MARCH 24, 1959
TEL-AVIV, Israel—On Friday morning, March 13, in Rome my granddaughter Nina and I went out at nine o'clock with Countess Lea Lelli, the most interesting guide one can have. She describes the history of Rome as though she had lived through each century, and had experienced each conquest, and I can think of no one who could have given us a more interesting bird's-eye view of the cities as they grew up on the different hills.
We went into the Pantheon and heard the organ play, which to me is a particular pleasure.
In St. Peter's I felt, as always, that the desire of the Pope who added to the length of the church in order to have the biggest church in the world had prevented his having one of the most beautiful churches in the world. You cannot see the dome as you come up the steps now, and had it remained according to the original design it would have been a much more beautiful and impressive sight. The Pieta, in the little chapel on the right as one goes in, is still one of my favorite sculptures in all Rome.
Our plane for Tehran was delayed one hour and I found that we were to reach Ankara at 7:30 in the evening and not leave there till one a.m. Not wishing to spend all that time in the airport, I suggested to Pan American that we get a car and drive through the city even though it would be dark. But the Embassy heard of our coming and kindly sent Mr. Butler of the Embassy staff to meet us in an Embassy car.
We drove to Ataturk's monument but could not go inside, as it closes at sunset. They light it all night very brilliantly, so it stands out on the hillside with its rows of columns all around, looking somewhat similar to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C. Mr. Butler told us that he once asked why this monument opened at sunrise and closed at sunset and he was told by the guard that it was done so as not to disturb Ataturk's slumbers.
We went to a Turkish night club to end our evening and heard a very good Italian orchestra and a singer who sang Italian songs. Suddenly to our surprise, however, he burst forth in a popular American love song!
Back at the airport Ambassador and Mrs. Fletcher Warren came to see us for a little while before the plane left, and we discovered that we would travel on the same plane with the Chief of Staff of the Turkish army who was paying a visit to Teheran. We hurried onto the plane ahead of the general, looking with admiration at the smart line of troops drawn up to see him off. Then when we landed at 6:30 in Teheran he was greeted by a guard of honor and a band, which made it all seem very festive.
At that early hour in the morning Ambassador and Mrs. Edward T. Wailes and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Morgenthau Jr. were at the airport waiting for us in a cold and biting wind.
Mr. Thomas Powers was there, too, and I remembered him well from past contacts in the United Nations. He is in Teheran as the resident representing the U.N. in the Iran Development Program, which is one of the largest in the world. We went inside and talked for a little while and then the American air attache came to say that they were ready to take off for Shiraz.
I was very happy to have had this glimpse of the Morgenthaus, who were on their way home by way of Rome.
My granddaughter had never before travelled in a military plane or sat in the bucket seats like our soldiers. I pointed out to her the parachutes all ready to be worn by the men who might be going to make a jump at some particular point. The weather was good and it was a spectacularly beautiful trip, with snowcapped mountains and brown, bare slopes below. Evidently it is not usually a very smooth trip, for members of the crew came back from the cockpit to comment on how beautiful the weather was and how lucky we were not to have a rougher trip.
We were in Shiraz by 9:30 a.m. and it was certainly a wonderful sight to see my daughter and her husband waiting for us. Several Iranian officials also kindly greeted us at Teheran and Shiraz and made us feel more welcome in their interesting country.