APRIL 5, 1952
HYDE PARK, Friday—Before I leave my round-the-world trip behind me, I want to tell you about a very eventful day we spent in Indonesia. I want to tell my newspaper readers about this comparatively new, independent country not only because of its beauty but because of the vast amount of work and the interest in the country's freedom that the women possess.
Soon after our arrival in Djakarta, the country's capital, we drove out of town and visited one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. Every kind of tropical tree and every kind of orchid grew there. They gave me a spray of white orchids that was beautiful.
This drive gave me an opportunity to see the countryside and the people in the small houses along the road. It rains a great deal in many parts of the island and we had several showers on the way. We ended up for lunch at a house in the hills belonging to the government and we lunched with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. There was the most beautiful view of the mountains all around us, the air was cool and pleasant after the damp heat of the town and I found it a most refreshing interlude.
I talked a great deal with the Indonesian ladies and tried to answer some of their questions. They have many rights under their new Constitution but they seem to feel that perhaps they are not taking complete advantage of them.
On our way back we entered Djakarta by a different route and I saw a good deal of government housing which had recently been built and seemed very nice. The housing problem is as bad there as everywhere else in the world. On our return to the Embassy I held a press conference which lasted for nearly an hour.
In the evening we dined with President and Madame Soekarno. The dinner was not too large and we had an opportunity to talk. After dinner the President showed me his paintings which were done by modern Indonesian artists. I was deeply interested in these, as it was my first opportunity to see anything of modern Indonesian art and I thought the pictures very interesting and very lovely.
I found the President and his wife charming and interesting and I enjoyed the members of the government whom I met. They are interesting men, trying to get a new government started and trying to solve many problems. I was particularly happy to find the Indonesian ladies accepting the responsibility to take an active part in meeting the new problems of their democratic government.
Indonesia seemed to me a beautiful country. The vegetation is tropical and the land is very fruitful. I am sure that a real future lies ahead for this country as it develops, if the people keep to their high ideals.