My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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BANGKOK, Thailand, Sept. 15—The flight from Djakarta to Bangkok was smooth and pleasant. We were about one hour late but I have heard it said here that people arrive on a Friday on a plane that was due on a Tuesday. One line has even earned a nickname as a result of its tardiness. In all our flights so far we have never been really very late, which is great good luck.

The Prime Minister, Field Marshal P. Pibulsonggram, and his wife met us on arrival, together with our young charge d'affaires who has had to take over since the tragic death of our ambassador, John E. Peurifoy.

The tragedy of Mr.Peurifoy's death is on everyone's mind and praise for Mrs.Puerifoy is unending. In addition, our American group speaks with gratitude of all the Thai government officials did to be as helpful as possible. They gave some large sums of money in memory of the ambassador and asked his wife to designate the way the memorials should be set up.

On the evening of our arrival, we dined with Mr. and Mrs. Anschutz, who are being very kind to our whole delegation. They had the Prime Minister's daughter and her husband, Major Raks, as their guests and I remember the day they came to Hyde Park on their visit in the U.S.

I recalled I had to give them coffee in the memorial library because they had so little time. They had started their day very early to reach Hyde Park by 10 o'clock in the morning, but I realize now that people in these parts of the world get up earlier than we do. They are accustomed, however to rest a bit in the middle part of the day for a little bit at least. But this I am sure we never gave them time to do while they were our guests.

The opening session of the World Federation of United Nations Associations meetings took place in a newly finished government building and I am very much impressed by all the arrangements that have been made to facilitate the work. Earphones are available to those who want to listen in French, as the language used in this conference is English. We have all been given a pin with the Thai colors to wear as a means of easy identification.

At our seats are pads for note-taking and the federation provides us with an astonishing number of documents. They cover the annual reports of member nations and special reports that certain nations have been asked to prepare on a variety of subjects, which will be used as a basis of discussion on these topics. The federation is, of course, a non-governmental organization and is supposed to be as non-political as possible. But in the reports one sees nevertheless the reflection of the world's political situation.

For instance, Poland's report on collective security is a rather plain attack on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In fact, I think a number of the subjects taken up here have only an academic interest for the federation, since nothing we say or do can really make a great deal of difference. The settlement of problems lies in the hands of high government officials.

E.R.
PNews, NSJ, 16 September 1955