JANUARY 19, 1952
PARIS, Friday—I was talking today with a Frenchman and remarked that I wondered how the government was able to keep up the very wonderful public buildings that make Paris such a beautiful city but which must require tremendous sums of money to keep in repair. Most of them are old buildings which have be renovated and we all know what happens when we put "new wine into old bottles."
The gentleman said that one of the most serious difficulties in France was the fact that there are so many chateaux, small and large, that belong to individuals which cost these people huge sums of money to keep up on neither the public nor the private buildings, which are open to the public, do the admissions charged begin to cover the upkeep and running expenses.
He told me that last summer many of these places adopted a custom practiced at the Louvre where on a scheduled number of Friday nights particular exhibits of sculpture are displayed. In the Loire area both private and government chateaux were illuminated on specific dates. He said tourists came from far and near to see the sight because it was so very beautiful.
These expenses are similar to those with which England has been coping for some time. There, to a great extent, many of the big castles and country houses have been turned over to the government because the owners could not afford to keep them up and pay the taxes. That may well be one way of regulating such properties, but it must make it expensive for the government, and if the government maintains them all the people must pay more taxes to make up the funds, anyway. Possessions can become a burden.
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We actually began in Committee Three to vote on a few of resolutions presented on the draft of the Covenant of Human Rights. Most of them simply direct the Human Rights Commission to continue its work and to draw up one covenant including all rights. Amendments deal with the possibility of having two convenants drawn up simultaneously and presented and ratified as the various governments desire.
I feel that if the separation between civil, economic and political rights is not made it will take much longer to have one covenant adopted.
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A clipping was sent to me advising me of the recent passing of James Reynolds.
Mr. Reynolds went with us from New York to Washington and was one of the White House butlers for a number of years until he found it better, on account of his health, to take other employment at the time of my husband's death. He was always a willing worker and I was very sorry to read about his death.
As I do not know the addresses of his brother and sister, I want to express here my appreciation for what he did in the way of service during the years he was with us.
I was also deeply grieved to read of the death of Antonie Strassmann, who was one of Germany's first women fliers. She had a colorful career in aviation and when she settled in the United States she was a very ardent admirer of my husband and his policies.
I found her a very lovely and inspiring person and was always glad when something brought us together. She was only 50 years old and that seems so young an age to be called by death. I regret that she did not have more years to enjoy the country life, which seemed to mean so much to her, and the free air of the U.S., which she so deeply appreciated.