My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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DJAKARTA, Indonesia, Sept. 14—We left Bali by air, changed in Surabaya and came on to Djarkarta. It was very sad to bid Mrs. Oka goodbye and I hope the State Department will invite her soon again to the United States. No one would profit more by another trip, I feel sure, and her husband's connection with the government in this area, plus her own interests and wide acquaintance especially with the school people, would ensure a wide use of her opportunities while in America.

The last day at Sanur, on Bali, I had the chance to talk with some of the girls from our embassy. I found them delightful, interested in this part of the word, and well aware of its importance. I am always proud to find the women serving in faraway places making the most of their opportunities to know the people of the country and to represent our country well.

Friday morning we drove a long way, but the scenery was beautiful and we came at last to the president's favorite watering place. It is an old temple built in the 15th century where there is a sacred spring. It lies at the foot of a steep hill and is very quiet. An old wall encloses the sacred spring and there are quite elaborate baths for both men and women.

Mrs. Oka told me the waters are supposed to be of special benefit for childless women.

The way back we visited what is called a private school. The money to build the school was raised among the people themselves, and students and faculty worked together to build the school and now they are building dormitories for the young people who came from distant parts of the island. They are very earnest and serious students, and both parents and children are eager to obtain educations.

In Surabaya our consul, Mr. O'Neill, and his charming wife met us. They were accompanied by a number of Indonesian ladies who invited me to a small reception to be held by the governor's wife.

We had not yet had lunch, so I agreed to go and meet the ladies and then go on to our consulate for lunch.

I feared we would be kept some time but after I had met all the ladies we sat down for a few minutes and I realized that it would take a long time to overcome the shyness that kept our conversation quite formal. So, we left after a few minutes and had a very pleasant lunch at the consulate and a little time to rest afterwards before our plane left.

On arrival in Djarkarta Dr. Gurewitsch went with Ambassador Hugh Cumming to see a pain patient. We dined at the embassy where we met Prince Bintoro, who is now in charge of American affairs at the foreign office here.

Because of this second visit to Indonesia and the people whom I have met I shall read all news from this country with keener interest. Ambassador Cumming has already gained a wide knowledge of the problem here and understands the politics, which I think is quite a feat. They have some 40 parties and I have found few people who can tell me how these parties differ. In fact, the best explanation made to me was that each party represents some individual's personal ambition.

Sunday morning we will leave early for Bangkok and we hope to have a meeting of our delegation in the evening. Mr. Charles Matburg of Baltimore heads our delegation, as he has at former meetings of the World Federation of the United Nations Associations. The head of the Indonesian group will be on the plane with us. And it seems probable that, as we had hoped, there will be at this meeting representation from many of the Asian countries.

E.R.
PNews, NSJ, 15 September 1955