APRIL 2, 1957
FEZ, Morocco—Here we are in the old capital of Morocco and I feel sure it will be an interesting city when we get nearer to it. The hotel Palais Jamai is on the outskirts of town, but as the city lies in a valley and the walls and defenses were built all around it, the view of it from the top of the hill before you begin to descend is lovely.
As we were driving along this morning, we came through a village and noticed that the whole population of the countryside seemed to be trekking their way to the hill covered in trees. We decided to join the procession and discovered it was the weekly fair. We wandered among the vegetables and fruit dyes and spices. Then we came upon the meats and here again I was struck by the cleanliness. There were a few flies and everything was washed and fresh looking One should not eat uncooked food here but it is hard to remember the rule because everything looks so sanitary. We looked at the sheep and cattle and I spoke to a young man I saw bargaining with the Moroccan farmer for them. They have had only 50 percent of the rain this year that they usually have and wheat up two inches is turning yellow. Famine stalks this land if rain does not come soon. My young man was a Swiss and was buying for three farms and he told me he bought sheep at about $6.25 a head, fattened them a few months and sold them at the time of the great religious feast for a neat profit.
We lunched in the town of Meknes with the Pasha and had an even more sumptuous meal, if that was possible, than yesterday. The food is rich with much butter—very good and very fattening! We saw the Sultan's Imperial Palace—enormous but largely in ruins, and then drove through the town and saw a beautiful old mosaic covered gate where the letter writers were plying their trade. Finally we came here by the most direct road as we were rather tired of sightseeing.
The Palais Jamai hotel was built as a private house but a strange house it must have been, with many stairs and many rooms at different levels. It has a lovely garden and terrace.
My son Elliott, is managing his big party well and the Sultan has provided us with a delightful travelling companion, Mr. Agar. The Sultan also notifies his governors along the way to look after us and they are more than kind.
This country needs more industries and help from various sources. I heard an amusing story about the labor unions. They are struggling to get recognition for collective bargaining and so far the industrial leaders will not accept them. Consequently there are strikes. One strike was called at one of our U.S. bases and the strikers announced that they understood that in the U.S. strikers were always paid by the employers while on strike. They were surprised and aggrieved when they were told that this was not the case. Perhaps some of our good labor leaders should come over and help them organize. It would be better than leaving it to the Communists.