August 16, 1960
My dear Willie:
There have been short but not inconvenient delays in my sailing hour, which
has left some time on my hands—very good for psychic recovery from pressures.
I think all details have been covered and there is some time for relaxation.
The first relaxation resulted in my going to the village to a poetry
meeting. The group, though small, was highly intelligent and I was easily the
oldest person there. What I was struck with and their leader did not see at
all, was the relation of this group to contemporary movements in art. Even the
poets themselves thought they were school-less. But through the study of
postimpressionism and abstract art, the readings were entirely lucid to me and
enjoyable as well.
The immediate result has been a number of impressions which may become
inspirations, which might lead to my writing verse on board ship entirely
coordinate to what I have been learning at Rudolph’s. The second point is
that I am making contacts and even friendships of younger people. My whole
sojourn in New York, in an exaggerated fashion might be reported: Older
generation 10/90; people around 40, 60/40; younger generation 90/10. This
leaves two surpluses—more success than “failure” in the middle group; and
the successes usually with those who seem destined to live on and the failures
usually with those not so destined.
Going over my trip across the country I am struck with the new tone of the
Kennedy campaign. There is a joke going around that if he continues there will
not be enough enrollment at M.I.T. and Harvard to warrant continued sessions
and he replied: “That is what I am working for.” But I find M.I.T. and
Harvard so far beyond even the educational levels of the country as a whole;
and utterly out of range of the press that one cannot get a focus. If one does
not try, but rides the wind or the waves it will only lead to happiness and
I visited a technical book store yesterday and after the clerk assured me
that there were no books in any of my lines in the place found one on chemical
testing of soils. We then had a pleasant talk and he gave me a catalogue. This
catalogue is the big thing. It shows how far America is actually ahead in
scientific accomplishment; it also shows that no one person can keep up with
the tides and times.
Galbraith of Harvard and Rostow of M.I.T. are possibly the greatest social
thinkers America has ever produced. I heard this in Cleveland and was
forcefully converted. I have seen no signs otherwise. We have great men. The
press looks down on them. The “Times” has a staff half-way between even
good commentators and these men and has made the fourth Estate as a whole
uneasy. Thus C.B.S. with a grand array of “brand names” gave utterly stupid
reports of the conventions while N.B.S. with a much smaller staff, was keenly
aware of be rise of the intellectuals. Men like Murrow and Lowell have had
their day and don’t know it. Even the Alsops don’t understand and the
pundits like Lawrence and Lippman are way off.
I have not met too many professors but my impression is that they are
typical and more aware of the world than of their campus. Certainly Ford
Foundation has endowed those institutions which I admire and skipped those I
deplore. And in contacting the young I find far more open-mindedness, sense of
justice and information than the papers or even the serious magazines will
There is no longer conformity. A few go off the deep end socially; or rather
there are all sorts of deep ends today. The college boys and girls both for
selfish and unselfish reasons accept their professors as against the press and
magazines. New books may flood the market but it is generally new ideas which
The response of the public to Shakespeare is 10 times as great as to the
ball games here. What an item for anti-communist propaganda! But that is
exactly what you can’t get over. The press will decry and deplore the
non-attendance at the ball parks. The movies, en masse, gain smaller and
smaller audiences. Some day some producer will turn out Shakespeare even for
the sake of school instruction; or will stick to the better plays of all times
from the Greeks down and will be amazed at the response. The little theaters
were drawing huge crowds in Massachusetts and small press notices. The movies
the opposite—perhaps because of the paid ads. Thus there salvation of
So when I rise to self-defense, and I do, I find now a tremendous response
from all sorts of people who know these things and want a crystallization of
the intellectual as against, the emotional outlook. Taxi-drivers, strangers,
college students, even the “average man” is in line. On the political side
here it is largely a question as to whether Father Joseph Kennedy is or is not
worse than Richard Nixon—this is negative, but may be determinate. Personally
I have so long campaigned for Stevenson as our U.N. representative and Chester
Bowles as Sect. of State I can’t say anything. I have stuck out my neck and
kept it out and it seems the whole country is now in line. I deliberately made
friends with three Congressmen and all have gone up and up since I was in
Washington. I am leaving with a feeling of strong American goodwill and a sense
that this country is not only safe, of basically most honorable.
[about October 9, 1960]
Here is a copy of a letter to my close friend, Rudy Olsen, who is also my
I have little time to write more for in addition to endless series of
conferences I have been asked to submit papers which may become the basis of
lecture on how to promote better American-Asian relationships.
I hope the carbon is readable and self-explanatory.
October 9, 1960
My dear Rudy:
I am glad to have your letter of the 4th and even though I may be repeating,
want to be sure you get the news. I am making a carbon for a friend to save
time. At this writing and as my birthday approaches I guess I have the best
outlook of my whole existence, never were things seemingly brighter and what is
more, every one of the many fields into which I have adventured during life
have been of benefit to me and to my contacts.
There may have been something astrological but one day I got all my missing
mail from all four quarters of the globe, so to speak, and on a day when
everything else started to break properly. My friends on Clementina St. have
not only put everything I wanted in my hands but have told me what they are
holding, some of which suddenly becomes important in the sight of present day
Travel: I am now the guest of the Information Bureau which is working out my
future program and I will divide my reports into subjects. They have advised
they will extend my visa. I am therefore not looking to depart until December.
I may write to the Isbrandtsen office in Alexandria to send me a schedule. As I
told you, I now have a good reserve in the bank even after paying off something
on my loan, and more than enough to meet any and all emergencies on top of my
fare to Karachi.
However, as I have been meeting so many people from India, I may not take
the sea trip and if I go to Ceylon it may be an important venture via air. This
is heightened by the fact that there is an important letter coming to me from a
Ceylonese VIP and I am toying with the idea of an air trip either from Bombay
or southern India and back. This is not sure.
When I get my bearings I shall go to Damascus, and the longer I stay, the
more comfortable will be the weather for a Karnak trip. It is still very hot in
that region—110 degrees!
India: The coming Ambassador is an old friend of mine whom I knew well in
both San Francisco and New Delhi and whose father was a Sufi. I have made
friends with the cultural attaché here who is reading my poetry and also has a
copy of “
Congressman From India,” the autobiography of Judge Saund of Imperial
Science: I am now the guest of the National Research Centre composed of the
top scientists. The other day I met Dr. S. Hasan, a UC graduate who evidently
has met many of my friends and who has offered to become my host. He has
explained his work in detail. I go to the Centre once a week. I am in deep
water here as I am compelled to use both ingenuity and all my technical
knowledge but I have the thorough approval of the American Embassy and also of
the Information Bureau.
Sufism: Mohammed Mumtaz Dillah, of the Vegetable Experimental Station is a
Sufi. A complication has set in here because all the men there want to see me
on both scientific and philosophical matters and there is hardly time. I do not
have any days off. But I have been promised an opportunity as a sort of
birthday present to meet the Sufi Dervishes and perhaps one or two of the
spiritual leaders in this region.
Black List: This venture is exceedingly important. Every single one of the
professors in the U.S. who stood against us is on the Intelligence Black or
suspect list. Only one is an American, Charles Moore of Hawaii and he is just
as bad for he stuffed the UNESCO meetings with his personal friends and he was
given moneys to import them from anywhere and he did. As Dr. Chatterji of
Calcutta told me some years age: “If you Americans wish to ignore and insult
us why don’t you do it yourselves without importing idiotic Europeans to do
it for you.”
The idea of honest and objective facts and the presentation of facts should
come first and does not. But it is ridiculous to staff and stuff Universities
with European exiles and put them in charge of Asiatics. There is a long
distance between Von Braun and Teller in Physics—where they belong, and some
of their fellow-exiles in Islamic, South Asian and Far East
Studies. This hurts the U.S. I have been yelling for years but I don’t
yell alone any more.
Art: This venture was being held back until the arrival of one Dr. Creswell
who is said to be the world’s greatest authority on Islamic Art and one of
the tops on ancient Egyptian Art. I have met him and am reading one of his
books and cannot dissent.
Last week the Information Bureau asked me to whom they might send materials
on Islamic Art and I gave the names of the Rudolph Schaeffer School in S.F. and
the Hollywood Artists. This may be as much as I can handle except in Pakistan.
After seeing Creswell, they are arranging for me to have passes to all museums.
This along with the possible trip with Dr. Hasan to little visited Islamic
places will give me a fair picture and a wonderful opportunity.
Meanwhile the Embassy has been putting on a series of talks on Modern
American Art, very well attended and received. This will be followed by
readings from Modern Drama.
Philosophy: I have also presented the plan for lecturing on American
Philosophy and Philosophers which was worked out with me by Prof. Blau of
Columbia. He is now in Claremont, Calif. I am to modify the program slightly by
adding some of our poets and also reading some of this poetry at any
philosophical talks, particularly for India. You see I have my hands full.
Cultural Exchange: This is now being considered, including all the above.
Psychic Research: I hope to give you a report after meeting some of the
Dervishes here. There are certain matters, particularly in the field of
psychometrics, which are of “common knowledge” here and which would
I think this about does it.
Samuel L. Lewis
November 27, 1960
My dear Willie:
I have returned from Luxor and am not feeling too well. There is a sort of
ulcer on my upper palate. This may be due to an infection because of the
doubtful state of cutlery they use here. Fortunately I have some Hydrogen
Peroxide with me which the dentist told me to use as mouthwash.
I am sending a copy of this to Rudolph although I must express some
differences with opinions which have been given at the School. I took this trip
not for my own pleasure but to satisfy friends who are interested in
antiquities and mysteries. I came up with my usual experiences, greatly
accelerated and I guess this pattern will continue on and on throughout my life
and I do not care. For on my arrival at Luxor I was greeted by a Dervish
spiritual teacher, was introduced all around as an American dervish, and had a
most delightful time—with the natives.
There were also some Germans at the hotel, both East and West and I got the
usual challenges from a German that I do not know what I am talking about when
I discuss “Oriental philosophy” and that people are pulling my leg. This is
old stuff to me, it happened in America, it happened in India, it happened in
Pakistan, and it has happened here. The real Oriental philosophy (?) is that
from European mouths and even the poor Asians don’t know their own
philosophy. And I got it from Dr. S. C. Chatterji that he never yet met a
German who really understood Asian philosophy. Besides which I have all kinds
of invitations from Indian professors and Indian people where no Germans have
ever visited or been permitted to speak.
I am also amused at this writing that Koestler has written a book exposing
the Oriental “mystics.” He has visited a lot of humbugs whom some Germans
introduce as the real thing—and they are not the real thing or they are the
real thing. Anyhow no less than Karl Jung has backed Koestler and he is about
as great an authority on Oriental philosophy as I am on Swahili.
Fortunately, there were a lot of Americans around, a lot more Americans than
Germans and their ideas of Oriental philosophy are different—they consult
Orientals. Besides which the guide soon discovered that I knew a great deal
more than I have ever been credited with in the U.S. such as the relation
between ancient Egyptian theology and Islamic theology; and the meaning of
In the midst of going around the ruins at Karnak I was surrounded by a group
of hostile Indians—from Stanford. Even in my party, Stanfordites. I was the
lone Californian and had to tell them the sad news of the previous week. We
won, and how. So they declared an armistice and we all stood together.
After we returned one elderly lady said: “Don’t I know you?” well, I
have learned enough not to argue with elderly ladies and I started to tell but
I never finished a sentence: “Your mother’s nickname is “Fuchsia” and
she is a great flower grower and you are a writer.” Her name is Mrs. Lastreto
and she has long been a leader in the California Club.
I did not enjoy Karnak, Luxor and Thebes near as much as Saqqara. I believe
that the great Egyptian Mysteries were very ancient and that the finest
spiritual art is in the Saqqara region and hardly excavated. The Karnak-Luxor
period is a “Renaissance,” highly developed, highly sophisticated and
perhaps contains some of the greatest esthetic megalithic art. It beats the
Indian all over in form and niceties, but, when it comes to feeling, see below.
And even though I do not seem so enthusiastic I want to come again and sail on
the Nile southward. And thus also I shall meet more dervishes and commune with
On my return, today, not feeling well and having no engagements, I went to
the nearby Museum of Antiquities. Right from the start one can see the
importance of “Museology,” how to arrange museums and exhibits. The Islamic
Museum is perfect in this respect, though I cannot vouch for the statements
made of particular pieces. This Museum is gloomy and not well lit; add to that
the general funeral and funereal aspects of so much of the ancient art, it does
not buoy one up.
One cannot help noting a certain missing element which Dr. Chaudhuri called
“spirituality,” which seems to be present more or less in Indian art, even
though esthetically the Egyptian art is superior. In general they had a vivid
and fine sense of color, even from the most ancient times. The early works are
“primitive” in a certain sense, with much more spirituality and spirit. I
guess priestcraft did its worst.
Surprisingly, I was not beset by either “guides” or postcard sellers.
This was due in part to the large number of school children visiting, requiring
The basketry, basket-pottery and ceramics interested me most. I did not
purchase anything. I called on Dr. Hughes, Director of the American Oriental
Institute at Karnak; its center is in Chicago. I shall probably join, which
will give me access to the Karnak Library whenever I should come this way
again. I shall also take this up with Rudolph when I return in case he needs
something for his library. I am not, in this case, interested in adding to any
collection, for my interest is in living art.
I find so many things of contemporary folk-art which seem to be both
beautiful and useful as well as ornamental. But one is also besieged by
innumerable little requests from friends. Thus some people here have some
simple errands and I have been much beset by an errand I did for a friend in
India. It has brought no end of trouble and worry and the end is not in sight,
either. It seems I am destined to do for me and while this appears selfish
everything that has come out of my inner being has been accepted here.
This has been so much so that I even resurrected my defunct “plan” for
Palestine. he said that it was the first sensible plan he had ever heard of,
But I guess I’ll have to be much more famous or powerful. Anyhow, I have two
personal friends leading UN delegations and in a few days will start my work
here among the Embassies. I think I may be able to do it. I am never again
going to let anybody talk me down beforehand. I have had so few negatives given
me by all peoples from Japan to here inclusive that I do not see why I should
stop by negatives from other peoples. Few Europeans understand the Asians
although many are selected by Americans to “explain” the Oriental to them,
the Americans, and we might as well have Russians do it.
