FEBRUARY 7, 1952
PARIS, Wednesday—I attended the opening of the United States Information Service and Library here. Located on the lower floor of the Hotel Astoria, it is very accessible to the street and is well arranged and well lighted. Mrs. David Bruce, wife of our Ambassador to France was there, as well as a number of French dignitaries, and everyone seemed interested and pleased with the way this service is being carried out.
The bureau will furnish information on almost any subject dealing with America and those who are interested to learn more about the United States may do so there. I even found a section of magazines and books on American cooking—and that is unusual for Paris. If any American gets tired of French cooking he can go in there and look at some of the articles, with illustrations, and he will be wafted right back to different parts of the U.S. and see Boston baked beans or Maryland fried chicken.
After leaving there I went for a few minutes to the reception of the Pakistan delegation and then back to our hotel. After a hurried glance at the mail and an accumulation of telephone messages that had come in during the day, we had a quick dinner and I went back to the Palais de Chaillot for a television recording.
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I was very grieved to hear yesterday of the passing of Harold Ickes. My husband had a real fondness for the "Old Curmudgeon," as he sometimes called him when Mr. Ickes was being somewhat positive in his statements.
No one ever denied Mr. Ickes' forthrightness or his courage. He made for himself a place in American public life where he was fully respected and very much liked. All of us will want to extend to his wife and children our great sympathy in their loss, which not only is a personal loss but a loss that will be felt as removing from public life an always colorful and interesting figure.
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The other day I had a talk with a Mme. Marcel Ferrieres and Mme. Robert Delmas, the latter the president of a group that has been organized in the interest of those who were deported or interned because of their Resistance activities during World War II.
They have just founded a branch in the U.S. and are hoping to get financial aid from there as well as to increase the understanding of the problem that faces the women who were deported or interned during the Resistance. Some of them suffered because their activities were undertaken in the interests of our own country or of our allies.
Many of them needed complete physical and spiritual rehabilitation after they returned to France. Some of them were not able to go back to the occupations they had carried on before the war and had to be trained and reclassified for new work. Many of them have to be helped by the government or by special agencies until they are able to resume their normal lives. Some of them found their families wiped out or their homes destroyed and without the understanding help given them by the association they would be desperate.
When you hear of the American branch I hope you will remember what I have written because in many instances it was the assistance of these women in sheltering our aviators who had come down in their territory and who were injured or ill which led to their imprisonment or deportation.