JUNE 28, 1950
PARIS, Tuesday—The French Government fell on Saturday over a question of the right to raise the limit on national spending to meet the demands for higher salaries for Civil Service employees. This, of course, is a technical point but, as so often happens, these important votes do come on technical points. The demand for a raise in salaries resulted from a sharp increase in the cost of living. This has gone up to over twenty times what it was before the war and salaries to less than ten times, which does create a real hardship.
Fundamentally, I think, that a few years from now France will be in a fairly sound economic position, because she has concentrated her expenditures on rehabilitation and modernization of her industries. In the long run this will put them in good condition, though at the present time it does not seem to help the people in their immediate needs. But expenditures on housing and other methods of obtaining certain goods could only bring temporary satisfaction to some of the people's desires.
The fall of the government should not affect the Schuman Plan greatly. But, nevertheless, it is unfortunate, because such constant changes in any one country's government is extremely disconcerting.
I visited the American hospital to see a young friend of mine who has very recently become a mother. Admiral and Mrs. Fenard, old friends of my husband's, lunched with me at the Crillon Hotel.
In the afternoon we visited Sainte Chapelle. All the glass is now back in place—it resembles a many-colored jewel—the most perfect small chapel I know of in the world. Then we went to Notre Dame and drove around the Place de la Bastille and back to the hotel.
I had dinner with two young friends, John Hight and Gilbert Harrison at my favorite restaurant, the Porquerolle, on the Rue de l'Eperon. Finally, I drove to the Hotel Astoria to the opening night of a Servicemen's Club for the enlisted men quartered here. It is a good thing that so many of them can have their wives with them now. I was interested to meet one young girl who is studying French at the Sorbonne under the GI Bill of Rights. The GI Bill does not pay for holidays so some of the students are trying to establish a service as guides for other young Americans who come to Paris and want to be shown the sights. The Embassy has approved their efforts, but I gather they are having a pretty hard time getting known.
So ends our first day in Paris.