Québec City, Canada – (Tuesday)
By now all of my readers know that my husband and I left Hyde Park on Sunday afternoon and that we arrived in Québec just a few minutes before Prime Minister Churchill’s train pulled in.
The Prime Minister and Mrs. Churchill came over by ship, as you know, and some of the other passengers were our men who had been wounded in the Normandy fighting. Mrs. Churchill told me yesterday of going to visit them. She spoke with great admiration of the doctors and nurses and corpsmen who took care of them. There were only two nurses abroad, but she said they did a wonderful job, and that the spirit of the men seemed to her extraordinary.
With all the years of war behind her, however, Mrs. Churchill does not take wounded men for granted. She spoke with deep feeling, and I could see that blood and tears and future handicaps to overcome are still most poignant to her. Even the nurses to whom I talk do not seem to grow accustomed to the waste brought about by war.
I hope the women’s voices will be strong enough this time, and that they will range themselves on the side of those men who try to do the things in the future which seem to promise the surest basis for a permanent peace. I do not think there can be any peace in weakness; I am sure it lies in strength, but I think strength must be used in an understanding and cooperative spirit. Somehow, the selfishness of human beings must be controlled so that peace may be strengthened by justice and a sense of security throughout the world.
It was good to see both the Prime Minister and the President looking so well and greeting each other so warmly. The Governor General of Canada and Princess Alice and the Prime Minister of Canada, Mackenzie King, had all come abroad our train to greet us on our arrival, and so we stood together to greet Prime Minister and Mrs. Churchill. There is something boyish about the Prime Minister. Perhaps that is what makes him such a wonderful war leader; you feel his zest for life and his unbreakable spirit that can visualize only victory in the long run.
We drove straight to the Citadel. There is not only dignity, but great beauty in these massive stone walls, and the windows looking out on the St. Lawrence are deeper set than any windows in the White House. The walls look to me to be at least three feet thick. What was once a soldiers’ barracks with officers’ quarters is now a very comfortably appointed house, and the contrast of plain walls without and modern arrangements and settings inside is quite interesting.
I visited the kitchen this morning to thank the staff for all they are doing for us, and my eyes fell immediately on a little black dog who had no business to be there! Reluctantly Fala followed me upstairs to his master’s room.