SEPTEMBER 22, 1958
MOSCOW—The other afternoon our delegation from the American Association for the United Nations met with the Soviet Association for the U.N., and it was a lively two-hour session. A number of Russian citizens who seemed most interested came to the meeting just to listen.
Each group explained the purpose of its organization, and we made very clear the fact that the AAUN is a legal setup designed as an educational institution, non-taxable, and not engaged in trying to influence legislation in any way. This role, we pointed out, is up to the members in their capacity as American citizens, a right that all citizens have.
We were questioned at length about publications and the source of our income. The Soviets seemed much interested in our budget, how our money is spent, and where it comes from in the first place. At a later session we shall have the opportunity to put the same questions of organization to them. Not a single controversial question was raised at this first meeting.
Back at our hotel we were very glad to see Mr. and Mrs. Henry Shapiro. Mr. Shapiro is the representative in Moscow of United Press International and is the dean of all the foreign correspondents here, so he is a source of help to all visitors.
In the early evening we went to a party at the U.S. Embassy residence, and were sorry to find that Ambassador Llewellyn E. Thompson had to be away on business. Our AAUN delegation and the Russian delegation again met there, but this time informally. Also present was a group of Quaker scientists, a large number of American citizens who are in Moscow attending a convention on Slavic languages, and a large group that is touring Russia studying cotton growing. Wasn't this a variety of interest to bring together at a party? And to add to my joy I unexpectedly found Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Lindley there and we had a delightful chat.
The hotel where I am staying is old-fashioned in some ways, but in my room there is a beautiful Chinese embroidered screen, and I like the atmosphere very much. And I can get all the hot water I need at any hour, which is a far cry from the short supply I experienced on my visit here last year.
Clothing in the Russian stores still seems to be quite expensive and some foodstuffs are very high, but life in general seems to be becoming easier.
A woman doctor in the Soviet Association for the U.N. told me she is to be one of a party of doctors that is going to visit New York in November, and she is looking forward eagerly to the trip. I explained that from the weather angle November is not the best month in the year to visit us in the northern part of our country, but that we should try to make up for it by the warmth of our welcome.
She said the whole party is looking forward to seeing many interesting things. I am sure some of this enthusiasm stems from a recent visit here with a group of women doctors of Dr. Leona Baumgartner, New York City Health Commissioner. Dr. Baumgartner has left a trail of friends behind here and faces light up when we speak of her.
I have just learned that the Soviet Association for the U.N. has some 4,000,000 speakers in its organization, and that the whole setup is a part of the country's political and economic educational program for the people.