MARCH 19, 1955
ROME—When I visited the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations here I met a gentleman named F.L. Macdougall of Australia whom I had not seen in more than 10 years. Mr. Macdougall had written a memorandum which found its way to my desk in the White House. I invited him to lunch and became so interested in his suggestions that I invited him to dine with my husband. There followed later a conference which he attended at Hot Springs, Va., where FAO actually came into being.
Soon after, Mr. Macdougall attended the ceremony in the White House instituting FAO, which I have always remembered because it was the first international ceremony at which the flags of the U.N. countries were put on the table where the representatives of the various countries were signing the necessary documents.
This specialized agency came into being under the U.N. Declaration and before the Charter was written. I had forgotten the sequence of events which led up to its final formation.
Mr. Macdougall and I made a recording here and he presented me with a book which has just been written as a history of FAO. In the book, he tells me, he told the story of our meeting. I had received a copy of this book before leaving on this trip but decided it was too heavy to bring with me. So I shall return to it with great interest when I reach home.
We went shopping this morning and saw some lovely table linens, handmade gloves, and leather goods of all kinds. Then we lunched at the Embassy and I saw Ambassador Clare Boothe Luce. Mrs. Luce was quite remarkable, I thought, being so apparently calm and carefree as she is about to start on a long journey. She must have had many things on her mind but she had gathered her staff together for a buffet luncheon and I enjoyed meeting so many Americans.
I also again had the pleasure of seeing the Director-General of the FAO, Dr. Philip V. Cardon, an American long trained in our Federal agricultural service. He and his wife had a most-interesting trip around the world this past year and they are the kind of people who can get the most out of contacts with other countries because they see so quickly where the interests of everyone tie in to the fundamental development of all peoples and countries in the world.
I only wish scientists were as good at disseminating information as they are at acquiring it. I could listen to Dr. Cardon for hours, but I don't think it has occurred to him to put down for the benefit of people all over the world and especially in the U.S. some of the things which he shared with us at luncheon. And yet they are of great importance to all of us.
In the afternoon we drove to a diagnostic clinic just outside of Rome and then quite a distance from Rome to a boys' town patterned after the late Father Flanagan's Boys' Town at home. I am told that both the priests in charge of the boys' settlement here are marvelous people but, unfortunately, they were away. However, a most enthusiastic young woman accompanied us. It was wonderful to see how much our American unions have done to help these boys. The layout is magnificent and the boys certainly have every opportunity to learn a variety of trades.
(Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)