DECEMBER 19, 1951
PARIS, Tuesday—I just received a most welcome gift, Bess Furman's book called, "White House Profile," a social history of the White House, its occupants and its festivities. I have just glanced through it hurriedly and I think it will make fascinating reading. I am going to take it on the flight home just in case I can't sleep the whole way, but I hope it won't be so exciting that it will keep me awake!
We again saw the Palais Chaillot fountains on display and attended a concert given in honor of Human Rights Day, which was established three years ago when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was accepted in the General Assembly by 48 nations.
The National Orchestra and the Choir of the French radio gave us a wonderful program, starting with the "Carnaval Romain" by Berlioz, "Prelude a l'Apres-Midi d'un Faune" by Debussy, and "Daphne and Chloe" by Ravel. Then the President of the General Assembly, Dr. Luis Padilla Nervo spoke, followed by Mr. Rene Pleven, President of the Council of Ministers of the French Republic.
After a short intermission the orchestra and choir gave "Osaume," in which the soprano solo was sung by Genevieve Moizan, with Jeanne Baudry-Godard at the organ. This part of the concert was broadcast and it was very beautiful. I loved the organ and thought it added a great deal.
Late as we were in leaving the concert, Mr. and Mrs. Porter McKeever and I stopped for a short time at the Anglo-American annual Press Ball. It was a brilliant and lovely sight in the George V. Hotel.
I cannot help feeling that the subcommittee which has been discussing the establishment of a commission on disarmament and control of the weapons of war has made some progress. I think the commission will be established and be able to begin its negotiations in the New Year.
I feel that the Soviet Union will work with them because I cannot see how she can justify not doing so. What will be arrived at is impossible to foretell, but we may be sure it will be a long and tedious and painful business for this commission and its members. Our prayers should be with them, since on their success hangs much of the future happiness of the world.
I was talking the other day to a young Sicilian artist, Count Massimo Filo Della Torre, who is passionately devoted to the island of Sicily and its people. He is most anxious to visit and lecture in the United States and tell us all about the beauties, the art and the history to be found in Sicily. He wants Americans to come to the Sicilian art festivals and he thinks it is a shame that so many of us go as far as Naples but never to Palermo or Taormina. He brought me a most engaging sample of Sicilian handicraft and told me of many things made by hand on the little island. He was so interesting in his talk that I feel sure if he does visit America he will fire many people with a desire to attend future festivals in Sicily.