Last night the director of the TV station called here. I met him in
Cleveland and he also offered hospitality but I was not well—then. At this
moment I feel somewhat better than when I started the letter—power of mind
over matter, maybe. I may go to church on Christmas and I also want to visit
some synagogues—but this idea was given to me by the former Minister of
Education. He has my poetry and I should be calling on him as soon as I am
feeling better. I can almost predict that both the Indians and Arabs will enjoy
my Poetry; I have heard that in part already, but how to convince Western
people that Eastern people like what I am doing may not be so easy. I have gone
so far as to write a letter to the Near East Dept. of the University of
California insisting on an interview when I return. They, under the influence
of a European “authority” on Islamics, have ignored me. Now, with the full
force of the large number of graduates here, I shall simply go to the Alumni
and deans and demand an interview. I do not demand acceptance, but I shall
demand interviews. So far as South Asia and East Asia are concerned, there is
nothing but the most harmonious and amicable relations. These professors are
all under Harvard, none under European influence. Whenever Harvard extends its
tentacles I am safe; I know it beforehand.
I am next seeking to “annex” the University of Minnesota. I have talked
to their Agricultural Expert here and have written their philosophy department,
but have a few other “ins,” Half of me wishes to return to Cal. for
botanical and language studies, with perhaps a little geography and Near East
work too. But that is just half of me. The rest must wait until I have gone a
I do not think we are going have better international relations until we
become objectively honest. There are enough objectively honest people. We trust
those whom we admire and that is it. If we admire them, we prefer to believe
they are right. This is a common habit everywhere and prevents heart from
communing with heart because there is always an intermediary who is like a
tumor standing in the way, and we don’t know it. Yet it is easy for heart to
communion with heart, especially directly.
This would mean good-will and this would mean Christmas all over the world.
Thus a Merry Christmas to you.
There is no carbon of this sheet for Rudolph. People all over the world seem
very satisfied with the election of Kennedy. In the States they were afraid of
the Pope. Elsewhere they were afraid of Billy Graham. I don’t think this is
realized. A lot of people in the U.S. want the right of religious dualism and
there is nothing wrong in religious dualism. But what is wrong is that they
want religious dualism for Kashmir and the U.S. and they don’t want it in
Korea or Taiwan or Southeast Asia or generally in Asia and Africa, excepting in
Kashmir; and in Kashmir you don’t always find religious dualism.
The hush-hushing of Nixon’s career in other lands, of course, helped him
garner votes. But it did not make him popular. All Asia was anti-Nixon; and
South America, being Catholic, resented the religious issue and became
pro-Nixon, though the press hush- hushed it.
I do not know, of course, if Kennedy will work wonders, but he certainly
started out in a most astute manner to select brainy people from his own State,
which in my mind, is full of brains. Chester Bowles is the nominee of the
Afro-Asian bloc for Secretary of State, and I guess Stephenson for UN
Representative. Our old-line diplomats are old line and Acheson would be almost
as bad as Dulles. Dulles was very unpopular because he had no positive
philosophy at all.
The United States may return to leadership as soon as it stops trying to
lead. If we went around and started asking people “What you believe”
instead of “What do you feel about Russia” we would have the world on our
side. But we don’t ask and we put our own Cold War first and there are lots
of small cold wars because the cold war is the fashion.
The Afro-Asia Bloc meets here next month and I am starting out next week to
see what I can do.
[undated post card from UAR, December 1960]
Wish you a merry Christmas. Islamic Museum this a.m. and tomorrow Karnak.
Things even much better since last report. Ministry of Agriculture thanking me.
When return will find out about poetry. Bazaars here most interesting. Sending
a present—wait and find out.
December 12, 1960
My dear Rudolph:
I am writing this letter preparatory to receiving an invoice for five
pieces, which I am sending to the School for study. They are modern pieces,
exemplary of contemporary folk art. It is not easy to get historical pieces, as
the attitude toward early works is somewhat like the Japanese toward
“national monuments.” There is no finality in this but I am planning to
return to this land later on.
One of the chief reasons is that “local boy makes good-elsewhere.” I am
going into no details. I was accepted on each Asian land I visited before. I am
accepted on a larger and more serious scale now. I will spare you details, but
there is one American habit that has to be changed if we are to have world
peace and understanding and that is our habit of putting on “sun glasses”
in looking at Orientals. When we look at them directly there is every chance
for good will; when we look at them through intermediaries, there is no chance.
But we do look at them through intermediaries, we laud the intermediaries and
often as not those authorities on “Oriental culture” in the United States
are the most loathed in actual Asia. I mention no names.
Nevertheless it is this habit which disgusts Asians and more here than
elsewhere. They want us to eat with them, talk with them, even pray with
them—or for that matter hate them directly and not through third party’s
eyes and minds,
As for my projects, I have had quite a few and everyone has been accepted
and every one of these acceptances at the highest levels. This has been both
delightful and sorrowful for I shall not remain in the United States and have
doors shut in my face when here all doors are open and even the whole staff of
the U.S. Embassy for me, including field experts.
And the doors are also open for me wide in other Asian lands. My old friend,
M. A. Husain who used to be in San Francisco is here as Ambassador from India
and through his staff I have had other introductions to other Asians, and
everything looks potentially rosy for my future. On top of that the local
newspapers are just awakening to my experiences and I have a nice letter from
Chet Huntley whom I have known at least casually for many many years. All of
this delays my return or even desire to stay around San Francisco.
Wishing you and the staff best of Happy New Years,
December 12, 1960
My dear Willie:
I am enclosing copy of a letter to Rudolph. This letter means much more than
it says. I sent Rudolph all kinds of little things and lots more information
from my last trip to Asia and he never once asked me to speak. It is true I
could say certain things in class but he has had speakers of much less standing
in actual Asia speak, and misinform our public about Oriental art.
Lewis McRitchie is an American and has an objective point of view. But the
non- Americans who speak are given a prestige which they do not deserve. It is
not, of course, only true with Rudolph, it is true all over the nation
excepting at Harvard and Princeton.
I have dared to do what no diplomat has ever done—mingle with the people.
I have spoken to thousands; I have mingled with thousands more. I have had some
top-level talks and it is easy for me to have top-level talks; I have had
sidewalk talks and it is easy for me to have sidewalk talks. One or two
Americans doing this would counterbalance all the Pro- Russian ballyhoo but we
must counterbalance ballyhoo with ballyhoo. We don’t like ballyhoo ourselves
but sometimes, like all propagandists of all nations whomsoever and whatsoever
ballyhoo must be used and it is “unthinkable” to use anything else but
I have been in many Mosques, even spoken in some and have always been in
introduced as “The American.” Now with letters from Chet Huntley and the
San Rafael Journal-Independent, I am going off on another tack.
My poetry has been placed by critics in the highest bracket! But I haven’t
the slightest idea as to what to do next. Everything else has gone along with
practically no hitches, and fortunately, too, I have enough people in San
Francisco now who believe me and will receive me with satisfaction when I
I have also written to Rose McCook in the City Hall and if she sees Mrs.
Grady that lady is going to get a very pleasant ear-full and then some. But she
had faith in me and I am living up to that faith, in full.
Dear Willie: Copy of letter to lifelong friends. Melville was originally one
of my father’s protégés. He and the Irwin mentioned became bitter about
Elliott. They could never understand the strange favoritism. Samuel
December 17, 1960
My dear Melville and Phyllis:
I am writing you under strange but exceedingly favorable circumstances with
some news and some things which are like favors or suggestions but which you
may (or may not) consider otherwise. Far from dreams or hopes being shattered
by my visit to this part of the world, I am faced with strange dilemmas as my
prestige is rising rapidly, all my projects have been received with exceeding
goodwill, the goodwill is increasing and affairs are almost out of hand. I am
receiving no help, so far, from any group, foundation or anybody but a few
friends. And I am certainly not asking for help because what I do need is
sufficient money for colleagues and not just more money for Sam Lewis.
The other day I wrote to Rose McCook in the City Hall. Although I am not
representing San Francisco until I reach Japan, there are some prospects of my
going on another venture soon which is involved in the linkage of cities. And
the main reason for going on this venture is simply that so far I have not been
turned down on anything. Indeed the only matter which
I wanted to drop was the project of saltwater conversion plants. This I did
because my program is overloaded for one person and I could then concentrate on
it for Pakistan.
I cannot here tell you all my intellectual backgrounds or studies. But I do
hope you see Irwin Meyer some time because he is at least a witness from
boyhood of my intellectual prowess then. There is also Miss Edith Pence who is
active in the World Affairs Council. It is probable that this organization will
offer me the floor when I return but it is almost certain that the American
Friends of the Middle East shall. On such occasions I am hoping you are free
and can come, although it may be some time before I return to the United
To be taken seriously is of itself an adventure. While I had a godfather, I
am inclined to accept Samuel Morse as a sort of proxy godfather, for that
fellow kept on trying and trying and when he reached his goal he was impelled
or compelled to knock down a few heads. I shall also be impelled or compelled
to knock down a few heads, not for the sake of “revenge” or “justice”
but I have particularly in mind a number of Europeans who, for God or the devil
knows what reason, have been put in charge of courses on Asian subjects
throughout the United States, to misinform our public and promote nothing but
ill-will for America while they garner the shekels and are greeted as
“experts.” This is true in California more than anywhere else and it has
given a bad name to some of our best Institutions—which I won’t name here,
but some people are going to be displeased. Yet they will have to choose
between America first and listening to Germans, Englishmen, Swiss and
Hungarians tell them all about the Orient. When you combine this with Zionism
you can see that it is not necessary for any Russians to stir up anti-American
I don’t mean here to be a stickler for “honesty” or “justice”
which are mere words. I would like objectivity and I know I shall be challenged
by Zionists although I do not know anything about Israel and while I work alone
without support, must confine myself to those countries I wish to visit and not
to lands other peoples want me to see. I am not even planning to go to
Jerusalem on either side, but this I do not know for sure.
This last week the San Rafael paper asked me for my story and in the next
mail Chet Huntley also. I knew Chet when he was nobody, and again when he was
broadcasting from Hollywood. I do have news, and some basic facts. I begin, of
course, with my horticulture ventures which were planned with Harry Nelson of
City College. This expanded as I crossed the United States, receiving the full
cooperation of Ohio State U. and the New York Horticultural Society. All my
plans, proposals and what not have been accepted. But outside anything Harry or
I desired, the fact that the place is teeming with U. C. graduates, and most of
all right in my own field, has facilitated anything planned. I shall have some
pretty big projects and even now am working preparatory on an international
Instead of loading people with cheap “love” and “true” magazines,
and faith, for that matter, I want to see farmers get agricultural magazines.
This idea was turned down by everybody and then some but accepted by the very
top man in the magazine field. Mr. Charles Kenyon of New York and all he needs
is a letter from me which will start the most valid and sure backfire against
the staff that we are all but paying the Russians to put out. For they do not
send farmers “love” and “true” magazines they send technical and
scientific books, not particularly good, but of particular interest to those
This is a very big field in itself and at long last I have cooperation and
good will. This is so true of the Embassy here that when I enter the compound
now not only I am news, but generally I bring news. All I can say at this point
is that I am known by thousands as “The American” and I want to be known as
“The American” and whatever my name or several names is or are, I represent
the U.S. and I am doing what only Russians have done, or their agents, mix with
the people. We just can’t do that; it’d be unfair in the “cold war.”
But I am doing it and now my social calendar is as full as my scientific
Next morning. I have had three adventures since starting this letter. The
first was a field trip with the Americans, largely the staff and sons and
daughters of the Embassy Staff, looking at the Citadel and country just west of
the city. I treated one of the staff to a very fine dinner (Diners’ Club
Card). Then went to a meeting of our 400 dervishes. These people would be our
best friends but there is hardly a piece of honest literature about them. We
call them all kinds of names and I don’t think there is hardly a Westerner
who has ever really studied them—yes a few persons, but they remain unknown.
I go among them as “The American,” have spoken before thousands of them and
am known as “The American,” and never by name. Besides whatever one’s
name is lots of other people may have such a name. I am called Mr. Sam, Mr.
Lewis, Mr. Ahmed and Mr. Murad here, and sometimes by the first names only
without the Mr. or occasionally “Effendi.”
When I returned home I found a letter from the Department of the Interior.
Then they sent some material to me instead of to Dr. Hasan Bagdadi. He is the
Minister of Agricultural Reform and Rural Resettlement. He is also a University
of California man and close friend of Paul Keim, the real “Ugly American.”
Paul comes right off the campus where Prof. Burdick resides and does everything
the opposite of what Burdick has suggested and has succeeded. But no publicity,
no newsmen, not a single piece of literature—only quiet success almost as if
they were working underground.
Most of the things we looked at yesterday were built by the great Saladin
who beat the Crusaders. I have brought an epic poem here dedicated to him. I
got nowhere with it in S. F. But just before I left part of it was read by Col.
Everson, of the American Friends of the Middle East and he places it among the
top poems. The same part has been read by two men here, and the whole poem by
two VIP’s and they place it among the world’s very tops. I don’t know how
I can get it published, but I am meanwhile waiting for a report on some other
poetry and that may determine my policy. I am also urged to write some books. I
have had some financial help in Cleveland, Ohio, and that is the best place to
get access to research material, although there is a bare possibility of doing
this on the California campus. One of the chief librarians is a friend of mine.
The reactions on this poetry are utterly out of line with my previous life,
excepting the last course I took at U.C. where I stood out, but there were only
about a dozen people around.
But this morning I am going to “make history” again, for when I take the
material from the Department of Interior, addressed to Dr. Hasan Bagdadi, to
the National Research Center, they will be delighted. There one meets the top
scientists not only of this area, but of much of the western world. Well,
folks, I have already had the top exerts of the Agriculture Department approve
of what I am doing, so I guess it won’t hurt for a few others.
