MARCH 9, 1962
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland—On Wednesday we went up the mountain to Corviglia as far as the little railway runs, and then on the way down at the mid-station we got out and walked the rest of the way. There is something exhilarating about the air here, and the beauty of the shadows of the trees on the white snow is beyond anything which even the best of painters could put on canvas.
A walk along this particular path is enlivened by having to watch for skiers and for people on sleds—little children and occasionally grownups. It is most enjoyable to watch the little red, blue and white baby birds—the tiny tots—racing along on their little skis. One must be very careful to keep out of their way.
On Thursday morning we went in a taxi to a place called Sils maria, where we changed to a two-horse sleigh and drove up and up and up. It was more beautiful than any day or any mountain views we have seen so far. We were fortunate because the sun was warm in the middle of the day and, though it was colder than it had been when we were in the village of St. Moritz, we could enjoy the air and the sunshine.
I imagine once the sun is behind the mountain peaks the Sils maria area could be a very cold spot indeed. Had we walked a little farther along we would have come to the foot of some glaciers, but we contented ourselves with lunching in the little inn and enjoying the sleigh ride to the full.
The air crash early in the week in the African Republic of Cameroon which killed 111 people was a new tragedy in the annals of air travel. Strangely enough, this plane, too, like the American Airlines plane in New York, plunged into a swamp just a few minutes after take-off. But in the case of the African accident there was no explosion, though the engines burst into flames. We in America who experienced the grief of the New York tragedy only a few days before must extend our deep sympathy to the Caledonian Airlines, which operated the African flight.
At the same time, however, we must be proud of the fact that in spite of these disasters a U.S. Air Force B-58 jet bomber made the trip from Los Angeles to New York and back in four hours and 42 minutes. This was a new two-way transcontinental record, and the plane was the winner of the 1962 Bendix Trophy and the crew members were awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses.
Capt. Robert Sowers, who commanded the flight, said an interesting thing at his news conference afterward: "If a cannon—an artillery shell—had been fired at the same time we left here (Los Angeles) we'd have had time to land in New York and have lunch before it got there."
The plane flew at twice the speed of sound and created a continuous sonic boom as it raced across the country. One can well understand that astonished people, not knowing what was going on and finding their windows breaking and the plaster walls in their houses cracking, must have been a little appalled until they read what had been accomplished. Perhaps it might be well to warn people in a flight path when another such mission is undertaken.
I have just been sent a translation of an article written by Blas Pinar and published in Madrid. It is entitled "Hypocrites" and is one of the most-outspoken attacks against the United States that I have read in a long time.
If this writer's views are held by many in the government of Spain, one wonders how they could come to an agreement allowing American air bases in their country. Or was the money to be gained too attractive? At any rate, if this article is a reflection of any general feeling, I would feel that our bases in Spain are not in a very friendly atmosphere.