JANUARY 15, 1952
PARIS, Monday—I attended a meeting of representatives of national women's organizations of France, with some representatives of international groups, the other day and I was glad to see again Madame De Boel who has for so long headed the International Women's Groups. I feel sure that these associations of women tend to have a very great influence on life in Europe, but I doubt if any of them take a sufficiently active part in politics to make them a great factor in the political picture.
I have a feeling that it is a rather new experience for women to work in groups in European countries, except in charitable organizations, and it is really a fairly new idea to have women accepting civic responsibilities.
Another group of women, representing national and international organizations of 15 countries, met here earlier this month. Many of them were elected members of parliaments in their countries. They set down certain principles and passed resolutions that would put them, I think, back of a world government movement.
These women's groups included certain Communist organizations and, though I do not believe that some of the aims can be achieved for a very long time, still I was interested that they could get as many of their points accepted while in meeting with Communist women's organizations.
The situation in France, which leaves this country without a government at the present time, is nothing very strange, for the French people go through it periodically. Someone remarked today that heads of governments change frequently but that ministers always retain their jobs. And I suppose this is the only way that the French government can operate.
On Friday evening I dined with Mr. and Mrs. Charles Malik and Dr. and Mrs. Azkoul of Lebanon. I went over in a tentative way my plans for visiting Lebanon and to get their advice and arrange to see as much as possible during my stay in their country.
It may be possible for me, on trips to other places, to go through the hometowns of both of these gentlemen and that would give me the opportunity perhaps of seeing and living in a real home. This is one of the things I would particularly like to do in every country I visit. Hotels and official residences rarely give one an idea of how the people of a country really live.
The telephone rang today while I was at luncheon and I was told New York was calling. My heart stood still, for at first one nearly always thinks of bad news. But this time it was very good news. It was my son, Franklin Jr., announcing the birth of his first daughter and my 18th grandchild. I am delighted it is a little girl since he has two boys and this will give them a baby sister—perhaps to spoil.