FEBRUARY 12, 1952
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Monday—It was a terrible shock to hear the news of the death of King George VI and only now, several days later, am I able to bring myself around to express my feelings.
The King was loved in the whole United Kingdom. He took up the burden of kingship out of a sense of duty when he had not expected to carry it. He fulfilled every duty at considerable personal sacrifice.
To Queen Elizabeth, to his mother, Queen Mary, and to his two daughters and his brothers and sisters we can only express our deepest sympathy. They were a close family and there was evidently much love in the family group. I was glad that the King enjoyed his grandchildren for a few years at least.
To the new young Queen one must wish every success. It is a heavy burden for such a young woman, but she has been trained to carry it. She has always seemed serious-minded and full of concern for the people of her country. She will be strengthened by her husband's support and the goodwill and affection of all her people.
It is still hard for me to believe that this has happened. The news came so suddenly and was such a shock that for a while one did not fully take it in. In fact, I met Lady Jebb outside the Palais de Chaillot and did not speak of it to her for a minute until she said she had been there to hear her husband pay a tribute to the King.
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Before leaving Paris I met with a Mr. Guerrero, who is a U.N. Technical Assistance Director. He was in a position to give me some good advice on people and projects for me to see in different areas where I will be visiting. He provided me with names of people already in the field and projects which the U.N. Technical Assistance Agency is actually working on at the present time in these areas.
I was pleased to hear that our Point 4 program and U.N. Technical Assistance projects are working together closely so that in my observations I will see what both are doing.
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The night before my take-off I attended a dinner given by the France-America Society over which President Herriot presided. It was held in memory of the signing of the first treaty of alliance between France and the United States and was devoted to my husband's memory. Medals were given to me which were intended for him had he been able to come here after the war.
The society organized a most wonderful tribute for me by arranging that different organizations in France should send me gifts that were particularly appropriate to their areas or to their occupations. I could hardly take them all in at the time, but I am deeply grateful for them and shall enjoy them when I get home to America.