FEBRUARY 13, 1952
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Tuesday—We had a smooth flight all the way here after stopping at the airport in Nice and taking a little walk, which gave Miss Corr her first glimpse of palm trees. There were officials of the government of Lebanon, our own Minister, Harold B. Minor, and Mr. Blanford of the U.N. waiting to greet us.
The government had formally invited me to be its guest, so we came very rapidly to the Hotel St. George, it being past midnight. On going to bed I was enchanted to find on opening my windows that the sound of the waves beating on the shore was going to lull me to sleep. In the morning, to my joy, the sun was shining and as I opened the shutters I faced beautiful snow-capped mountains. Running down almost to the sea is a strip of fertile land, and little houses dot the area along the base.
At noon Mr. Minor came to take me to sign the book at the president's house and then we returned to the hotel to attend a luncheon given by Mr. Blanford at which there were many officials of his agency and a number of very interesting guests.
We spent two hours at the American University in the afternoon. Much building is in progress there, including a new library, new engineering building, and new hospital building. I have known about this university for many years. Its influence on the area has been enormous, since nearly all the men of prominence in this part of the world have been educated here.
Later in the afternoon we paid a visit to the National Museum which is headed by a man who has through his own researches discovered some very beautiful things as well as some extremely interesting things of great age.
We had dinner at one of the most remarkable houses I ever saw, our host being Mr. Henri Pharaon. On his vast acreage Mr. Pharaon has between 150 and 200 fine racing horses, the biggest stable in the whole Near East. He also showed me a most priceless Ninth Century copy of the Koran.
Mr. Pharaon's house and his way of life, however, can hardly be typical of the average. He quite evidently is a man of political and financial power but also a man of great artistic taste.
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I forgot to tell you one rather touching thing that happened before we left Paris. Miss Corr, my two grandchildren, and two other friends and I went to dine at my favorite little restaurant, Les Pourquerelles. The proprietor was very grateful to my husband during the war and the madame's feeling for him has passed on to me. On this last night she insisted we must be her guests and even begged my grandchildren to come in whenever they could after I had gone. Such kindness is not easily forgotten and I always feel I must go there as much for the warmth of her welcome as for the remarkably good food. It is a place that the French people keep constantly crowded, so you may be quite sure the food is good.