There is one bunch in S.F. that has always turned me down, and that is
“Asia Foundation.” Walter Haas & Co. simply won’t believe that I am
doing anything and they have seen to it that I get no interviews. There are
going to be some very red faces when I return. I always get interviews in the
Orient, from here to Japan inclusive. I had not only asked for no money, but
for no introductions and believe me I have so many I don’t know what to do. I
can only hope I can get some help from Fulbright or Rockefeller, not for me,
but that they pay some scholars to work for me.
Why, I have in my invisible portfolio all kinds of things, such as the
search for the “Lost Tribes of Israel” who weren’t lost but were absorbed
by the Pathans. I have seen ruins of old synagogues and Aramaic writing and
what not, and very wrong reports. Indeed most of the old reports on Asian
architecture is wrong. Dr. Creswell, the top authority here had to write to
prove that all his predecessors were wrong. They were. He went and looked at
monuments. They, like Karl Marx, wrote tomes in the London Museum. Our guide
yesterday, took as much time to attacking “authorities” as to explaining
what we saw. I think he was 100% right but maybe I am prejudiced. But at least
he studied Egyptian art and, architecture by actual examination of things. This
is only a recent trend. Only the books on Indian Art written since 1950 are
good but they more than make up for the errors of the past. But the Indus
Valley has remains of Greek, Persian and Hebrew cultures that have not been
touched. You see, I either upset apple carts or go around applauding those who
do. But the fact is that our greatest mistake is in being nonobjective. As I
have said: “The authorities on Asia are European professors and American
newsmen; to trust American professors and European newsmen is ‘unthinkable’
but it might be worth a try.”
So I look to this day first to meet some Physicists, then Biologists, and
perhaps the chief engineer of Saudi Arabia. He wants me to visit his country,
but I have so much in tow I don’t know. Still, if the ship lands at Jidda it
won’t cost anything.
I live in a pension with the cost of $70 a month for room, board, laundry,
dry cleaning, telephone and tips! Next time I shall go to the one across the
street which costs a little more but is run by the same family. There are no
luxuries but no discomforts and everything is clean. It is just behind the
famous Semiramis Hotel which I enjoy and am known by many members of the staff.
It is not far from the Nile-Hilton which is an excrescence, full of the most up
to date to nonsense. It is decadent, rather than luxurious. I have seen all the
hotels in San Francisco, most of the great ones in Washington and New York, and
there is not a one which I would not place far above the Nile-Hilton at any
price. Besides this, it gives the natives more erroneous ideas of the United
States, as they get from the “love” and “true” magazines and movies.
These, and not Russian propaganda, are the things that stir people up against
I intended to write more but have several letters to answer, which came in
on Sunday evening. That is not a holiday here and the delivery was late and
I leave presumably on February 20th for Pakistan. Some of that will be
“old hat.” But it is strange to have every one’s dreams and projects in
about everything accepted, after almost all of them were turned down before.
This habit of turning down is the reason for our failures in some international
fields. I know of Americans who have been in out of the way places and they
can’t get newspaper interviews at all, and it is only recently that, the
State Department took them seriously. I have had to tell newsmen—and it
usually does no good—that if about six more countries follow Cuba, maybe they
will listen to people with information. This is a terrible state of affairs but
unfortunately it is true. We spend millions to guard against an “invasion”
by Banditistan, and a dozen people will find an anti-American plot going in
Pirateland and nobody believes them and then
Pirateland burns the USIS library, etc. I am afraid this will still happen, but
at least our Foreign Service is more cautious. They are now listening to
everybody which is the best precaution. But there I am news; at home, some
Well, I hope 1961 will be bright for you.
Samuel L. Lewis
December 25, 1960
My dear Bette and Hazel:
It is Christmas morning and in a certain sense there is something very
significant about it. The chessboard has eight squares, light and dark, and
there is something mystical about the pawn becoming the Queen—even in the
“Alice in the Looking-Glass” fashion. The Pyramid of Sakkar has an incline,
then a plateau and on until one reaches the top. My own life seems now to
resemble the “monistic” pyramid rather than the “dualistic” chessboard.
There are, however, elements of real mysticism in it which I am not going to
relate here or try to impress upon others.
I did go to a Protestant service last night by the American Mission. It is a
large, cathedral- like church. There was singing rather than services. When I
arrived there were about 20 people there, all of whom looked like Americans.
When I left there must have been 400-500 people, and still just about 20
Americans! Of course I do not know how many of the Egyptians are converts and
how many just visited. Nevertheless, I am today far from traditional
Christianity. It is like saying—you can’t look at the sun excepting through
a cloud, or a microscope or a looking-glass. You can’t do anything directly,
it has to be done by a certain road and any other road is “unthinkable.”
This I do not accept, excepting when I am with Muslims and sometimes prod
This morning I am going to the Vegetable Center to do some typing on the
edible vegetables of Indonesia. I am amazed to find out that many ordinary
parts of ordinary plants are edible. I once wrote to my friend, Harry Nelson,
to put up a sign on the Zoo lab, “off limits” for after visiting Japan
almost every animal seemed edible. Now the same looks true for plants excepting
those we know to be poisonous. But a lot of plants are also medicinal and
aromatic and I have not even looked into this yet.
My story is very difficult to tell. Anyhow, I have gained in
self-confidence. I pulled out my own international ideas. I nearly reached the
top three times in life, always betrayed by my own confidante or
“conféante” and so shut up. But to my delight the principles which I have
presented now are praised by every UN person I meet and although still timid by
some of the more open people both among Americans and Egyptians also. With this
confidence I turned toward my ideas in Oriental philosophies and their relation
to science. I did this in particular with Sufism. Again, everything was gobbled
I am now meeting top scientists, visiting labs and what-not, and so pulled
out, one-by-one from my bag, what I call “Natural Philosophy” which is
composed of principles gained by an integrating, overall look at Nature. For
instance, Edison invented the carbon- arc lamp because carbon, in
contradistinction to the metals, becomes a conductor when heated while they
become better conductors when super-cooled.
I won’t go into the scientific phases here. You know my long battle
against the European and Charles Moore meddlers with Oriental philosophy. This
is not over. People who have European training still praise their teachers. One
Arab has come back from a long sojourn in France and written that every book
and every teacher on Islamic philosophy is wrong. We simply won’t accept it
and it is probably true. Dr. Cresswell, who is the authority on Islamic Art has
already written the same thing. He found that Mosques did not look like the
pseudo- description and even less like the deductions which filled the books of
his predecessors. He attacked them all and some quite vociferously. Nobody
criticizes him today; he was right, absolutement.
I remember one leading Oriental saying about Orientalists: “Books! books!
all they know is books!” This is more than true. And I find the Arab,
charming or not, but not particularly resembling lectures I have heard. And I
am gaining friends and acquaintances at such a rapid rate I cannot assimilate.
Iron is not good Copper, nor Cobalt good Iron. So the Arab is not a poor
European or Jew or Chinaman—he is the Arab. The nearest I came to was a
Saudian Arabian, who is probably purer Arab than the people here or the
Syrians—though I cannot prove it. But he knocked out two legends in a few
Well, I had my personality troubles with the people who turned on me in the
international field. Then with the “Orientalists” from Bingham to Watts to
Landau to Moore, and a lot of etceteras. Then with the Semanticists. Every
single paper which I turned [in] to Hayakawa and which he spurned, every idea
has been accepted by the actual scientists here, and not only the Arabs, but
the French and Americans. In fact, I have gone so far as to say that these
organizations which claim income tax deductions and are nothing but
pseudo-frauds, need investigation. A metaphysical magazine, per se, is not
regarded as cultural. Actually, the Semanticists are nothing but distinguished
humanists today, who give humanism a pseudo- intellectual coating and think
they are getting by.
The general principles of semantics are excellent, with our false identity
in personalities, our variation in the use of words, etc. But the ridiculous
thing comes when a man like Whorf comes out with exactly the opposite
conclusions as Korzybski and K.’s followers hail Whorf as one of the great
minds of the day. I am neither defending nor accusing Korzybski and Whorf but
it is so obvious to the scholars here that they throw up their hands in
ridicule and disgust. This I have met before.
Anyhow, I am now welcome all over. So I am doing, when I can, more creative
writing and already it is in demand before I start out. This is more than I can
bear and I tell it only because it looks like a dramatic story. I sometimes
refer to “Edmond Dantes with a sense of humor!” Revenge has no humor in it,
but neither am I going to permit pseudos get away.
I have now written to many and will continue to bang on my theme about
50,000,000 people forced into neutralism by our nonsense about them. There are
not many people who favor Russia anywhere, but there are many who are disgusted
with the U.S. The change to Stevenson will probably be of great help for he has
some principles—I am not going to defend him—but he has some principles.
Our diplomats are so drowned with the “tyranny of words” that we cannot
control the votes anymore. This does not mean that other camps are right, but
that we are wrong. All diplomats are double-talkers excepting, perhaps U Nu and
a few Scandinavians.
The other night I heard a fine talk on Mark Twain. Well, my real name is
Sam. My self- devised nickname is P. Puck. Puck is from Shakespeare, of course,
but the P. stands for “Puddinghead” from Mark Twain’s “Puddinghead
Wilson” and I am always standing alone, but with the right answer—only now
I am not alone anymore and all the seeming fantastic views and experiences are
not out of the bag. The thing is to hold one’s head, but I am no longer a
young man and I think I can do.
The World Congress of Faiths has now appointed me their representative and
so I can help organize a branch where the real teachings of real religions can
be given, and we might even learn what the Japanese actually believe and also
the people of Southeast Asia, and also what Islamic philosophy is, and a much
better picture of all the peoples of Asia, and even what
Jews actually believe. Too much nonsense, all around. So you see that one by
one obstacles have been over me and I stop here to go on my “edible plants”
project. I am not hungry; Took two young men out to a big Christmas party last
night, biggest meal for a long time.
I have not tried to see President Nasser but my letter will be written
shortly. I am sorry so much attention is paid here to international affairs. In
the case of uncertain countries, there is always attention on external matters.
When nations suffer from drought, famine, corruption, etc. they try to keep
citizens’ minds concentrating on foreign enemies or situations. I can name a
lot of countries which can do that.
But UAR is something like the U.S. When Russia gets ahead of us in a single
science, it is news. We are ahead in all kinds of sciences. The same is
undoubtedly true that UAR is today ahead of lots of nations in the actual
sciences and in organizational and laboratory work. But it is not news. The
papers praise G. A. Nasser but they say nothing of the finest things going on.
Then, when Israel makes one step forward, they yell and yelp. They do not
advertise their own country.
The results are astonishing. You only have to talk to tourists who have
returned any time in the last 5 to 10 years. If the UAR government would
interview them, they would find that a lot of Americans can give much better
talks on the UAR than their best apologists. The rate of progress is
astounding. People are not dying of starvation. The growth, even if the reports
are exaggerated, shows a much higher rate than Russia, China, India, and
certainly Brazil and Argentina.
Nasser would stand out as the man of the day if he did not act like
Mussolini. He is not a
Mussolini, he does not need crowds to applaud him. His accomplishments are so
marvelous and yet he is not aware of them himself. For the release of energy of
2500 years is stupendous and there is also with it some spiritual
release—this, as I mentioned above, I do not wish to impress or impose, but
it is certainly here. I meet more and more people who have the combined
spiritual and libertarian releases in them and they are accomplishing things.
Some of these appear in papers I send to the San Rafael Journal-Independent. I
am keeping detailed notes.
I do not know what my itinerary will be. The success here has again
overwhelmed my expectations. That happened before. But now I have the whole
force of the Foreign Service with me. I can only see my trip as far as Penang.
There I shall stop for a very careful evaluation, and sometimes think I may
have to “hurry” thence, though this may result in an independent visit to
Japan. Of course the ships stop at Formosa, though I should prefer Hong Kong to
either that or Manila. But this is too far ahead. Yet I should thank you both
for suggestions and introductions. It will benefit the Chinese of San Francisco
if I do go to Formosa.
At the moment, between too much food last night and too much overwhelming of
events, I stop here and hope you join me in a Happy and Prosperous 1961,
Samuel L. Lewis
P.S. After post I go to visit some important philosophers who have heard
about me. I don’t know what it is all about but I keep busy every day, all
day, almost all the time.
January 13, 1961
My dear Willie:
I was glad to get your airmail letter telling me all about your family. It
seems strange, years roll on and I have, in a sense, no family of my own. In
another sense, I am fulfilling a destiny, long ago laid out for me, to become a
real Big Brother to humanity. I had to write one friend in San Francisco that
the seemingly exaggerated reports were my diary, and they remain in my diary
and are not any effort to justify or excuse. But before I come to the end of
this letter I shall report on another matter about which you may give advice,
I am very tired tonight after a long day, first at the Agricultural Section
of Ein Shams University and then on the home and farm of Professor Sa’ad A.
Kamel. I was introduced to him by Dr. Hasan Salah, A UC graduate who has been
very cooperative, only to find he was the college chum of one of my hosts here
with whom I am doing active research cooperation. I shall be writing reports in
detail to my friend, Harry Nelson, at City College.
Now I am in deep. It is not like being over one’s head, but like in a
motor boat which goes on though one no longer controls it, but which seems to
have self-steering equipment. Indeed, that I have relaxed control over my own
affairs they are operating just as successfully or more on a higher level.
