In August 1946, Sawyer attended the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) conference in Geneva,
and stopped briefly in Paris on his way back. In this letter, Sawyer described sitting in on the Paris peace talks, then in
progress at the Luxembourg Palace.
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ca. 20 August 1946
Sawyer, Wilbur A.
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The Council Meeting ended up on schedule on Aug. 16 with lots of sugary resolutions and supporting remarks, and I left by
the night train for Paris. It seemed not worth while to fight for air-passage against considerable competition, particularly
as the planes went to England and there might be considerable delay there.
I had one day in Paris,--a Saturday. I overheard a lady say she had failed to get into the sessions of the Peace Conference,
and that reminded me to explore the possibilities. I went to the Luxembourg Palace and was, of course, stopped and asked
for my pass. I countered by asking where and how passes were obtained. At another office, speaking only French,
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I found that Americans had to get their passes from the American Delegations' office, which was inside. They then sent
a young man to take me there, which helped greatly. A young woman gave me my pass and led me to the appropriate gallery.
Until about one o'clock I listened to speeches and translations into English, French and Russian. The chairman was Chinese,
Dr. Wang. He spoke English feebly, but I could tell what he said when it was translated into French. It gave me quite a
kick to see Molotov and Byrnes and other celebrities. The Russian speeches were given by Mr. Vychinsky and were of the usual
fighting opposition type. The major argument taking most of the morning was whether Austria should be allowed to present
her case with regard to the Austro-Italian boundary and the result was as usual,--26 of the Western bloc for, and the 6 of
the Russian bloc against. The performance was just like those on the UNRRA council. When the meeting had closed an extremely
strong loud-speaker in the court called carriages for the delegations and one could see the members again as they passed close-by.
I was late and far from the UNRRA mess. So I bought an extremely bad sandwich at a sidewalk restaurant and then walked across
the Cite, past Notre Dame and the other famous buildings, and along Rue de le Rivoli, and all the way to 20, Rue de La Banne,
to leave a card. As I approached I ran into Dr. and Mrs. Leach and Nelson, their son, and Miss B., the IHD nurse. They were
setting out to visit Napoleon's tomb and an art gallery. None of them had tried to visit sessions of the Peace Conference,
as they thought it would be impossible.
I declined their invitation to go along and walked all the way to the Hotel Moderne, UNRRA's headquarters, stopping to
visit the big stores, especially La Printemps and a book shop. I had dinner at a private American mess at
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Grand Hotel, Place de l'Opera and had a good meal made with American ingredients. I was guest of Dr and Mrs Leach and
Nelson was along. They eat there and live in a pent-house, or top floor, in the R.F. office space. At the next table were
Johannes Bauer and Chichi. As you can imagine Chichi sent warmest regards to you and particularly to Gertrude. After dinner
we went to the Bauer's quarters in the hotel and had a good visit. Mrs. Gonzales was there. Mrs. Leach also sent her
best regards to you and the family.
Early the next morning I took the boat train to Le Havre, the devastated port, and at 5 pm we sailed for Southampton. We
saw a floating mine behind us on the port side.
We arrived at Southampton during the night and spent all day Monday tied to the dock. I went ashore with two UNRRA Americans
(male) and was surprised to find so much of historic interest. One of the group felt he must drink a glass of ale in an English
pub. So we dropped into the Old Red Lion and discovered that we were in the court room where Henry V condemned the Earl of
Cambridge to death before sailing for France and fighting the battle of Agincourt. We also visited the Tudor House Museum
and the old city wall. We were chagrinned to find a tablet on the monument to the sailing of the Mayflower from Southampton
in memory of some American's daughter whom her father "related to the Pilgrims." We may get off to-day, and I
hope to see you before the end of August.