My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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BRIONI, Yugoslavia —At ten o'clock I entered the President's villa and I saw a young man come down the long room to greet me. I could hardly believe that this was President Tito and I was sure I must have been mistaken in his age. After I had sat looking at him for a few minutes, however, I realized that there were lines in his face denoting experiences no young man would have.

The President has charm and a great personality but I think the most important thing is that he impresses you as being completely honest and frank in his conversation.

Mr. Vilfan was with the President and in a short time Mrs. Vilfan came in accompanying Mrs. Broz who is a very beautiful young woman. Mrs. Broz must be not only intelligent but also she must have a good deal of character because she told me she had only arrived two days ago, having had to remain in Belgrade to finish her examinations. She was a Partisan who fought in the army during the war which interrupted her education. Now she has decided that she will pick up where she left off and go through the university. That is quite a decision to make when your husband is president of a country but I think President Tito would appreciate why his wife made this decision and would encourage her to carry it out.

Mrs. Broz can speak a few words of English but no foreign language is easy for her so we talked almost entirely through Mrs. Vilfan.

With the Marshal we occasionally spoke a little German and he spoke a little English, too. But, as both of us were anxious to have our thoughts very clearly understood, Mr. Vilfan translated almost the whole time.

Soon after Dr. Gurewitsch and Miss Corr arrived all of us went down to the boat which took us over to a charming small island which has been arranged as a real retreat. A stone shelter house has been built with long tables and seats running all around it but open on one side to the water. The paths are out through dense brush shrub and along the paths there are bathing houses, temporary affairs with slat floors and canvas sides and tops on frames.

At the beach were two Kayaks and five different types of chairs for reclining purposes. We talked until lunch and I found a great virtue in this busy man. He seemed unhurried, unharassed and interested in our talk.

After lunch we talked again until enough time had elapsed so that we could go swimming. This was the first sandy beach I had seen in Yugoslavia and it certainly was pleasant to walk into the water without pebbles or rocks to bruise one's feet.

Later in the afternoon we were off again on the water, going along the Istrian coast, near enough to see some of the old towns.

We did not return to Brioni till after dinner and I was certainly most grateful for the amount of time which had been given me and the great feeling of warmth and hospitality which we had all enjoyed.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Brijuni, Istarska, Croatia [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 28, 1953

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.