MARCH 28, 1959
TEL AVIV, Israel—After seeing three beautiful mosques in Isafahan, Iran, and the Great Square, which is next in size to Red Square in Moscow and where polo was played centuries ago, we flew into Teheran.
Representatives of the Joint Distribution Committee took us in tow and we visited one of the most remarkable hospitals I ever have been in. The doctor in charge was proud to show me that the children's wards had only four occupants, whereas his maternity ward was well filled. This is, of course, one of the basic goals they have been working on. They urge mothers to come regularly for prenatal care, and they run a clinic for well children as well as for sick children. They put as much emphasis on prevention as they do on cure. The hospital is used by Moslems as well as Jews, since the community is not exclusively Jewish.
Throughout Iran the problem is to teach whole communities, Moslems and Jews alike, especially among the poorer classes, to clean up the conditions under which they live and to make every effort to feed children properly.
I visited a kindergarten in Tehran, too, and the children looked well and seemed happy. While there was more room for more children there than in Shiraz, there still was not enough space. Everyone told me how much better they could do if they had more money, but I feel that in time, since these people are not living in fear, the communities themselves must provide the wherewithal so long as the leadership is given from such international organizations as the Joint Distribution Committee. Guidance will have to be provided for a long time, but there is certainly every opportunity for the people to learn to help themselves to a greater extent.
I went to a meeting of the Iran-American Society and found that this group was devoting itself to teaching English to any Iranians who wanted to learn, and there were many. Most of the teachers are Americans living there who volunteer their services, and the society employs only two or three professionals to help in organizing the classes and in giving some basic training to the teachers.
This group also has extended its work for the benefit of students at the University of Teheran. And since there is no organized plan of a recreational character for the students at the university, the society has set up quarters just opposite the school. Besides giving lessons in English, they will put on a social program, show movies, and run a snack bar. It is felt that this will be a real service to the young people at the university.
Iran sends many students to the United States to study and most of them must know English before they leave, so this actually ought to fill a real need.
I also attended a tea given by the American Women's Club of Tehran, which had as guests many women in the diplomatic corps as well as Americans and Iranians. At both these meetings I was asked to say a few words of greeting, but I have been grateful that on this trip so far I have not had to make any speeches.