JANUARY 16, 1960
MONTEREY, Calif.—As is usual, the other day in Los Angeles a press conference at 11:30 in the morning meant a terrific amount of paraphernalia for TV and radio reporters and photographers, and even two youngsters from a high-school newspaper, cluttering up Mrs. Hershey Martin's living room. By lunchtime, however, all their belongings were back on the little trucks they trundle around and the house looked like a home again.
We went to Romanoff's for lunch. There was no mail awaiting us in Los Angeles, so both Miss Corr and I could have a quiet afternoon. She caught up with an accumulated batch of letters and I got a good rest and was prepared at a quarter before six to go to what I supposed would be a quiet Quaker dinner, since I was speaking for the Society of Friends' legislative committee. I had carefully looked up on my itinerary in the morning the subject I was expected to speak about.
The dinner party, at Mrs. Julian Sarote's home, turned out to be a large and delightful one. I sat by Dr. Linus Pauling, who in his very gentle way tried to tell me that I had been wrong to withdraw from the Australian meeting of peace organizations.
I am afraid, however, I am still not convinced, but I will try to have sent to him some of the material that had been sent to me. He told me that the reported form in which certain resolutions had been passed was quite untrue and that they were all entirely acceptable.
All of this information I shall pass on to those who questioned rather seriously whether the group calling this conference was not a Communist-dominated group. They felt it was in much the same category as the occasional other "peace" meetings, such as the youth group meeting in Vienna last summer.
When I arrived at the dinner I happened to have an opportunity to look at the chairman's time schedule and, to my amazement, I found I was scheduled to speak on a subject quite different from the one I had on my schedule. Fortunately, for me, I do not speak from a prepared text, so I had given nothing out to the press. This system has its disadvantages, though, because the press rarely comes to listen and you get very little mention of your remarks in the papers. Still, it makes it very much easier on the platform if you have to make a quick change. I rapidly rearranged my thoughts and no one else was disturbed.
Wednesday afternoon we took the plane for Fresno, and stayed in a delightful motel, El Rancho. In both Los Angeles and in Fresno in the evening I had audiences of from 2,500 to 3,000 people.
It rained all night in Fresno and was still raining as we started at 8:30 in the morning on Thursday for Sacramento. That was a full day and I will tell you about it in another column.
I wonder how many of you noticed a few days ago a little paragraph in the newspapers which I read and which stated that France had discovered a large underground lake in the Sahara. This would mean possible irrigation of the whole desert.
We know that at one period long, long ago this was the breadbasket of Europe, and I wonder if we will see that again in our time.