Briefly, in the last two days I have: (a) laid the groundwork for a most
important report in botanical genetics which may help clear up the old
Lysenko-Mendel debate; (b) had a long conference with the representative of the
American Soybean Foundation and the request that I write at least one paper;
(c) prepared the groundwork for agricultural cooperation between India and
Pakistan, separately, with the UAR; (d) arranged another link with the UAR to
join with the Friends of the World which has brought Japan and the U.S. close
together (e.g. the cable car San Francisco gave to Osaka.) Before this I had
just finished typing two papers for the Islamic Congress and I gave them Part
IV of my epic which has been highly praised and appraised. I do not have any
days off at all and the long day found me tired and with the need of doing a
lot of typing. For all business has to be done in the mornings, usually, but
yesterday afternoon was spent visiting a holy mosque, because a celebration was
going on for a female saint; and there are female saints in Islam, despite a
lot of non-denials by a bunch of Europeans who place their concepts over
The other day the housekeeper said to me: “Sam, why aren’t you like
other Americans?” I said, “How am I different?” “They come to study
Arabic, you come to study the Arabs.” In this is the highest compliment. I
cannot go out from this pension on any pretext without being stopped by all
kinds of people.
The other day I went into the bank. It makes me want to write “Not So
Innocents Abroad.” I am now so well known and so well thought of that they
brought me the money at once. After that, the conversation was broken twice for
me to sign papers they forgot. Usually they red- tape you and you wait and
wait. It is true when I went to Bank of America in San Francisco and asked for
a thousand dollars, “How do you want it?” that quick. But to have this
happen here is quite a thing. I had to stay a whole hour in social chit-chat,
mostly on religion. I was challenged by a Christian and gave him these
a. A Muslim has to believe in the Qur’an and that is superior to any
creed; a Christian has to believe in his creed and that is above Scripture. b.
A Christian can reject even the words of Jesus Christ, as the “Sermon on the
Mount;” a Muslim may not reject the sayings of Mohammed; c. A Muslim accepts
Jesus, a Christian rejects Mohammed... Nowhere did I put the Qur’n above the
Bible or Mohammed above Jesus. The Christian shook my hand. I did not object
when he said Jesus is God, I stuck to the three points above.
I have had innumerable debates, but it is becoming a dangerous thing to
challenge me. One guide did it a few minutes ago, because I paid a poor guide
way over the feel. “Zakat”—alms. I asked him “Isn’t Zakat one of the
pillars of your religion? Are you rejecting it?” All his colleagues gave him
the horse-laugh. And all these things raise my ratings—among the
On the other hand I have asked: “What is the difference between a Muslim
reception and an American reception to a high dignitary?... The Muslims give
better liquor.” It is true, and the cocktail parties accomplish nothing but
confirm each one’s low opinion of the others.
I celebrated both Christmas and New Year’s at Grillon, a restaurant here
where I used the Diner’s Club Credit Card. They had very special, very
expensive meals, which were worth it. I took a strolling American and we each
paid New Year’s—costing us about $8 each. Then I took him to a regular
dinner two days later at the same place, about $4 for both—one quarter the
price, to show him how reasonable it really was. These prices include tips and
taxes and there are no extras, and the first included liquor, but there was
music and entertainment. So celebrations are very reasonable here, even at the
I do not go into Nile-Hilton which is fancy in price and that is all. I have
not yet eaten duck here but will, I hope. Last night and today I had Egyptian
Well, now you know how it feels to be a great-grandmother.
I expect soon to have a letter from my uncle and aunt who have been visiting
the San Francisco Bay region. Now I have two pieces of business:
1. Will you please telephone Faverman Drug Company and ask if they have
heard from me or received a package. This included a Christmas present for you.
But they had to follow some instructions first and that may account for the
delay. Also, the package may have been delayed by the Christmas rush.
2. You will note what I have written above about what I am doing. I have
before me a list of a large number of organizations who are collecting funds to
establish better relations between the U.S. and foreign lands. They include
high-powered names. I shall not name the organizations here, except that they
have in common fund-raising campaigns. I can assure you, Willie, not a single
one is operative here, and for that matter, I have not run into them in other
lands, either. I am not blaming the group because the head of one section has
promised me full cooperation, but the head of another section did not answer
and I was told he was running a racket, which I can well believe.
I do know another organization, not in this list, made a stirring and
successful appeal in San Francisco for funds to purchase fertilizer and sprays
for the UAR and Ethiopia, specially named. I offered them my services on
condition they give me a home, nothing more. My services were refused. They are
not functioning here. I am in personal touch with everybody from the tops of
the Ministry of Agriculture to almost every near-VIP in this field and none of
them ever heard of this group. Indeed, outside the American Friends of the
Middle East and a small amount of work by CARE—greatly exaggerated in the
American press—there are no nonsectarian groups here at all and even of these
few have heard of them. The whole thing is out of kilter.
The relations between the U.S. and the Afro-Asian nations is delicate. So
far I have found nobody in favor of communism. Their religion makes them
adamant. But the foolishness of a quick decision on Israel and strange antics
in other directions leave us largely friendless. In addition to my friend,
Harry Nelson, I am about to write to the San Rafael Journal- Independent. Here
I am news and I think I am going up further—at the moment there are no closed
I told my host I love my people and favored our economic and political
system, but that our psychological and moral programs made me ashamed of my
country. Egypt got rid of Farouk. We hold to Louis Mayer and all he stands
for—rotten films, sex, gambling, drinking and murder. Our films are
corroborated by the cheap literature on the market and Americans who run to
nightclubs instead of taking tours. Actually, many more take tours, but they
are not counted because they leave quickly. Those who attend nightclub shows
are counted because they must remain overnight. This has been a long battle but
I shall not give up.
Now when you see these campaigns to raise funds which never get here; funds
to help Isreal which get there; lurid literature around, even without the
stands we take on Negroes and what not, we have psychologically put ourselves
on thin ice. On top of that, I may write a strong letter soon to what happened
first at the American Academy of Asian studies and then spread over the
An American woman, a Ph.D. went to India as one of the first four American
graduates on the exchange basis of the O.I.C. She received another degree in
India on Sanskrit and Indian Studies. She was recognized all over India. Her
name was used to raise funds and then she was kicked out. The funds were
tax-exempt, the school was tax-exempt. She has long gone without a job in any
California University. In her place are numerous Europeans, graduates from
European universities who give out degrees in Asiatics. These degrees are
recognized neither by the State Department nor in Asia. I think all the
Consuls-General who have been in San Francisco from India will back me up. We
remove the American recognized in the Orient for the non-American, not
recognized in the Orient for the source of “information” about Asia.
Unfortunately, this is symptomatic in much of the U.S. Judith Tyberg goes
starving and Professor “Von Plotz,” as I call him, sits pretty, is believed
and the Asians despise us—from Japan to here, inclusive.
As to Japan, we have the European, Alan Watts, execrated in Asia, on the
radio, misinforming us about the religions of East Asia; and our McArthur
legend—positively putrid and humbug—the name of McArthur is hated in Japan.
And we blame the Russians for anti- American outbreaks. Americans who are
unknown or disliked in the Orient are heroes in our papers and Americans who
are liked in the Orient are hardly mentioned. I can give innumerable examples,
but will not here.
Anyhow, Senator Fulbright, if not father, knows best. I am hoping Bowles and
Rusk will do better. I think Rusk understands the Near East and Bowles is loved
in India. As for Stevenson—he is the—our Dale Carnegie philosophy stops at
the 12-mile limit. Stevenson could not be dog-catcher in America, but outside
the 12-mile limit he may be the most popular man in the whole world (he is not
my favorite, Bowles is, but he is the world’s favorite.) Outside this I can
assure you, Willie, Harvard and M.I.T. have the most promising minds in the
U.S. or maybe on earth.
January 29, 1961
My dear Willie:
I want to thank you for your long letter of the 23rd which arrived by
airmail. I am answering by sea-mail because again the cost of a lot of stamps
is going to be high; and secondly, because I shall be moving in and out of
Cairo until the 15th when I leave for Port Said, to arrive in Karachi on March
3, with a presumably temporary address of c/o U.S. Consulate, Karachi; and
after March 15, presumably my mailing address will be K-482 Old Kunj St.,
Abbottabad, Hazara, West Pakistan, c/o Abdul Rahman.
There are two immediate reactions to your letter, I find at their worst many
Americans—and they are probably not the only ones—take refuge in maxims and
think they are leaning on wisdom. There is a maxim for every situation. And on
the other hand when one is concentrating he is apt to keep this a secret so he
writes about everything but that which is the central core of his endeavors.
In 1955 a number of us met on McAllister St. to discuss non-political ways
of promoting world peace. I had long been devoted to brining about better
relations between the U.S. and the Orient and I chose horticulture as my field.
I have been working and working successfully in this line until the harvest
became too great for me. The projects I have proposed have all been accepted
and I have received the goodwill if not the thanks of many parties on both the
American and Arabian side of this; with now a larger project in view. All the
details of this have been sent to my friend, Harry Nelson, of City College, San
But in the course of crossing the country I also had the problem, which is
connected with the World Congress of Faiths. My interest in religions has been
more than a passing fancy but I find that the majority of people who venture
out of their faith fall into one of two camps, both equally undesirable: (a)
the fake swamis, crackpots and charlatans who pretend and the greater their
pretensions the greater their following, or financial returns and they are
usually interested in one or the other or both; (b) the tendency to accept
persons from faraway places as knowing much more about certain subjects from
totally other faraway places about which they know little. The Americans, and
particularly the Californians fall for that stuff. In any case, we learn about
the “Oriental” from everybody but the Orientals.
As I got further away from California I was received more seriously and as
time went on I have been asked to take over the American representation of the
world Congress of Faiths. I have had nice letters from Bishop Pike in San
Francisco and the chief Imam, Hoballah, in Washington. I can easily get the
support of any Indian or Buddhist, but the chief one is Vice-President
Radhakrishnan who is very active in the same campaign.
One day I was at the Vegetable Experimental Station when the director, Fuad
Rizk, introduced me to his associate, Murtaz Billah and this opened a whole
bunch of doors for me with the Dervishes. I cannot write now on this subject
but am making at least semiofficial reports on the largest body of human beings
which we have entirely bypassed in the U.S. And with all our pretensions,
morals, maxims, etc. there is a strange attitude of refusing to accept the
world as it is and then being shocked thereafter because something
“unforeseen” has happened.
I have written to several papers on the “Real Problem of Laos” which
consists in not listening to our fellow-Americans when they bring unusual news
from abroad. Well, I got in with unusual people and as I ventured further I
came upon all these things:
a. There is a tremendous un-investigated music of the Dervishes, some
elements of which are undoubtedly derived from Christian Gnosticism and others
even from the ancient Greek; and it is possible that the Christian Gnostic also
derives from the Greek; or
b. The Coptics have music and art forms which we have bypassed
c. There are all kinds of elements in Islam in its largest sense which you
can no more derive from the books read than you can derive the Christmas tree
or Easter egg from books on Christian theology.
Then one is in a strange land. I did not come to visit the mummies or the
pyramids. My ventures—which make concentration difficult are to please
others, not me. I really have no time for ancient Egypt but everybody is going
to ask me about ancient Egypt. I am not going into any Laos which does not have
levels of cultures; and I have gone so far as I could in immediate
Then they are the bazaars here. I have agreed to try to find things for
Rudolph and others. I am here. I am in a place, not facing a theory. And
besides, one has to do all their work before 2 o’clock, often before 1; what
is to be done the rest of the time? Occasionally a football game or a movie and
often typing as now.
Then the other associate of Fuad Rizk above is Ali Azad. Now I have been in
trouble, because I have the integrative point of view and nearly everybody is
an analyst, in his own style. I found Ali Azad, who has long been a fine
friend, doing exactly in the experimental world what I have been maintaining as
the integrative solution of the Mendel-Lysenko debate.
Then I am sent to the top scientists and while still working in my own
fields, copies to Harry Nelson, I get more introductions. And so I try to
integrate and every time I try to integrate everybody else takes me up.
Integration and harmonization are my work, and if you can call that a
specialty, to do. But all movements toward integration have without exception
Next the satisfaction made me recall some of the things for which I was
stopped, and deliberately stopped, by others. When the depression was on,
Irving Fisher appeared before the Banking & Currency Committee and as soon
as he crossed the threshold, Senator Nelson, the chairman said: “Either that
man goes or I go.” Fisher was never heard. There are a lot of people Like
Fisher who may have the answers and some bigger shot acts just like Senator
Nelson, more than we care to hear about. This is what happened to my “Plan
for Palestine.” So I timidly aired it twice before U.N. officials said both
said it was the only sensible thing they had ever heard. My training here also
came from my work with Dr. Henry Atkinson of the World Church Peace Union. I am
now resurrecting it.
If my folks had given me any education, any training, any craft, it might
have been different. I had to face poverty and hardship and I got through
somehow. You must bear mind, Willie, that my friend M. T. Kirby for years kept
writing me of an imminent Japanese attack on Hawaii; and then my friend Robert
Clifton told me the same about Laos. He came to Washington and had the door
shut in his face by Dulles. And not one editor would interview him. He went
back to Southeast Asia, gave up his citizenship, and there, after the fighting
there, Mr. Dulles pursued him all over. So I am proposing and seriously
proposing that we listen carefully to Americans who go abroad and especially
who live abroad who have something to say.
The next thing I had to face here, Willie, was having gotten in, it was not
so easy to get out. You can get planes in any direction and you can get ships
to the West, but not so many go East through the canal and of those that do,
most are booked. Then, even when you are booked you have to wait for the actual
passage. This compelled me to stay here 40 days more than I had been surmising
and much more than I had expected.
Next I am in the strange position of going back and forth between Arab and
Western social groups. They do not mix readily. I blame nobody, I just mix. And
on top of that you would be surprised as to how many people would not listen to
me when I returned before. If I had been—and then I had only two main
endeavors, it might have been different.
