JUNE 6, 1950
OSLO, Norway, Monday—At 5:45 the air hostess woke me with a tumbler of orange juice and cheerfully said "we are landing at Prestwick in eight minutes." I contemplated trying to sleep a little longer and then decided it would be interesting to see how Prestwick looked in peace time, having seen it last in 1942.
As we landed I saw a group of people standing at the gate, among them a gentleman with a very imposing chain around his neck. I realized that this indicated an official welcome. At this early hour it seemed almost impossible, but there was the Provost of Prestwick and his wife, and our Consul and his wife. Tea, toast and marmalade followed for all of us, and during this interval I found myself making polite conversation—and a little surprised at being able to carry on. They were so kind and said it would have been a disappointment if I had not emerged from the plane as, in order to greet me, they had given up several hours of Sunday morning slumber.
The airport at Gander has been spruced up considerably. And it is far better prepared to take care of all the large numbers requiring meals than when I went through last.
A Pan American Airline pilot who happened to be there on a rest stop-over, came up and reminded me that many years ago he had been copilot on the plane that I had taken to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with a group of newspaper women. Now he is flying regularly across the ocean. Our Scandinavian pilot did every possible kind of flying during the war, first with the Norwegians and later with the British. We were on time everywhere in spite of a slight delay of some fifteen or twenty minutes in Gander.
As we approached the coast of Norway I could see why so many people have told me that our Northern New England coast resembles this Southwest Norwegian coast. The trees and rocks come right down to the water. In many of the fjords the deep water comes right up to the shore. The Oslo Fjord is long and steep in places.
We landed at the airport in Oslo at 9:45 a.m. and were met by Crown Prince Olaf and the Crown Princess, Colonel and Mrs. Ostgaard, Ambassador and Mrs. Bay and members of the Roosevelt Memorial Committee.
I was told by a Douglas aircraft executive who travelled around Europe last summer, studying various airplane companies, that the Scandinavian Line was very well run. Their service is among the best on any line. I can only say they gave us delicious food and every comfort. The newspaper men greeted us in Gardetmoen and Monday I am to have a press conference here. The photographers greeted us and were almost as numerous as they would have been in the United States. They took pictures in the plane, as we entered the Crown Prince's home and out on the terrace. The photographs were ready for inspection after lunch with His Majesty King Haakon.
It is all very pleasant, peaceful and unhurried today. I have already gathered some impressions about the recovery effort made in Norway which I will tell you about tomorrow.