SEPTEMBER 19, 1959
HYDE PARK—At 10 o'clock Friday morning we went over to the library prepared to meet Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and his party. The State Department had told us our visitors would have one hour in all and that they would arrive at 10:30. But, as is frequently the case, the party arrived 35 minutes late. They probably had started a little late from New York and then the change-over from city to county to state police had taken some time.
I saw no change in Mr. Khrushchev's appearance. He looks as young as when I last saw him when I visited his country. His wife and two daughters were very sweet, and his wife said she was glad she had decided to come on the trip. She had been afraid it might be too much for her, but she was enjoying it.
Mr. Khrushchev explained to me that he had not come here to Hyde Park for pleasure, but had felt it was his duty to pay his respects to my husband's memory. As he had told me before, he felt that my husband understood the needs and aspirations of the Soviet Union.
There were a good many people who wanted a glimpse of this man who to most Americans symbolizes something which is certainly not very good. But, nevertheless, they are curious about him and about his country and even about the economic and ideological beliefs that he holds.
I am happy that he is here. And even though there is no question that he is an incomparable salesman and will try to sell his particular point of view, still I think he will learn a great deal because he is perceptive and alert. If he realizes that the people of the United States have convictions and beliefs, it will affect his attitude.
He has undoubtedly been told that as a people we have become soft, thinking more of our comforts and of our extravagances than of the things of real value, such as education. This is a dangerous belief for him to hold, and I am hopeful that he will go home feeling that this is not true. And I hope by that time he is convinced that if the time came for sacrifice our country would be as capable of sacrifice as any country in the world.
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On Thursday afternoon the Hudson-Champlain Committee of New York's Hudson Celebration achieved what the State Department seems rarely able to achieve—a prompt arrival. This committee escorted Princess Beatrix of The Netherlands to Hyde Park, and they arrived at the big house at 4:30 exactly and the schedule from then on went as planned.
The Princess, who is 21, is representing her mother at the Hudson Celebration—the 350th anniversary of the founding of New York—and she does it in a dignified and very pleasant way. The sweetness and kindness of her personality was felt by everyone as they watched her.
After she left the grounds where she had laid a wreath on the grave and had visited the house and the library to see mementos of her mother and grandmother, she drove slowly through the Village of Hyde Park.
Once she arrived at the cottage all protocol came to an end. She had an hour and a half to rest and dress, and I think everyone in the party was glad. Her mother's lady-in-waiting, Baroness Roell, who tries to watch over the princess's health, suggested that after our very informal dinner she should go to bed early.
So at eight o'clock breakfast on Friday morning she seemed bright and ready to start on another strenuous day. Fortunately, she will spend two nights with Governor and Mrs. Rockefeller and one with the Philip Youngs on the family farm in Van Hornesville. Though the days will be busy, they will be a little easier on her than the time she has had up to now.
She told me she will have missed three weeks of her last year at the university, and she was sad about this. Because, she explained to me, once her student days are over it would be harder to meet people on an informal basis, such as is possible only for students.
Their cars left our cottage promptly at nine o'clock, and after bidding them goodbye we hurried over to greet Mr. Khrushchev.
So, you see, the past two days have been a trifle busy for me.