Congressional Trip V: Returning via Lisbon and Brazil
On Dec 2nd we flew from England to Lisbon. I had telegraphed our Legation pleading with them to put us in the Avis Hotel in Lisbon. But they insisted on putting us in Estoril at the Palace Hotel. We had been there only 30 minutes when Von Freisen called. I didn't take the call. He called back later and I didn't take that one either.
Then they called each of the Congressmen directly and two of them agreed to meet the Von Freisens. This time they fortunately overplayed their hand and presented the Hitler appeal in writing which confirmed my warnings, and the Congressmen said, "The hell with them."
My room was searched at least once but nothing was taken. We returned via the southern route. First stop was in Portugal - Guiana on the west coast of Africa - and then on to Brazil.
We were lunching with the American Consul in Belem, Brazil on December 7th and heard on the radio about Pearl Harbor. The whole country was in a rage of fury so there was no easy way to measure the effectiveness of our trip to England. It was, I believe, the first of its kind and thanks to a farseeing and wealthy man, Marshall Field.
Pres Roosevelt said that the Congressmen who took the trip were much better able to participate in debates in Congress because they had had this unique experience.
Since then many Congressional trips have been made at govt expense. I think it's a good idea even if it is overdone because so many Congressmen have a very limited idea of the world as a whole.
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