As it is now, I don’t care because I am preparing to come back and am
working on another project, which is the efficient use of scientific
literature. I have had training in this. It is not my last resort but it will
be if I get the cold shoulder. I was at the Embassy the other day listing the
number of doors shut in my face without any opportunity, for four of the five
proposals that had been briefed to me my by the State Department. I have
written that I try to feel what Mrs. Grady wants without asking her. I have
also carried, off the record, a lot of things for our “ugly Americans” who
are tied down by protocol and this is very, very sad. I had five or six
interviews in New York when I returned in 1957, four absolutely
rejected—proposed to me by our foreign service; and the other two, much more
favorably received, my own. But these, only after a fight, though fortunately I
So far as I know I am closer to Mr. Rusk than to any of his predecessors. As
I wrote before Mr. Stevenson is occupying the post for which I think he is most
suited; that I therefore did not wish him to be President. I am putting in my
official reports that Adlai Stevenson is the most popular American abroad,
taking the world as a whole and taking it as it is. It has nothing to do with
Therefore I have methods of integrative-concentration and these keep me from
being concerned as to what is going on in our Southern States or Europe or in
parts of the world with which I am not concerned. My own studies in soil
science caused me to predict a depression in Russia. I lost all the arguments.
I have had nothing but snubs but there is not the harvest this year either and
I predicted the same for China. India has gone ahead despite all and India is
one nation which is adept in integration.
I wanted to be a research scientist at one time but the doors were closed. I
had to earn my living. It means that today I do not preach, but I try to help
and this has made me very popular here in several directions. Nor have I failed
in anything. But the bigger tasks of my life must be taken over by a foundation
or organization. And if someone backed me in anything, naturally I would
concentrate in that field.
My poetry, again, is a sideline. Many of our leaders of today do creative
work in some art. I don’t want to say more. You have known me long enough to
know that I had to eat bitter herbs for years. This is no more and may never be
again. But there are other facts and factors at work. These would require
acceptance of certain principles, which are not commonly examined in the West
but often are a priori principles in the Orient. I do not wish to discuss them
here and discussion would prove nothing. When I am pushed, I point out that I
have not aged much during the years and there is a very clear “reason” for
that and that “reason” is accepted East of Suez and pooh-poohed West,
excepting in Islamic lands.
The fact is that I am getting in where others have not gone; I have even
succeed in certain directions. On the whole I have no bad news at all. On the
whole I have a lot of good news. I am now getting three sets of slides ready.
One set is for Pakistan and will be devoted to Islamic Art; one for the
Hollywood Artists and covers also Modern Cairo; one for Harry Nelson on the
flowers and horticulture of the region. This will enable me to give some
lectures when I return. By agreement I am not sending more slides because I am
told they can be duplicated at less expense in the U.S.
This coming week I may go on a field trip with Americans and also see
Alexandria. I am trying to wind up things and prepare for a return later. One
can live here on a high level at little expense. But the main thing is how one
is received. And this I cannot well communicate. If the people in California
become objective, well and good. But I can name a whole bunch of persons who
have deliberately stood in my way and, of course, in the ways of others too,
who are popular “authorities” on things of Asia where they could not pass
I close with the case of Judith Tyberg. She was an American, one of the four
highest rating in the whole country on Asian subjects. She was sent to India
and received a degree over there, too. She returned to California and has been
near starvation. For the devil knows what reason, our universities honor
degrees in Oriental subjects from European universities. These degrees have no
standing in Asia, “only in America.” Judith is the worst victim of the
situation I have been deploring and if I name the persons responsible it would
not be a pleasant list, besides which few were born in America and even of
those who were, few were California educated. I hope I know what I am fighting
for. I also received a letter of one of the many victims of this situation, in
the same mail. I am fighting for principle before the State Department and
thank God, now I am listened to. My stuff may be rejected, I cannot force it,
but the reports are received and that is all have ever asked for.
Sorry this is “heavy” and does not reflect the events of the moment. I
think I have given you my next addresses and looking forward to a journey down
the Red Sea next month.
February 2, 1961
My dear Willie:
I am enclosing copy of my diary entry for today, sent to Rudolph. Things are
happening so fast that I can hardly make and then type my notes. I have
restricted the reports here having to make an entirely different kind on my
visit to the new rural sections, this being largely technical.
As you will see in the diary, I have been both impelled and compelled to
accept all kinds of invitation to all kinds of places. Whatever one’s
intentions may have been, one has to play the game of hospitality. One would
offend one’s hosts if he dared to say he was not interested, but I have been
interested in all kinds of subjects. Thus tomorrow I go to the Mosque in the
morning, to a football game in the afternoon and presumably climb the big
pyramid at night. It has nothing to do with my principal interests. It is part
of the social exchange, especially as it will be Friday, the legal sabbath
here. I never plan for Fridays; I accept the invitations.
I have received another favorable letter from the American Friends of the
Middle East. I am about to send them detailed reports of the most serious kind.
It is always possible that I may be inducted into such an organization, which I
shall neither seek nor shun. I do not want and I do not need at the moment any
full time job.
There is no question in my mind but that are failures to communicate. An
example of the balks I have in life can be given: Don Hayakawa and X. are the
leaders in the Semantic Movement. They have absolutely refused to accept any
contribution or report from me on any subject though I studied with Cassius
Keyser, the teacher and closest friend of Alfred Korzybski. My own closest
friend in life is, along with the Reinholds of Hollywood, Vocha Fiske who was
Korzybski’s secretary and she is also very close to the Reinholds—there is
a group into which I was introduced by my late partner, Luther Whitman and our
Scientists, interested in semantics, had me speak for them and to them and
Hayakawa and X. never forgave me. Of late, working with the real scientists I
have found they have spurned semantics which is a pity but the semanticists
have spurned me, who am always accepted by scientists! However, noting the vast
hiatus between the literary and scientific traditions, I have proposed to
introduce the teachings of Professor Oliver Reiser of Pittsburgh into the
Orient. Reiser was XÔs teacher and he has approved me on every point where X.
and Hayakawa have disdained. Now all the cards are in my hands, and this
illustrates the stupidity of egocentrism which always spoils everything. When I
return home the official semanticists will have to receive (not accept,
receive) my reports. The federal government is most interested in these
organizations which appeal for public support, get income tax exemptions on
both ends—and then close their doors. This has resulted in a string of
There are only three organizations functioning on a large scale here:
American Friends of the Middle East, CARE and YMCA. The State Dept. in
Washington gave me a long list of groups supposed to be functioning, which get
public funds and income-tax exemptions and the Embassy staff never heard of any
of them in operation here! This is something I may take up when I return, and
something which appears in my long reports—of course, detrimental to
I have now reached a very determined state that I shall no longer be
rejected a priori. Rejected yes; everybody has that right, but not a priori.
The clairvoyant, Fuad Leithi, mentioned in the diary note, told me to stand
firm on my ground and never give in because in principle I am basically right,
always. I have the approval here—I am demanding nobody accept anything from
me finally, but this ego-rejection which has been given to so many Americans is
the reason why were caught short in Laos and elsewhere—we don’t listen to
warners and advisers. The only one who do are the very people in the Foreign
Service who are open-eared, open-minded but not permitted to do certain
I am pleased to say that new administration is changing this rapidly. There
are more than suggestion boxes to the sub-employees abroad, something which
never existed before. They are encouraged to report and think and consider. If
so, we shall have a new and effective foreign policy. As I have been
saying—politically and economically we are wonderful; psychologically and
morally terrible. No one has been able to dispute me on these points, so far.
Few even argue against it.
I cannot repeat that point too often. Our little people abroad, the
subalterns in the foreign service, do meet the citizens abroad, and thus form
chains of communication. But whatever they gain has been personal. Both at
their desks and socially they meet foreigners. I sometimes think the smallest
person in the foreign service may be meeting more strangers than some of the
most important writers, but they are kept as soldiers, not as intelligence
officials. Who then, are the intelligence officials?
The instructors of the American University here are not on good terms with
the foreign service people. I am compelled to take sides because those
instructors have also closed their doors on me. Why? Some of their text-books
are terrible, but you can’t do anything. The American University at Beirut
started out as a missionary training school; now it concentrates on
communication and goodwill and is almost irreligious. The one here evidently
still has the “missionary” zeal. But I say and will continue to say—the
way to communicate is to communicate.
Last night another pleasant incident occurred. After writing page one I went
to the Semiramis Hotel and was not there long when Mr. Demirjian walked in with
the family. He is the man who is getting the slides for me; he was not in his
studio when I had called, and there I go for diversion and meet him. If there
is a God and there are signs, this is the way I live and still I have no
formula; things, the right things, just happen.
Willie, I have grown up and people here see that I have grown up and it is
no question of liking it or not, I am going to live henceforth either where I
am considered as an adult, or doing what my heart longs to do.
March 27, 1961
My dear Willie:
This is the last of my “preliminary” letters. At the moment it looks as
if I were “in.” My welcome to this country has been most cordial and
opportunities are all over the place. I am enclosing copy of letter to Lewis
McRitchie. I am sorry Rudolph closed his doors, to me as a speaker, so I stuck
around as a pupil. I found many things presented there which were
objectionable, and more that were misleading rather than untrue.
My whole experience in life has been that in Asiatics glamour was more
important than knowledge and our country is paying dearly for it. In the
scientific field one has to be so impersonal and exact. In the artistic field
the creations of the artist are valued and not only his opinions. But in the
“metaphysical,” field, wow!
I have gotten around one of the men who stood as a stumbling block to me by
promoting his own professor’s works and all the doors are opened to me. I got
around my worst enemy, a woman, by having to associate with her own husband’s
closest friends. The Prof. Barker referred to above has run into exactly the
same obstacles, men such as the Near East Dept. at the University of
California, Rom Landau and Alan Watts, none of whom is recognized in Asia but
of whom we are strangely “proud” in California, until, of course, they are
found out. No wonder California has much a bad name elsewhere. Any phony can
come to American from the Orient and be acclaimed. He will be forgotten the
next day, of course, when some other phony takes his place;
I have been asked why I spread myself. It is almost as if accidental. You
know very well I was blocked in almost every line of endeavor with inhibitions
all over the place. As soon as I concentrated on a particular field, it seems
that all the old doors have opened. I did not forget my knowledge because
personalities blocked me; I merely had no chance to express it, or rather,
share what I believe to be actual knowledge. That is going on at a great pace
When I complete this letter I shall go to the local college where I may be
speaking shortly but I feel pretty sure that when I visit Rawalpindi next the
doors will be really open. I have just the things here that are wanted here and
I am not only willing to share but I have enough contacts all over the world
now to carry on to higher stages.
I have even been asked to open folk-dance classes. It is about time we send
a few folk-dance teachers around and a few less Satchmo Armstrongs who go out
at public expense to entertain American colonies abroad and Europeans and
Christian converts and never meet the masses. If any country ever tries to meet
the masses that country will become a great power. Everybody likes to dance,
but at their own level, etc.
P.S. This is a very beautiful country very much like California. The trees
and flowers are very similar. I have called on Begum Salim Khan whose late
husband was once Consul- General in S.F. She has a real California garden in
The fruit blossoms are all out in color. You can see the western Himalayas
from here, covered with snow. There are many schools here of all sorts and
appropriate play fields. Indeed, education is the main industry here. The army
training center is here.
I believe there will much mineral wealth uncovered in the near future. This
is, in a sense, a sort of cross between the Coast and Sierra Mountain
districts. The deodars replace the redwoods. The weather at this moment is
delightful. And so the people to me.
April 4, 1961
My dear Willie :
I very much appreciate your letter of March 28. I greatly sympathize with
your points of view and experience. I think logically and psychologically you
have reached a state of wholeness. My delving into adventure and the constant
change of address, previously by compulsion, now more or less by choice, pushes
me away from persons.
If I wished to clothe myself in self-pity it would be that in most aspects
of personal love I have failed. I have not had loving parents, my romances all
landed on rocks, I fathered and uncled and big-brothered so many; death took
away the closest and in the other cases invariably a parent showed up at some
crisis and took them away. In some instances I did things that were
“wrong.” On the other hand at an early age it was pointed out that my
career might be one of a big-brother to humanity. That sounds all very well,
romantic, ideal and nonhuman. Yet at this writing I am like Emerson’s
inventor of the mouse-trap and the world is beating a path to my door and I do
get called on all the time.
In addition to my other misfortunes I had two groups of enemies which groups
incidentally were poles apart and hated each other. The one group consisted of
those who, roughly speaking, held the same views but were motivated by personal
jealousies; when I was a key-figure the animosity was toward me; when I was
not, they lost out in internecine struggles. At least one tried to destroy
me—my reputation, my job was lost, I got kicked out of my home and some
rather successful whispering campaigns were launched in San Francisco. That was
the only time in my whole life my mother defended me. She did not want anybody
poaching on her private preserve.
A wisdom compelled me to become friendly with the friends of this vixen’s
husband. Today my greatest champion is the closest friend of her husband and I
met him in Cairo, to his amazement, just after I had accomplished my greatest
mission. And today her husband’s associates are my best allies both in San
Francisco and elsewhere including Pakistan. I have just received a note from
Lahore asking for a conference at an early date.
I have come back from Mansehra where I was the guest of the Pooh-Bah of the
place, the wealthiest and most successful man in the region. Incidentally, he
is a close coworker of Lady
Ravensdale one of the four women, members of the House of Lords in her own
right. Judge Rabbani has come to my assistance in many things—too long to
detail. But he put the coup de grace on the others in this first camp. They are
all spurlos versankt.
The other group consists of the Zionist and European professors of Oriental
“Philosophy” which has no connection with the real Oriental philosophy. In
Cairo I found that the whole kit and caboodle, as we say, are in the bad graces
of the State Department and Intelligence. I have just written a very long
report to the Embassy at Karachi with a carbon to the Consulate at Lahore. But
I am telling you this for another reason.
Professor Barker is a Berkeley graduate. He was lauded as a pupil. As soon
as he graduated, the whole gang of Europeans and Zionists united against him;
he could not get a job in California, he got kicked off the air, etc. He had
the same experiences I did with the same people and has the same friends. He
says, “Thank God for the Fulbright scholarships, they are open only to
Americans.” He not only has a good job here but is a sort of hero; his name
is in the papers constantly and he is doing more to promote Pakistani-American
friendship than anybody I know.
Professor Connaught is here. He and his wife are both San Franciscans,
graduates of Stanford. While he did not have to go through the dramas of Barker
and myself, he saw through the same old gang and his wife too. And they also
rave about the Fulbright scholarships, open only to Americans.
