AUGUST 30, 1957
NEW YORK—I am about set to leave for the Soviet Union where I hope to arrive fresh and ready to do anything that comes my way. That is why I am making two stops on the way, one for 24 hours in Berlin and one overnight in Copenhagen. This means I should arrive in Moscow next Tuesday afternoon. On the return trip I will fly straight through.
During my time in the Soviet Union I will write only two columns a week and if it is possible for me to get them out these will arrive in this country for publication on Tuesday and Friday.
Through the Russian ambassador in Washington I have requested interviews with as many Soviet government heads as posible as well as political leaders. I told him that of course I am most interested in health education and welfare and if at all possible would like to see an area for rest and recreation for young people as well as what is being done in housing for old people. I have been told that good work is being accomplished in these fields.
I want of course to see factories, collective farms, schools, museums and the cultural facilities avaliable to the people. I have asked permission to travel when my interviews are arranged.
I would love to take a two-day trip on the Volga River stoppping overnight on the way. I want too, to see what is being done to rebuild Stalingrad. During World War II I was given a description of the way supplies were brought throughout the night for the defense of this city. It certainly was a dramatic story of one of the most valiant defenses in history.
I wish to visit Leningrad, Kiev, Yalta, Baku and if possible—because the names have intrigued me since I was a child—Samarkand and Tashkent.
I would like the opportunity to visit some churches, synagogues, and homes. But I want to do this casually not as a prepared arrangement. One cannot feel one knows people unless one has seen them in their home environment.
I know my own country very well, both the good and the bad spots, and that is always a help in seeing another country. But I have seen enough of the world in general to realize that it is helpful, too, to know conditions in other parts of the world and to look with as understanding eyes as possible at efforts being made to improve the lot of human beings even when these efforts are not fully successful,
With 21 days at my disposal, I hope all this will be accomplished. And when I return I hope to give my readers my truthful impressions of a country about which I am afraid we know comparatively little.