from a musical play the words of which Maxida von Hesse had written.