You can see how stimulated I must be today, psychologically and otherwise,
seeing duplications of myself, so to speak, and in this area.
The big joke about our foreign aid is that we come along with the good heart
of a child, not an adult, and push some kinds of aid [on]to people without
asking them what they want. I said before that the big problem of this country
was the Fly, but we would not do anything unless the Russians invented a
fly-spray. So far as I know they have not, but they are in this country as
geologists and prospectors. Ergo, we are getting rid of the Fly now.
So, the people are looking to me for the kind of foreign aid they want,
which is often quite different from what appears in the papers.
The next great series of psychological impetuses come from President
Kennedy. I have been yelling that our “authorities” on Asia have been
European professors and American newspaper men and under no circumstances may
they be American professors and European newspaper men. Now we have two of our
top professors admired in Asian-Asia, as Ambassadors to India and Japan. As I
have often remarked: “Who does this Jack Kennedy think he is, trying to win
the cold war?” Then, the foreign service is under instructions to listen to
reports from Americans, not only equal to those from non-Americans but over
them. This was not true before—it was not true under Roosevelt, it was not
true under Truman, it was even worse under Dulles. The Laos imbroglio is almost
entirely due to the point blank refusal to listen to American reports and
At least I have a partial warning here, that the Afghans have been prodding
the Pakistanis. We have all kinds of treaties and they are almost sickening.
After each treaty an invasion and a lot of noise and we lose another country.
If we put our foot down instead of our tongues we would win world leadership.
Now Pakistan is supposed to be an ally but we shut our eyes to this danger.
Then there is Kashmir. I have no answer, but here is Nehru demanding
plebiscites in Congo where the people have almost agreed on what they want and
being adamant against one in Kashmir. I am saying today, if people have no
intelligence they must have plebiscites; and if they have intelligence
dictators are in order. This to me is utter madness.
I am not trying to reach Mr. Stevenson although I had some material which
may have gone to him from Egypt. I send to my contacts here in the foreign
service and let them handle it. I am glad you see the wisdom of having him
before the U.N. He is the most popular American abroad, being what I call a
“cosmic” man. Such never fit in entirely with their own people and, in a
sense both, they belong to the “world” and the “world” belongs to
It is also gorgeous here, with renewed spring. This country is a sort of
cross between the northern Coast Ranges and San Bernardino Mountains. To the
north it gets more Colorado-like with the Himalayas in the back ground, as they
stretch toward the Indus, across which are the Hindu Kush. During the year I
may venture into much “unknown” territory. The flowers are in bloom,
exactly the same as in your own yard and the parks look like Golden Gate. The
chief difference is the Chenar, the Oriental Plane, which is without doubt one
of the most beautiful of all trees. It functions like a Maple with its colored
palmate leaves. The fruit trees are all in blossom.
I read poetry at a gathering and this added to my popularity. Then I wrote
some verses in protest, in part against my own long epics and more against the
pessimistic trends in our literature—though I must prefer them to the
earliest Gene Stratton Porter and the saccharine crowd.
The Sun Also Shines
A single happy family amid fifty blighted homes
And all the novels about the latter.
A single hundred happy families and a single blighted home,
And the only novel about the latter—
The sun also shines.
The common Violet hides in the woods but telegraphs its fragrance;
The African Violet has no odor but is constantly in blossom—
My Beloved is a Violet constantly in bloom, forever fragrant.
I have quite a few in this vein.
Now I came here to see old friends, etc. but what has happened? I found
living here Begun Selim Khan, widow of the first Consul-General from Pakistan
to San Francisco. And I have been approached constantly by relatives of Abdul
Sattar, one of my closest friends who has long been Consul-General in San
Francisco. He has a three months’ leave and is coming here before accepting a
higher post. I may be seeing him before the week is out.
Next, my close friend, Ansar Nasri, has been director of Radio Pakistan at
Rawalpindi, the temporary capital. We both want to see each other, but this
week my friend Rabbani Khan is taking me there to a conference.
My greeting at Lahore was delightfully dramatic. Some of the events were
fiction-like. I met Mrs. Ahmed, born a Jewess, turned Christian, now a Muslim,
and champion of modern art forms. I am sending her material to Bill Gaskin. And
I have the slides from the UAR which I shall show in Lahore after the 15th.
Next, I am preparing a series of lectures on the relation[ship] of Oriental
philosophy and contemporary science. I was not permitted to say a word at any
college in California but Harvard opened its doors wide—and I think, before
long, other places will. Anyhow, I am scheduled to speak at the college in this
town. After that comes my main and agricultural mission, but I am holding that
off until I see the bigwigs.
Another storybook like this is this: I always felt I was a stranger in my
own country. I never felt particularly comfortable anywhere until I reached
Japan. But when I came to the Punjab I found that I was at “home” morally
and psychologically. I have been told that the attractions to and from the
Pathans is or will be greater, My friend Rabbani insists that the Pathans are
the Lost Tribes of Israel and has his own family tree in support. In any event
on the “SS Cilicia” the Pathans and I had a strong mutual attraction, out
of nowhere, and this is even more true here where I have so many invitations I
don’t know how I am going to handle them.
Islamic hospitality is very warm but not logical. A guest is an angel. But
they can overdo. At the moment it has the bright side that, after being
“taken” in Lahore by finding that the hotels had raised their prices far
above what appears in the tourist guides, now I am getting invitations all
over, pointing in the opposite direction.
Willie, have you read many adventure books? It seems in most of them
whenever an American or Briton showed up the people came around for medicines
and first aid. Well, they don’t come around to me for medicine and first aid,
but they come around for all kinds of things. This has made letter writing
discontinuous. There are often interruptions.
The wisecracking about Americans insisting not only on foreign aid but
offering a certain type of aid when the people want something else has a
serious side. I am getting to know what they want—it may not always be the
wisest thing, but that is what they want. High on the list is understanding. We
do not have understanding. For the first time in our history we have a few
Americans studying about this part of the world. They are few in number and low
in prestige. Like the Californians here they have had to face the animosity of
our “authorities”—Zionists and Europeans who say all kinds of things
about this part of the world which are not so and do not say what is so; I
could not get a single professor in California to accept a paper on the Mogul
Emperors who were the greatest rulers of this region and who gave us all the
classical architecture which brings the tourists. The Mogul Emperors built the
buildings, the Indian and Pakistani governments advertise them, but you can’t
get a word in in the colleges. Add to that Professor Chaudhuri whom Rudolph
admires or admired, all by lying, and you can see where we stand—there is, to
pun it, standing but not understanding.
I am determined to fight. You know I have enemies, but I have friends and
they are much greater:
Mrs. Grady. The Russell Smiths of Ross. The World Conference of Faiths,
headed by Lady Ravensdale, member of the House of Lords; and Dr. Radhakrishnan
who is slated to be President of India and who is a very good friend of mine.
All the top Buddhists in Japan and Malaya. The American Friends of the Middle
Perhaps the World Affairs Council of San Francisco, which unofficially has
denounced the “authorities” and whose lecturers are now leaders in a camp
to which I belong—Americans who know something about the Orient. This extends
down to the City Hall and Chamber of Commerce.
These Europeans did pioneer work in interesting us in Asia; that is
something. But they do harm in trying to limit and control the sources of
information. I know too much of the background of Pearl Harbor, Vietnam and
Laos. My name is on the heroes’ book in Fort Mason, half secret, but
Intelligence has always watched me. They saved my life on at least one
occasion, maybe more. I am working for principle and can afford to stick out my
neck. I have studied at least forty years about this part of the world. I am
accepted here and more and more openly. If I fail it is my failure; if I
succeed it may be my country’s success. I laid the cards down on the table
with my personal attorney, making exaggerated statements to which he would be a
witness. He is now strong for me, he can confirm all I have been doing, am
doing. I had to spread to study whole cultures, and this is easy when one has
the integral discipline. I began getting that in 1915 at the University of
California and can hold my own in it.
These things are being discovered here. There is my Emerson-mousetrap
parade. I cannot help it. “When the gods arrive, the half-gods go.”
Finally, I may be working closer with your church than you may suppose. I
have the goodwill of Bishop Pike, but am not overplaying it. I had the strong
cooperation of the World Church Peace Union for years. I may have it now,
though there is another generation in charge. My mistakes, at least, are from
overdoing, as you recognize, not in under functioning. I am praying God for
success in a wide field; it is too late in life to turn back.
April 6, 1961
I have written a rather long letter to Rudolph. I feel that his intentions
are the greatest in the world. Despite the rejection of all my suggestions in
various campaign collecting movements—which seem to bog down, though whether
there is a connection or not I do not know, if he cannot have an East-West
gallery in San Francisco, I am behind such a movement in Hollywood. There, the
whole artistic movement is in the hands of Americans. They may fall short, but
they are not misled.
There are several movements on now for the exchange of real cultures between
the U.S. and Asia. The attacks on our USIA libraries ought to wake us up. I
have had so many conferences with representatives of India, and some of them
right in Rudolph’s studios, when they expressed disgust with the way he was
being misled by Chaudhuri and Spiegelberg.
I am one of the persons responsible for bringing Haridas and Rudy together.
I was all for it. But when it came to selecting Haridas as a speaker on Indian
Art, I was stunned. I could not say anything because it would have been
concluded that I wished to lecture on Indian Art. Well, the Indians think I am
much more equipped to speak on this than either of these two worthies.
Besides that, I am not concerned with the value of the religion or
philosophy in the art. Indian art, as a whole, is not great. The best examples
are either Islamic or Buddhist. The Indians seem to have defective eyes. They
can hardly distinguish 4 colors, where we distinguish 7 and the Japanese 24!
Neither do they have the keenness of design of the Italians nor the perspective
of the French. It does no good to present anything in glamour.
Nor have these gentlemen any idea of the geometries of space as reflected in
the art- forms. I do not wish to go into this further. But I know that many
Americans were repelled and are repelled by the over-emphasis of the
“spiritual” in Indian art.
The Aurobindo Movement to which Chaudhuri is passionately attached and to
which Spiegelberg is attached on every other Friday in the 5 months of odd
years—and always when he can speak and never when he has to listen—is a
front for communism and obscurantism. I had to tell the whole story to some
friends of Rudolph and am not here. Actually, Dr. Chaudhuri is not admired by
the Aurobindo people and that is to his credit. They use him and the communists
use them. He admits privately that he knows little of Asian art; he is a
philosopher, not an artist. Lewis McRitchie knows 50 times as much as these two
I am on the edge of the Gandhara country. I have new experiences and
contacts every day. But at the moment I am compelled to send things to
Hollywood for my friends are now the leaders in the artistic world there. Of
course I shall come to San Francisco with these things against my wishes, for
it will be the American Friends of the Middle East who will welcome me and I
shall be speaking under their auspices and this will prevent me from helping
Rudolph, unless he realizes that Americans can know as much of Asia as do
Russians, Germans and British.
July 8, 1961
My dear Willie:
I suppose anything I write today will be news. Actually I have gone through
a series of most pleasant surprises. My difficulty at the time, and it is a
difficulty, is too much society and meals at wrong hours under warm weather.
And if the world is not beating a pathway to my door—which it is—this is
partly because there are three men just across the road in whose company I
This is a time now of harvesting seeds from earlier in life. The harvests
are all ripening and many projects and ideas which I had assumed at some early
period and dropped and come up and presented me with gifts or blessings. The
present parade started with I met Agha Faqir Shah who is one of the leading
engineers on an Indus
Dam project. Our meeting was interrupted by a man who claimed he is in
charge of Agricultural Research in the new province and he pooh-poohed
everything I am doing. “Why, the greatest experts in the world have visited
my district and they can do nothing.” The more I went over his opposition to
me the more I concluded that it was he and not the visiting experts who were to
blame. He is simply incapable of accepting advice or trying something new.
I had to visit Dr. Abdul Hamid, the Forest Botanist and U.C. graduate and
have given him:
a. List of trees and shrubs for dry districts
b. The Garst plan.
While we are talking about foreign aid and all that and while there is a
rolling of drums—plus the to-do about the camel which was invited to New
York—this person is delivering.
I came to bring Dr. Hamid the technical solution of the problems of the N.W.
District—dealing with rainfall, sunlight, etc. and it was my great fortune to
meet with him one Dr. Ghani who is the top research scientist of the whole
frontier and superior to the man who has been mocking me. He not only accepted
my reports but gave to me grave technical problems which I am bringing back
with me. He also gave me a lot of valuable information which I have sent to
Ohio State and to Harry Nelson at City College. Incidentally I received a most
important invitation to Peshawar, and I have received a whole lot since
Then one Abdur Rahman, manager of the Government Transport Service decided
to take me over. I have been with him to the Himalayas, 60 miles north and
again to Nathiagalli and Murree, high in the mountains to the East which are
the big, summer resorts. I met an old friend from San Francisco there and also
called on the American Embassy and Indian High Commissioner.
It seems that I have now a most important and quite independent invitation
to India. My apparently private warfare to remove European professors of
Oriental Philosophy and make way for Asians is, of course, appreciated by
Asians. Satya Agrawal, who was for awhile on the staff at U.C., and Surindar
Suri who was also there and at Chicago U. are leaders in rounding up a lot of
people way ahead of time. And when I went to the Indian High Commissioner I was
given such a warm welcome. What all Asians want and we don’t seem to realize
it, is a warm sympathy toward their cultures and traditions. The chief expert
on Pakistan in the U.S. is a Canadian, loathed in this country and not admired
anywhere else. But this is both typical and unfortunate.
The most important man in my life at the moment is Prof. Durani. He comes
from an important family, was born in Madras and after being an engineer,
became head of the Physics Department at the Peshawar University. While our
Europeans at Berkeley, Stanford, Pacific and UCLA are going around saying there
are no important Sufis today, this man is both a top scientist and a Sufi
Murshid or teacher. He is also a Pathan. I am constantly in his company.
