FEBRUARY 11, 1952
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Sunday—Yesterday at noon I left Paris by air for Beirut. There is always a little sadness when one leaves that city. Paris is like a very beautiful woman with an infinite variety of changes in her face. There is a Paris one sees in the rain that is very cold and wet and not very inviting. Then there is a Paris under a blue sky, with fleecy white clouds, which is incomparably smiling and inviting. Her buildings take on color in the early morning light, and to stand on one of the bridges looking over the Seine at sunset time is an unforgettable enjoyment.
I love France and its people and I hate to leave, but I know that I shall be returning. France has not yet achieved full stability. The scars are still so very visible, not only in the physical destruction but in the rings of the soul. Nevertheless the French people are a great people. The fine French mind is lucid, analytical, philosophical and altogether delightful. Nowhere can one find a more intellectually exciting atmosphere. There is much for us to gain by close ties with the French, and we must not try to impose our ideas on them. We can both learn from each other, but both of us remain free.
I must tell you just a word about the Congress of Cultural Freedom's "Masterpieces of the Twentieth Century." If you are going to be in Paris at the end of April and during the month of May you will have some musical treats to look forward to, as well as many other delightful entertainments. For instance, on April 30 at Eglise St. Roch, the conductor Munch will lead the Saint Guillaume Chorus of Strasbourg in a remarkable program. You will hear orchestras and conductors from many different nations. Most of the programs will be at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees. This festival is one well worth attending. I wish I could be there, but I will be working in New York by that time.
I have just received some news clippings from home, including one from our local Poughkeepsie paper which gave me particular pleasure. It was a photograph taken on January 30 at Hyde Park the day of my husband's birthday, and it shows my grandson, Curtis Roosevelt, with little Larry Jim Gross, the poster boy for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, placing a wreath on my husband's grave in the rose garden at Hyde Park in a snowy landscape. In 1948 Curtis himself had an attack of polio from which he has practically completely recovered. I am glad that he could be at this little ceremony to represent our family, since I was over here.
In another news clipping I read that the Saint Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie has asked some of its Protestant doctors to resign from the Dutchess County League for Planned Parenthood or else not to use the hospital. There is no question that the hospital has a perfect right to set forth its policies and expect doctors who practice in that hospital to abide by them. But in a city the size of Poughkeepsie this may cause hardship to the people, and one wishes some arrangement could be arrived at whereby the policy of the hospital and the doctors' freedom might both be respected.