SEPTEMBER 19, 1958
MOSCOW—We boarded a Russian jet plane at the Brussels airport and had a smooth and comfortable flight to here. There is much space between the leather-upholstered seats, so that long-legged people have plenty of room. And we enjoyed a hot lunch while in the air.
My respect for Russian pilots did not need to be bolstered. They are good. Our take-off and our landing were smooth as could be, and I don't believe those who had never before flown in a jet were in any way disturbed. We covered the 2,000 miles in exactly three hours, flying very high.
At the airport here familiar faces met us and flowers were brought to greet us, and everyone in the welcoming party waited with us while our bags were found and our passports cleared. All was kindness, which bespoke of forethought and careful arrangement.
As we drove away from the airport I noticed several changes from my visit here last year. For one thing, there are more little cars on the road. And construction work is much further along, now reaching out quite far on the way to the airport from the city. Approaching the University of Moscow, where there was only a sea of cranes last year, now there are finished apartment houses.
Dr. David Gurewitsch was so moved at being back in Moscow again that he urged his wife and me "just to go for a little walk" before we had even unpacked anything! It was the hour when crowds were hurrying home and men and women were seen taking their children home together after their day's work was done.
We walked to Red Square and saw the familiar crowd waiting outside Lenin's tomb. As we crossed the square the clock struck seven, the guard changed, and the crowd dispersed. I looked at the faces with interest and I felt there was less tension than I had noticed last year. More smiles were visible, and the people seemed to be happier.
Back at our hotel our delegation from the American Association for the United Nations was assigned a small dining room, the table of which was decorated with flags and flowers. It was fun to order caviar as though it were an item in one's regular diet. And the tea tasted good drunk from a glass placed in a metal holder, probably just because we aren't accustomed to drinking it that way at home.
After dinner we held a brief discussion, but by 11 o'clock we were all free to go to our rooms.
Dr. and Mrs. Gurewitsch and I were met by representatives from the Committee on Cultural Interchange, and we were informed of our appointment to meet their chairman, Mr. G. Zhukov, who would help us make our plans for sightseeing cutside the delegation meetings' time.
For one thing, I know that Mrs. Gurewitsch plans to visit the Pushkin Museum, but all three of us have so much we want to see that our hope is to make our independent plans and cover the time we shall have to ourselves after the final delegation meeting.