We have discussed subjects more or less connected with my projects,
“Oriental Philosophy and Modern Science.” Prof. Durani was 30 years at
Aligarh University which is my presumptive goal in India and has promised me no
end of introductions. My talks with him not only include-those about the Orient
but such things as problems in color, space travel, modern systems of logic,
Indian psychology, etc.—all of which I had thrown in my face in the S.F. Bay
All over the Orient they are aware that we have selected Europeans and a few
self-elected Americans to teach what is known as Asian philosophies and these
are explained in manners no Asian would respect. (I keep on harping on having
an ex- Christian Briton as our “authority” on the culture of the Far East,
etc.) They say it is exceedingly unfair to demand a Ph.D. to teach Indian or
Islamic philosophy and not to teach German or Greek philosophy. Ph.D. degrees
are not easily earned here but many know the philosophies of Asia. They are
ineligible in the U.S.; they are not ineligible in Russia.
I told the American Charges d’Affaires in Murree that until we got rid of
these Orientalist professors from Leyden, Heidelberg and Montreal, we would
never have suitable cultural exchange. I am somewhat firmer now. The U.S. is
not popular here and all our soothing-syrup verbosity only makes it worse. We
need people to sit down and chat with each other without a lot of self-imposed
experts to “interpret” everything for everybody else.
The visit of Ayub may (or may not) awaken us to some realities.
One of the worst situations at the present time is our attitude toward
religion. In the U.S. if you want to help foreign lands you are asked to give
through your churches. But when authorities go to these same foreign lands they
will have nothing to do with churches and all suggestions stemming from foreign
missions have been rejected, a priori, on this ground. The attitude is that if
“we” listen to foreign missionaries here we “offend” the natives, but
in collecting moneys, charitable goods, etc. we insist on using these same
sources. So the missionaries here are in arms against the Peace Corps and so
far as Americans here are concerted the missionaries are right, the politicians
(who never mingle with the people) are wrong.
Durani gave me his views on these subjects. He seems to know “everybody”
in both India and Pakistan and is an excellent master of the English language,
well- versed in all the lore of the whole Orient and modern sciences as well.
Yet he is also regarded as the most authoritative source of religious
Through each and all of the above I am meeting others and am furiously busy
until I get tired. I have now written many letters to the S.F. Bay region but
my appetite for knowledge is so great today I would prefer studying to
lecturing. I make one exception—I am not going to be rejected a priori any
longer, by anybody. As I told the Charges d’Affaires I was totally satisfied
that he took my reports. I did not care if I were recognized as a living
Before the end of the month I hope to make my first visit to Peshawar. I am
waiting for some money from the States. Actually the cost of living is low for
me, I am trying all kinds of hotels, hostels and what not and all kinds of
tourism. My invitations to the Pathans now are very many. And there is also the
temptation to return here if life does not go on pleasantly. It is only that I
feel I shall be heard and given some recognition.
The thing is more complex because another professor of importance has
answered me, Prof. Samuel Miller of Harvard. He put a problem up in “Time,”
I answered and he accepted my answer. This makes me feel warmer and warmer
toward that institution. Only Tillich did not answer me and I think he is a
most mixed-up man, perhaps a humbug. But this pressures me to go East again.
On the other hand I am sending more letters to San Francisco and have
written to Sam Yorty, new Mayor of L.A. and once a pal. So we shall see.
Next morning. It is raining furiously. I had to make a break-off and things
happened. First a college professor and student came to consult me on two quite
different subjects—I met them in the evening, too, and they are presumably
calling this morning. Then I had to go out—first, all the small children came
after me. Then I met my friend the Khalandar, long and complex. Then I passed
the Jesuit school and the boys called me in—story telling. Then older men
called me at the cafe—the Protestant missionary, the economist, and others,
and it was almost two hours before I could eat—fortunately not hungry.
My position here has been enormously enhanced by Lyndon Johnson’s visit.
Lack of cooperation, even courtesy from the Embassy has made me immensely
popular. On the American side it is the same—they were either rebuffed by
Johnson and Shriver or treated nonchalantly. Despite all our goody-goody
speeches from the top, I have received a single acknowledgment—that from
Chester Boyles’ office; whom do we think we are fooling? We lost Laos because
we would not listen to Americans there, the same with Vietnam and so far as the
public and press here is concerned, we are losing here at a very rapid rate.
The thing that stands in the way of further retraction is the fact—and we
ignore this totally and absolutely—is that President Ayub and most of his
entourage are mystics and therefore committed against any communist
infiltration. They are anti-communists on an entirely different basis. It is
UAR all over. We don’t want friends, we want followers and all we have to do
is to change a slight attitude.
There are now undercurrents of my receiving some financial support but I
cannot take this if it be a sell-out. If we are ignorant of Pakistan, they are
equally ignorant about us. It takes a long time to convince a person that the
UN assembly is not composed of the same persons who go to American ball-games
and cinemas. And for my part it is not worth it because while I have won
practically every argument there is not the slightest appreciation of this from
official circles, or the press.
The college boys who come here are also friends of Felix Knauth who will be
back soon. He has already sent one blast to the Chronicle. We all think our
position hopeless but I feel that the American Friends of the Middle East, the
World Affairs Council and Asia Foundation will have different attitudes. The
latter are trying to do something—bring Americans here and Pakistanis here
together to discuss and discuss carefully.
The economist who asked me to tea got up and walked away when I told him
that we Americans have solved the saline infiltration problem. I saw it at
Abis, UAR and recently sent a clipping to the University of California Alumni
Association, about it for it is under the direction of Paul Keim, ‘23. What
he did and did well is not being repeated. And, of course, they know nothing
here about Riverside or Salton Sea. Or again, I was the first man to bring in
salt-tolerant crops and while high-level meetings and conferences are being
held I am being entrusted more and more with actual problems. I have written to
the South Asian Studies, U.C. and last week to Minnesota.
I have been much touched too, by the blasts of explorers against Lowell
Thomas. I know his report on Tibet was just about the best thing to enable the
Chinese to come in; he gave us rosy pictures of what never was. I have found he
has done the same thing here and everything he said was totally unreliable. We
say hat good is one man against a multitude; but it is equally true, what good
is a multitude against one man, if that man is an “entrenched expert.”
I am only hoping I can run into Mrs. Lucretia Grady. I have been acting as
if she were instructing me and so far as she is concerned I have not a negative
report. All we need is communication of facts; but the world deals in
implications and no wonder we do not meet beyond national boundaries. Anyhow I
seem quite vigorous and look fairly young and maybe this is blowing off steam.
But I feel that something will come from all these escapades and what not.
August 8, 1961
My dear Willie:
I found an envelope addressed to you—I misplaced it and made out another
one some time ago, and to “save face” I am writing. From now on until well
in October I except to be constantly on the move and in manners so totally
different from those laid down by custom- protocol or general usage that only
fame or folly can meet me in the end.
We have a team of botanists working in N.W. Pakistan. They go out and
examine plants and classify them and collect specimens. They do not sit in the
London library and pick out all the books on the subject and draw their own
deductions. They work directly with the plants and in place. This is science;
it is “the” scientific method. But I am afraid the last words are used or
misused by a lot of people to hide their own frivolities and
We have only one American making the same kind of research with human
beings. He fulfills all the recipes of “The Ugly American” and then some,
but he is impossible. You see he is a Protestant Missionary and when a
protestant missionary makes a report that is a sign that he wants notoriety or
publicity for his hospital or something. Well, thank God that the day of
Dullespionage or “dull- spinach” is coming to a close. We had to have Laos
and Cuba—and maybe Zanzibar and Singapore. Indeed, if it were not for the
mistakes of the Russians we should be worse off. But they are sending Muslims
in and we are sending “bright boys” in and we shall see where the peasants
turn! It is coming; you sense it in the newspapers and if Ayub is every
overthrown, bye-bye blackbird.
I am gradually getting serious letters from Washington. Since Jack Shelley
sent my reports to Mrs. Grady I have been getting good letters from the State
Department, from senator Engle and at long last a serious letter from our
Embassy. Any government that was so stupid—and it was nothing but the worst
kind of stupidity—to throw out the careful survey of the American
Broadcasting Co. made in Asia some years back has got to pay the price. And if
an ABC survey is pigeonholed because it was against protocol or Dullespionage,
what can a citizen do? Just wait until the whole country is “shocked” by
some affair abroad and I can assure you more shocks are coming although Senator
Fulbright has his finger on the weak spots.
As I did not learn about Pakistan from reading encyclopedias written in
European museums but had my own way, this has made me very, very popular in
some parts. I am slightly unwell due to a case of diarrhea now in hand. As soon
as I get better I shall be the guest of Maliks in the country to the West. They
want to see me just as the big people in Lahore and Rawalpindi did and those in
Peshawar and vicinity are impatiently waiting. Socially I have been a success
and I believe scientifically and spiritually also. I can tell by changes in
trends in all mail received. I stood nearly alone for years but my namesake
Morse did also and in the end he won out on all points and I feel trends the
I do not think I am going to have so much trouble when I get back even if I
have to expose certain people in public. The return of Paul Keim to the campus
at Berkeley may help me no end. We had serious technical discussions on
subjects from which I was a priori rejected so many times—not allowed to
present my case—and I don’t think we ever had a difference. My own theory
is that when the integral approach is made not only will some solution be found
but there will be a considerable account of agreement between those thinking on
I expect to bring some Sufis to S.F. and they will not resemble what you
read about in books or listen to in lectures whether these lectures are by
Spiegelberg, Chaudhuri, Landau and the Near East “Profs” on the Berkeley
campus. These men are “authorities” all right but they are not authorities
in the same sense as the American botanists above mentioned can be or are
authorities. It is funny how well I get along with the scientific scientists
and how badly with the pseudo-philosophers who claim to be explaining
I am not in the least concerned with the Russian space flights. No one reads
the Inquisition’s side against Galileo. It was to the extent that man would
soon be so concerned with the conquest of the heavens that he would lose his
equilibrium about the earth and that both moral and economic values would soon
be swallowed in speculation. In UAR I had an excellent chance to measure the
scientific accomplishments of all nations. It was carefully and deliberately,
by checking all the books and patents in recent years in the various sciences.
This cool, careful, calculating method is not wanted. We confuse excitement
Russia is so far behind us in the biological sciences and indeed in most of
the chemical sciences that there is no comparison. They are behind us in
medicine and we are behind France. Newspapers and the “public” don’t want
truth, excitement is wanted. The Russians have some awful theories in the
botanical field and the Chinese even worse ones. The Chinese theory of planting
is based on economics and work-energy and not on the nature of the soil, the
weather or the rainfall. Well, I won’t argue. We do not have too many careful
thinkers and seldom among the press. It is worse here. So everybody will go
awry on this space thing and the nations may go bankrupt without even resorting
to war. Russian needs this psychologically because all signs are to depression
and retrogression and little else.
I have always been afraid of World war III not because of destruction but
because the editors and commentators would want to take over and direct it. I
have considerable faith in Maxwell Taylor. But it is time that the
“king”-can-do-no-wrong Dulles is removed. I have had my dealings with the
F.B.I. I know about communists in the U.S. “Fine, tell us about them.”
And the C.I.A. I know about communists in Phant-asia. How do you know they
were communists? Who are you? What were you doing there? How do we know you
aren’t one yourself and aren’t trying to mislead us? Where is your
corroborating evidence?” So we get our “shocks.” Maybe less now.
At last the USIA has awakened to the accomplishments of real American, real
experts who have been sent over here to do real things and are doing and are
succeeding. I may go to Colorado some time and the editors will have to listen
because the best Americans in Pakistan come from that State and they dare not
let their own celebrities down. From this is a horrible thing, that one cannot
send in factual reports and have them seriously received.
I just wrote Stewart Alsop a comment on his own article in Saturday Evening
Post on our mistakes in Cuba. They were quite simple—noblesse oblige, nothing
else. The brains—Fulbright, Rostow & Co. were overruled by the protocol
boys and that is it. But even Alsop can’t quite get down to facing this
I was at the cinema yesterday and saw a wonderful picture, Indian. The
costumes were all historically correct, despite the fact that many, many were
needed. Not only were their periods proper but their geography proper. They did
real research. They could put on a male fashion show, or a female fashion show
and not depart from history. The tailors followed the period costumers and not
in reverse. Hollywood can’t do that, and why not? I have just seen the
preview of an American film, presumably about Carthage and the costumes—mere
fancy out of nowhere. So I found the Indian picture thrilling from every
point—story, music, scenery, photography, acting, singing, dancing, stage
settings, music, everything. And above all, always artistically honest.
Just the same, when I return I shall probably want a TV. But what I want and
will get... I understand the Maliks may raise a fund for me to lecture in the
U.S. There are a lot of very favorable underground rumors and they may prove to
be more than rumors later. I have tried to be honest and considerate and at
least here the response is in kind.
Now I have satisfied the envelope, and all abroad for adventure.
November 2, 1961
My dear Willie:
Here I am in Lahore sans passport, sans money, sans mail, or as I put it: No
money and no mail with the commies on my trail.
And the passport is riding along.
And the last mass meeting to be held in my honor was sabotaged and how. So
thank God and praise Allah the consulate here, with which I have always been on
good terms, has awakened the Embassy, which has dealt with me terribly and also
dealt with quite a few other Americans likewise, has awakened. I can now say
that the Foreign Service is serving an American.
I met the Indian High commissioner in August and he said he would expedite
my visa. Bye, bye blackbird! I did not name Nehru as reference and I can’t
write to him because he is going to the U.S. But the Foreign Service can afford
to have me killed just because the Indians don’t return my passport, with or
without visa. This is my fourth run-in with reds and I don’t want to press my
luck. So I have gone so far this time to notify my attorney, make a slight
change in my will and given my books to my godson, Robert S[?]ice, in New York,
to use as he will. I was ready to send them to Prof. Burdick whom I despise but
this being totally ignored over and over again and seeing the retreats we are
making all over rather than occasionally trust a few American citizens: Robert
Clifton in one country after another in Southeast Asia; Nicole Smith in Tibet
and God knows who elsewhere. That is why I say, there is no god but protocallah
and protocalah is his prophet and the sooner we get out of Dullespionage, the
better if that is possible.
