In June of 1946, Sawyer had participated in several weeks of meetings to plan out the World Health Organization. In August,
he traveled to Geneva, where the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) was meeting to discuss the
organization's future. His letters en route describe the ongoing scarcity of travel accommodations in the first few years
after the end of World War II.
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1946-08-01 (August 1, 1946)
Sawyer, Wilbur A.
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We are having a third day of fog,--with lots of vibration, as you can see. Nothing much happens on board, except for Irish
jigging and Holy Masses every half hour from 6 to 9 a.m. and an extra service in the afternoon. All the Irish seem to be
going home for a visit.
It looks now as though we should not reach Havre before the 4th of August and should not be on time for the opening of the
Council meeting on August 5. La Guardia was in the ship's news-sheet yesterday commenting on the serious situation in
The ship is crowded but very respectable. There is no bar,
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but considerable liquor in suitcases. At breakfast one of the women reported that her cabin had been kept awake by a woman
who was trying to catch a monkey that kept looking at her with its big eyes. It was invisible to the others.
We have seen flying fish, passing ships, and beautiful sunsets, but otherwise the trip is rather dull. I have put in a few
hours reading and working on my paper.
I hope Peg has recovered and that everyone is in good form. It is almost chilly here, and I am reminded that I did not bring
a light overcoat,--only a raincoat. It was too hot when I left home to think of any kind of an overcoat. But then, it is
We are eating Argentine pears on this boat. They are similar to the ones we had from Australia in Washington. The food continues
good and abundant, and appetites are still strong. Perhaps the next 24 hours will diminish attendance at table.
Aug. 3, 1946. Saturday.
Last evening we dropped anchor at Cobh and deposited 600 Irish with bags and baggage on a lighter. Only about half the passengers
are left, and the majority of the remainder will probably land in Southampton to-night. The trip has been
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marvelous as far as weather is concerned. Even the few days of fog and rain produced no rough seas or seasickness. Our table
of 20 people had no absentees, throughout the voyage.
Mrs. La Guardia is on board, but I have not knowingly seen her. Mr. La G. had his picture in the Cork newspaper which was
brought on board yesterday. It carried an account of his statement on looting in Trieste and his interview with Maj. General
Lee at AFHQ in Italy. Is this Ruth's general? A few of our UNRRA deleg. will fly from Southampton so as to arrive about
on time, but I shall stay by the group and travel by train from Le Havre via Paris. Do you remember when I met you at Le
Havre? Wish you were meeting me there to-morrow.