The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—I had an appointment to see Queen Elizabeth in London, so George Spencer, who accompanied us from Nottingham on the train, urged the engineer to see to it that we arrived on time, and we did.

It was very kind of the Queen to receive me, since she had not realized that I was leaving Britain so soon and little Prince Charles had had his tonsils and adenoids out the day before.

I arrived at the Palace at 6:30 p.m. to be met by a charming young man who took me into a small sitting room where the Queen's lady-in-waiting came to speak to me. Then we went upstairs to another small sitting room where in a few minutes someone came to say the Queen was ready.

I went into the Queen's study and found her just as calm and composed as if she did not have a very unhappy little boy on her mind. I asked if he had felt well enough yet to demand ice cream and she said he already had two portions, making me feel that he probably was on the mend.

Forty minutes after I had arrived and after a nice talk, the Queen thoughtfully said she knew she must not keep me longer, as I had a dinner engagement, and we parted.

I have the greatest respect for this young woman who must combine the responsibilities of a Queen with the requirements and emotional stresses of a young mother. I think, too, the British people are fortunate in having the royal family to hold them together. Everywhere you go, you see that the Queen, Prince Philip, the Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret are loved as well as deeply respected.

At dinner in the evening, Lady Reading had as guests our minister, Walter Barbour, and a number of most interesting people. It was hard the next morning to leave her hospitable home, which had become a home-away-from-home for me as I flitted to different parts of the United Kingdom and returned to her warm welcome.

We flew from London to Munich, Germany, from where we drove to Salzburg, Austria. There Vera Pratt met us. Our host was young George Warren Jr., who for four years has been in charge of the U.S. escapee program in Austria.

We had an exceptionally good lunch at the Goldener Hirsch Hotel. The consul, Mr. Rieger, met us after lunch and together with him, Mr. Warren and James Carlin, who is the representative of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration, we visited three refugee units.

The first, Camp Glassenbach, is more or less settled, with very few Hungarian refugees and where such essentials as the learning of languages are furnished by the U.S. escapee program. Most of the refugees there are Poles, Czechs, Yugoslavs and Russians.

We then drove by the new migration center being established under a special $250,000 U.S. grant to the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration to expedite the selection and processing of refugees.

Then we visited an old people's home, which probably is permanent, for these refugees have few chances of resettlement. Then we visited a camp housing only new Hungarian refugees. There, a hunger strike had been organized to continue until our citizens, who had given them hope of finding homes among us, permit them to come to our shores.

I was handed a petition by a dignified white-haired man which was introduced this way:

"We beg your honor as one of the most respected political personalities of the free world to accept our plea and help in solving our difficult case and please support the request of the mentally and bodily tortured Hungarian refugees. Please intervene as the competent factor or factors in our serious situation. We are sure you will do your best to help us."

Tomorrow I will give you as much of the petition as space will allow and in the ensuing days tell something of the problems of refugees.


(Copyright, 1957, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 15, 1957

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