AUGUST 24, 1960
LONDON—We had a comfortable flight from New York on Monday and on hand to greet me and Miss Corr here were Henry Morgenthau III, Diana Michaelis and Paul Noble, all from the educational TV team in Boston.
Inevitably the BBC was set up on my arrival and requested a short interview. These interviews are always promised to take "just a minute." But something usually goes wrong either with the photography or the sound and they usually consume at least half an hour.
I seemed to be told on all sides that London is quiet at this season. "No one who is anyone" is to be found in the city, they said, everyone is on holiday. The airport seemed to be fairly busy, however, though I will admit that our flight was not crowded, and I gather that few are coming this way. There seem to be enough people here, however, to make it worthwhile to keep most of the shops open and many of the theatres are playing to full houses.
One's impression as one looks at the city is of greater prosperity. Remembering the scene immediately after World War II, it seems astonishing what has been done in such a short time.
We drove part way around Grosvenor Square in coming in and I had a glimpse of the new American Embassy building. It made the same bad impression on me that I registered a year ago last April when I was here. It is now nearly finished and I only pray that when I see it in daylight I will like it better than I did in the dim evening light.
As I look at the new building I can only think of a Swedish apartment house minus its balconies—and the balconies with their flowers are the only things that make a Swedish apartment house bearable. To build such a building, which is more or less in keeping with its environment in Sweden, on the whole of one side of Grosvenor Square seems to me as inappropriate as it can possibly be.
Since arriving I have had time to glance at only two evening newspapers and the only thing I found of worldwide interest was the report that the Belgian troops would be out of the Congo as they had promised in eight days. A few technicians will be left behind.
The United Nations Security Council evidently endorsed Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold's actions in the Congo in spite of the Congolese Premier's bitter criticism. Of course, the Soviet Union's delegate backed the Congolese in their criticism of Mr. Hammarskjold's action, but he received support from the Polish delegate. Even the member from Tunisia agreed with Mr. Hammarskjold's interpretation of his mandate in the Congo.
Dr. Hammarskjold has shown great courage in the way in which he has acted in the manner that he felt right and it is an encouraging sign to have him upheld.
Why the Soviets should be taking the action they are taking is easy to understand, but it does not seem to be fooling the African government officials as a whole.
(Ed. note: As a crisis neared, Belgain Congo Premier Lumumba suddenly backed down and dropped his efforts to force Mr. Hammarskjold to revise U.N. operations in the Congo. He had conferred with the Soviet Ambassador to the Congo as well as members of other African nations.)