MARCH 27, 1957
CASABLANCA, Morocco—By special arrangement, three of us went with the U. S. minister and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Homer Byington, Jr., to the Prado in Madrid, one of the best museums in the world.
We concentrated on three Spanish painters, El Greco, Velasquez, and Goya, and these collections are magnificent. Mrs. Byington had taken two courses at the museum and had attended more than 50 lectures, so she was able to tell us the legends and stories about the painters or paintings.
Goya went through a period before his death in which he was old and bitter, so he decorated his home with horrible paintings. Then, suddenly, at the end he painted his last canvas—a sweet and charming milkmaid in Paris.
Two of the El Grecos will stay long in my mind. One is of the Crucifixion in which you feel an ascending movement I have seen in no other painting. The other is a portrait of a monk.
I had not realized that Velasquez had always lived and painted at court, so he never had to sell his paintings.
The flight from Madrid to Casablanca took about three hours, with an hour lost because of the time change. These time changes are somewhat confusing!
We arrived in the dark to be met by what seemed to be a crowd of people. My son, Elliott, and Dr. Gurewitsch greeted Kenneth Pendar with joy and he will be helpful to them in planning our visit here. The white-robed governor of Casablanca and a representative of the sultan also were on hand to greet us.
The hotel Anfa, where I am staying in Casablanca, was the place where the conferences were held in World War II between my husband and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Elliott was there with his air force unit at the time, so he was assigned to his father. He has been describing for us all the people who came in and out of the hotel during those historic days.
After a late dinner, a few of us went for a short time to the home of our consul general, Henry H. Ford. The United States government has bought for its consulate the house in which Mr. Churchill stayed while here for the war conference. Elliott remembered the room where the maps, which Mr. Churchill always insisted accompany him to keep him briefed on troop movements, were hung.
I remember when Mr. Churchill came to Washington during the war, one room had to be set aside for his maps despite the fact that a room my husband had on the lower floor of the White House was fully equipped with maps of the world.
The next morning I awoke early and went for a walk before breakfast. Few people were about, but a young American army officer, driving by in his car, stopped to say good morning. It was foggy, but later the sun burned away the fog.