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

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PARIS—I was saddened to read in the newspapers the other day of Oscar Hammerstein's death. He gave so much pleasure in his life. The musicals he wrote will live long in people's memories.

He had much recognition during his life both at home and abroad, and I came to know him some years ago through my old friend, John Golden. I think all of us will feel his loss, both in the theatre and in the many civic and philanthropic undertakings to which he was always ready to lend a hand.

The papers here report that Mrs. Francis G. Powers and the rest of the Powers family are leaving Moscow because they have been told they cannot see the U-2 pilot again.

Mrs. Powers seems determined to try and see Premier Khrushchev to make a personal plea. I think it more than likely that she will be kept waiting until the very last minute. It is quite possible that those surrounding Mr. Khrushchev will not even show him her letter asking for an interview—not because of any ill will but because red tape in Moscow is such that papers are not handled the way they would be in an efficient setup.

If she does succeed in seeing him, however, I think Mr. Khrushchev may take the opportunity to make some kind of dramatic gesture, such as cutting Francis Powers' sentence or even offering him complete clemency. He would no doubt couple this with some kind of propaganda against the United States or make some request of our government which it would be impossible for us to grant, so that he could then cite anything that happens to Mr. Powers as being the fault of the U.S. and not of the Soviet Union.

I visited the Tate Gallery today for a first glimpse of their tremendous collection of Picasso paintings. It is said that there has never been such a comprehensive exhibition before, and it takes more than one visit to really see it.

The paintings are arranged chronologically so that one can see the different periods that Picasso has gone through, and I was astonished to find that even when he was painting some extremely modernistic pictures he also was painting a portrait or a still-life scene in his previous style. This showed that he did not give up one thing completely for another, but was simply searching for a truer expression.

Someone mentioned to me that in some of the pictures that I found the most difficult to understand that he was really looking for a way to express movement. He said that Picasso tries to show that no one is ever actually quiet, expressions change, and we look at people from different points of view; and when Picasso painted two or three faces, one over the other, in different positions, it was an effort to catch these changes.

From my point of view he was not always successful, but it was interesting to think of the steps that lay behind the various experiments.

I spent Tuesday evening with one of my husband's old friends, Lord Arthur Elibank, and learned something of what the old-style British liberal, now serving in the House of Lords, thinks and feels about the world situation.

I am saying goodbye to you for a short time as I shall be on a few days holiday. Then I shall be doing other kinds of work in the next two and a half weeks. I shall look forward to greeting you again when my attendance at the World Federation of United Nations Associations meeting in Poland is over on September 10.


(Copyright, 1960, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 25, 1960

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.