JULY 5, 1950
LONDON—Yesterday morning I started for Ruislip at 9:15 and had an opportunity to talk with our Airforce personnel stationed there. On my return I went to the Women's Voluntary Service office to see what new things they had developed in the way of handwork for sale in the United States. This is the ordinary housewife's contribution, through her skill to export their handwork, to increase the dollars available to Great Britain. They certainly do very beautiful work. There is a great gratification, of course, over the sale of Queen Mary's carpet to Canada, and the possibility of even more money coming in as ways of using the designs in this carpet are developed.
We lunched with our Ambassador, Mrs. Douglas and their family. They were already preparing for the 4th of July which always means a large influx of Americans to be greeted at the Embassy. Both of them were looking forward to this opportunity of seeing many of their compatriots, and I think they welcome the increased number of tourists here, because the interchange and cooperation between our two countries is valuable in every field.
The Lord Mayor presided at the WVS meeting in the afternoon, and 67 mayors of Greater London attended with their wives. I was interested to hear of the plans to raise a fund for a building in which Great Britain will offer hospitality to students coming to this country from their Dominions and from the United States. This fund is being raised out of gratitude for the help given not only during the war, but since the war, when the people of Great Britain have voluntarily endured so many hardships.
It was an inspiring meeting, and Lady Reading made a fine speech. It is a great tribute to the women of Great Britain that they have continued to give, day in and day out, full days of voluntary service to meet the constant needs of recovery. Now, they are organizing extensively in civilian defense, and naturally the habit of giving service makes it easier for them to plan their lives to be available for a stated number of hours on given days. One young woman told me she worked eight hours a day, five days a week, as well as attending to her own household duties. This is proof, I think, that service in itself brings a sufficient reward, for most of these workers are unpaid.
At dinner the other evening I met a number of British women doing interesting work in their own country, and some of them plan to visit the United States in the coming year. Dame Myra Hess will give a concert tour. Dame Edith Evans is bringing over a play to Broadway in September. Miss Florence Hancock is coming over to the AF of L convention, and Professor Barbara Wooton is coming to lecture. This inter course between our two countries is very valuable, and I hope that we will send equally good representatives to England.
Now that I have been in Englang several days I think I can give you a fairly accurate picture in regard to her present state of recovery. It seems to me that while the country as a whole is not yet over some of the results of the war, there is, nevertheless, a great improvement in the conditions under which people live. They are better housed, they can eat better in spite of certain restrictions that still exist. In any good restaurant you can get a very palatable meal, not quite as lavish, perhaps, as the food in Paris, but British cooking was never the same as French cooking. It is not, however, as expensive as some of the better restaurants in Paris, and I do not think that any tourists will find a visit to Great Britain a hardship.