APRIL 16, 1959
NEW YORK—Whenever I visit London the first thing I always do is walk up to Grosvenor Square, and on my recent visit a group of us did just that and walked all around my husband's statue. I explained to the young people that in planning the memorial the architects designed the fountains and the benches so that people might sit there to be near the statue, since the planners felt that my husband had always liked to have people around him because he liked all people.
I thought the idea was a particularly nice one, and the addition of the four freedoms carved on the backs of the stone seats and the dates of the four inaugurations make it a very good record of a man's accomplishments.
I have always liked Grosvenor Square, particularly because I have always thought the buildings around it have a certain unity. But I must say that when I first looked at the new United States Embassy—which, I am told, was designed by a Swedish architect—I did not feel it suited its surroundings. Somewhere else, no doubt, it would be quite in keeping, but not there. It stands out like a sore thumb. It does look like many Swedish apartment houses, minus the balconies that usually decorate them, or it might be a department store. I doubt if anyone will ever feel that it completes the Square and is a unifying factor.
We spent one night with Lady Reading in the country and enjoyed her lovely house and gardens and drives around the countryside. Our sightseeing included visits to two old, ruined castles, Pevensey and Bowdoin, and we found the little interim in the country restful and delightful. Of course, Lady Reading is not only a pleasant hostess, but she watches over her guests and arranges everything, which makes it so much easier for oneself, and it certainly did for the young people who were with me.
While in London at a press conference I found myself faced with the question: "Had I noticed that the British papers were reflecting increasing disquiet as a result of statements made by some of our military officials which seemed unnecessarily provocative as regards the Soviet Union?"
I have been reading the papers and sensed the feeling here. But I tried to explain that apparently we were still not conscious of the fact that what we mean for home consumption oftentimes unfortunately is not limited only to the people of the United States. It naturally finds its way around the world.
I feel that very often things are said for reasons that can only be explained by local political situations in the U.S. and those who say these things lose sight of the wider audience they are reaching and thus their remarks sometimes cause considerable anxiety.
In London we went to see a play, called "The Grass Is Greener," a light and amusing comedy with good dialogue by Hugh and Margaret Wiliiams. I thought Hugh Williams, who also acts the leading role, and Celia Johnson, the leading lady, were exceptionally good.
This was the only play I managed to see on my visit, much to my regret, for I enjoy the theatre in London, and also to see no plays in Paris and to hear no music in either place seemed really a [unclear term marked] waste of opportunity! Very satisfying, though, was the art we saw and the people we met.