NOVEMBER 3, 1952
SANTIAGO, Chile, Sunday—The trip from New York to Miami seems to me to have shortened considerably since last I traveled to Florida, which shows that it is some years since I visited that state. At the Miami airport I was overjoyed to see my old friend, June Rhodes, who is now Mrs. Gordon. She seems to have become an enthusiastic citizen of Florida, though I do not think she lives the leisurely life that everyone talks about.
All too soon the time came to board the plane for Chile. I dined aboard the plane with Mr. Tapley Bennett of the State Department, who was accompanying me, and then we waited patiently to reach Panama, where we were due at 12:30 a.m. There we were greeted by a number of officials headed by the President of the Republic, Colonel Jose Remon. I was taken to a private room where refreshments were served and they solemnly read me in Spanish a long invitation to stop on my way back and address the parliament. I explained that there were compelling reasons why I should return without stopping on the way, but I don't think anyone in the area of South and Central America considers that one should hurry away from their delightful countries.
Lima, Peru, which was our next stop, was blanketed by fog, which they tell me is not unusual. We circled nearly an hour before we were able to land. We did not have time to leave the airport, but on the return trip I will have a few hours there to see this very beautiful city. It was rather a gray day, with a considerable amount of fog all the way down the coast. Finally we did have a beautiful view of snow-capped mountains in the distance. Because of the fog, I only had glimpses once or twice of the northern part of Chile, which seems to be a complete desert except for strips of land along the coast which are irrigated and where I could see crops growing. Even when we turned inland toward Santiago and the central valley, which is wonderfully fertile, we could see very little because of the blanket of white clouds beneath us.
Over Santiago we again circled for a short time. Then it seemed to clear and we could see the ground beneath us. We landed and were met by our ambassador, Claude Bowers, with his daughter and a number of other officials. As we were late, I had little time before going to our first engagement at an American school. Santiago College was originally a missionary school, and is now run as a private school by an American woman. But the faculty has not only Chileans and Americans on it, but teachers of several other nationalities.
Twenty-one nationalities are represented among the students. One of the seniors tendered me the students' welcome in a most charming speech. I was also presented with a small Chilean flag by the daughter of the incoming President of Chile. After the simple exercises were over, the American Women's Club held a tea in the college which gave me an opportunity to meet a number of women with whom I had some ties through their families or through previous meetings.
I think the most striking thing I have noticed so far in this very attractive city is the abundance of flowers. This seems to be the month for roses, and I have never seen more beautiful ones growing outdoors. There are many varieties and they grow larger than they usually do in an outdoor garden. I think even Portland, Oregon, our city of roses, could find competition here.