You don’t see the Russians building bomb shelters. This atomic stuff is
just a front while they infiltrate and mingle, infiltrate and mingle, which we
can’t do. I have met the Fulbright people, the OIC people and everybody and
there is not a stupid person among them. The stupidity is in the system or lack
of it and not in the persons involved. I won’t go into here the whole story
about the commie plans to upset the peace corps, but if I don’t get some
letters soon, I am shall have no compunction to go even to the John Birch
Society and Fulton Lewis Jr.
To make matters complicated, no letter has been received by the Embassy at
New Delhi in answer to all the warnings and news I have sent out. But Newsweek,
by mistake, sent a letter to Abbottabad, advising they were using my material.
That is my last news from anybody anywhere. Last night I received a wire from
the wife of my presumptive host in Delhi advising he has gone away due to his
fathers illness and I have begged that the Mrs. send my mail, if any, here. I
have not only asked the Embassy to trace but the Bank of American in New Delhi,
because I have no financial reports. I do have unlimited credit here but I do
not like to write out checks when I do not know my balance.
Fortunately, while we are ignoring the existence of Sufis, who are all
over the place, three very wealthy men have, independently, come to my rescue,
each of which has a plan for collaboration in the U.S. All my interviews,
without exception, have been successful. Though the Embassy ignored me, I have
just seen the wonderful accomplishments at the Lyallpur Experimental Station
and the O.I.C. agricultural representative here in Lahore was most cordial.
To make matters more beautiful, my host, Major Sadiq is up for nomination to
the new Agricultural Development Corporation and he has introduced me already
to the No.1 man. The No.2 man is coming to this house this afternoon to see
me—his request. So I am praying that the major be inducted into this work, he
has passed the examination but must get a release from his present job.
Everything has terminated so well here that I see myself returning from India
and Malaya via Karachi and New York, perhaps on an important mission.
I had the dramatic experience of finding my former spiritual teacher a
hopeless invalid, allowing himself to be used as a communist front, and I think
brainwashed by a pseudo-medical man. His group attacked me—two big social
gatherings; they attacked me more; a mass meeting; they attacked me more,
another social gathering and another mass meeting. They have been following me
and one Malik Abdul Hamid Khan, a very wealthy and influential Sufi and they
definitely sabotaged the mass meeting the other night where I was to be honored
through a ceremony. This ceremony was aborted. The materials therewith had gone
with a bribed absconder. The lights were turned out twice by a disciple of the
teacher. There were two fracases, etc., etc.
Now while I had been receiving full assistance from the Consulate here in
regard to my passport, they have become wide-awake on all fronts. They cannot
afford to have anything happen to me because the Indians are holding up my
Visa. Thank God I have many important persons on my side-–through we don’t
recognize their existence. I have, in addition to all the letters I have
written to the State Department, turned my guns on congressmen. I have the full
support of Kuchel, Shelley and Engle. That is fine. I keep on gunning for
William Winter but if ever I break into the press... I told him for years I was
the “expert” on Asia. Then John Terry died and I was shunted off for a
bunch of Europeans who are excellent orators, not one of whom has ever been
invited to speak before a university on this whole continent!
Well, I not only have, but repeats. There is no purdah for me here. I not
only have addressed more men than any other American who ever came this way,
but more women, too. I have also taken the offensive and shall stand no
nonsense. This time, “malgré moi,”—Edmond Dantes au Comte de Monte
Cristo. There is not going to be any sabotaging on me by anybody and I shall
not listen to contrary advice, because smoothness and softness never got me
anywhere, ever. Besides I have, I think, both truth and integrity.
Masses of people come to see me. I have an awful time avoiding functioning
as a saint ( and I am not fooling) and I am regarded as one of the world’s
experts on subjects I was not even permitted to register for courses on in
California, amen! True, Richard Park said it was useless. He ought to know. He
is in the top bracket with Senator Fulbright and the UN. If his name were
Markheim-Stenovich, instead of Park, he might have drawn an audience, and I
shall stick to this sarcasm; there is a cold-war going on. I believe the
American Friends of the Middle East, the World Affairs Council and the friends
of Park on the Berkeley campus will back me up.
All my plans on all subjects have been approved here without exception. I
may not be that good, but 100% approval is quite a thing after 90% rejection.
My attorney, John L. Rockwell, in San Rafael, is a living witness to claims and
statements and you have known me for a long time. But I not only have pent-up
energy, I may also have knowledge and wisdom. This wisdom includes a patent
fact—I look younger than when I left the U.S. despite a’this and
In my last days here I prepare to either return to Pakistan or to work out
well-financed schemes of collaboration in the U.S. But I am hoping the
government of Pakistan gets behind us, so I am not in a hurry to return until
this final decision is made.
Having no mail I know nothing of anything going on at home in every sense of
the term. It is only occasionally when I visit the USIA news room I can pick up
a paper, usually a New York one. Beyond this planning is impossible and I know
I am going to have a mail deluge when it comes,
My love to everybody,
December 30, 1961
My dear Willie:
I am enclosing copy of letter to the Rudolph Schaeffer school which gives
some news. Monday night I go to Karachi for a few days and in the meanwhile
will give this machine over to a repair shop. There was no mail today, thank
Last Friday I took Julie Medlock, ex-San Francisco and New York to an
American carol concert. We went to a Protestant American service on Sunday.
Much “warmer” than what I had in U.A.R. I do not know whether we shall
celebrate New Year’s Eve or not, and to some extent I do not care.
The stories behind my going to Karachi may be important and dramatic.
1. Ansar Nasri, Deputy Director Radio Pakistan, long ago accepted my epic
poem, “Saladin” and I wish to find out what has happened to it. I also have
an entirely new epic poem which is dedicated to his spiritual teacher and wish
to discuss this with him.
I also want to take up with him the matter of getting folk-music records
into the United States from this area.
2. My host, Major Sadiq, passed No.1 for the new Agricultural Development
Corporation. He passed in everything but “Islamics.” Then I heard that two
other men also passed, of a lower grade, but they also failed in
I have gone to the Consulate and 0.I.C. registering a preliminary complaint.
It is not so much that my host was rejected, but that this new Agricultural
Development Corporation is supposed to be coordinating the research in this
country. There are, for this purpose, three divisions in West Pakistan and one
or two in East Pakistan, where we have our university technicians at work.
It is entirely right to coordinate these efforts and American money is on
hand for this purpose. But at the moment we are headed for a repetition of what
happened in each country of Southeast Asia. Instead of our funds going into the
hands of teaching and research scientists, it will go into the hands of
“retired” military and other officials, our money. They will be directing
its use and selecting the personnel. In UAR at least, although the salaries
went to Egyptians, they were scientists, not generals, barristers or
Anyhow, Major Sadiq has appealed and if he wins his appeal that will make my
story softer. Everybody here wants America to arm against Afghanistan, we are
allies. When it comes to China: “Right is right and wrong is wrong.”
Nothing is said about our being allies there.
3. The most complicated situation about my Visa may be ironed out once and
for all. What extremes had to be used. I have learned a lot.
There are some other situations going on. We are losing a cultural battle to
the Russians, by default. People will snap at my biting against European
professors of Oriental philosophy. Well, we have sent pupils of these same
professors to international philosophical congresses and what the Russians did
to us! We are losing one by default in East Pakistan. I was urged to go, but
why should I spend money and incur the enmity of the Red nations without even a
smile from American institutions!
On Christmas night I was the guest of honor at a monster celebration and
another one is coming up. I am often a guest of honor. But I am honored more by
birds and beasts than human beings. Coming from S.F. I guess I have the right
to be a latter-day Saint Francis.
Everything else is fine.
P.S. Just took typewriter to Hospital and ran into glorious potential gifts
for Rudolph! Will not buy until after India trip.
July 15, 1961
Your most interesting letters have come quite regularly. The last Sea Mail
was dated May 12. It contained also a letter written to Florie. Before that was
an Air Mail date June 14th. That was most interesting as it told
more about your own activities. I am so glad that you are having such a full
and interesting life. You have studied and worked all your life and to think
that recognition has come to your is most soul satisfying. You are most
fortunate to have inherited enough money to make you independent to carry on
your own interests. Just at present our newspapers and radio are full of
reports on the visit of Pakistan’s President M.A. Khan. The red carpet has
been put out for him. The President gave a very beautiful dinner at Mt. Vernon
for him. He has spoken before Congress and is going to Texas to visit Lyndon
Johnson. I, personally, am not in sympathy with him at all!! He has been very
crude and abrupt in his speech. He is plainly blackmailing us. If we don’t to
as he says and give him what he wants he will turn to Russia!!!! The Russians
are already drilling for oil in his country. As far as I am concerned he can go
back home. As for world politics I read a great deal and hear lectures on world
conditions. The Orient may be very important but the European situation is of
the greatest importance at the moment. Berlin is the Problem at the moment. It
is a powder keg that may explode at any moment. You are away from home and
hearing other people tell of their problems. You are also carried away with
your warm reception by these Orientals. You do understand their religion but at
this moment none of that is very important. Religion is not an important
question at the moment. It is Power. We are having devastating strikes. Hoffa
and Bridges are doing irreparable damage to our country. The reports coming out
of their convention of Florida are most disturbing. These are the things that
concern us now not what President Kahn wants and threatens to do. Each country
has its own problems as do individuals. We in America cannot solve all of
them—and we are fools to try. As for Religion, let the Orientals have their
own beliefs. Their Religious leaders have been very wonderful men. However
following these old customs have been a hindrance to the masses. They are
ignorant—unhealthy, and unhappy at their lot—especially now when the world
has become so little and they can see how other countries live. I certainly
agree with you that Hollywood is a terrible example to show to the world; it is
certainly a distorted picture of the American way. With travel and education,
different races will, in time, become better acquainted with one another—but
that does not lead to peace. If families cannot get along together how can
nations expect to. We live in a most bewildering period of history. The
problems are just too great to solve at this time. Remember that at present you
are living with people who are looking to your for information and ideas. You
happen to understand their religions. You have something to give them that they
want. But while you are being unduly influenced by them and their problems you
are losing sight of the very pressing problems of your country. They are
changing each day and we have the most brilliant minds to be found in this
country trying to solve them Just at present I am reading The Rise and Fall of
the Third Reich. It is a massive collection of that period. It is shocking in
its implications. The very same thing could happen in this country at this time
with people like Hoffa and Bridge holding the enormous power they do. It is
frightening. I find TV most instructive.
On KQED, our Educational program, we have very fine programs, speakers, etc.
To see and hear our outstanding personalities is a great privilege and to me
educational. Of course I realize that most of our news and our commentators do
not do us much good. It tends to keep us unsettled most the time. However I
feel that our common man tries to keep abreast with the times. We certainly
have enough magazines, newspapers, etc. to keep them informed. I am very much
pleased with Kennedy. I feel that he is a dedicated man and is doing all in his
power to do the best for the U.S.A. I have never liked Johnson but I understand
that he is a shrewd politician and so far has been doing a good job. Nixon just
can’t make up his mind about the governorship of Calif. Brown has made a very
poor record and anyone could beat him at this point. Nixon has his eyes on the
White House in ‘64—so he hesitates to do anything to hurt his chances.
As for religion, I have been reading “The World Bible.” It compares
Hindu, Buddhist, Confucianist, Judeo-Christian, Taoist, Zoroastrian and
Mohammedan religions. I have read carefully the part about the Sufi. That is
the religion that you have accepted. I have found its origins, etc. quite
interesting. However with your background and education it is rather unusual
that you should have selected this particular offshoot from Mohammedan sect.
However, I believe that on one should choose the faith that satisfies his
wants. With this harmony in thoughts it is easily understood how you can be so
happy with your associates in Pakistan. I thought the pictures you sent, taken
with one of the masters, were most interesting. I was impressed with his fine
features and the burning fire in his eyes. No doubt he has made a deep
impression on you. You are most certainly having a wide experience. As you fit
in so well into their philosophy and see so much good to be done for them, it
seems to me that you should make up your mind to devote your life and efforts
to helping them. Greatness sometimes comes to people in very unusual
circumstances. You constantly complain that you are not accepted in your own
home town—that has been said by many!!! If you can find happiness in some
other place where your talents are recognized and you win acclaim, why not be
satisfied to settle down there and carry on the dreams an aspirations of your
life? You say that your poetry has met with warm praise and that you are
carrying on the work in agriculture that you studied to do. Why not help those
people who need your knowledge and experience so much? Fame will come much
easier there. Here competition is rough many already have their feet firmly set
on the ladder of success. Living expenses are going higher and higher each
month. You certainly could not have the social and intellectual life here that
you are enjoying so thoroughly there.
I hope that your trip to East Pakistan will materialize in the near future.
I think that it is most unfortunate to have Pakistan divided into two parts and
so far apart. As long as this partition exists there can never be peace. But
can there ever be Peace anywhere????
My family is having a very pleasant summer. Nancy has been allowed to come
and spend the summer with us. It was an emotional experience to hold her in my
arms again. This old home was a beehive of activity for a week or so. Then all
left for the mountain cabin. Sandy his been sent to a camp. He can come next
time. Nancy is a charming young girl and we are so glad to have her with us.
She is very small and looks just like Margaret. I talked to Elliot recently and
he said that your mother was about the same. She is in a nursing home. He is
not very well, he said.
It is a smoggy day. We have had glorious weather but just at present there
are numerous forest first all over the state and also in Oregon. It is such a
needless destruction. Well, Samuel I wish you great success in your chosen
life. You have earned your recognition. Find your happiness where you can. Do
good where it is most needed. Devotedly
Nov. 21, 1961
Your letter from Lahore, Pakistan was received just a couple of days ago. I
am writing so that you will leave some idea of how your mail is coming through.
Your mail comes promptly. I had received a letter from you with the return
address c/o Embassy, U.S.A. New Delhi, India. I answered that promptly is you
told me that you were worried about your passport. Also your mail had been held
up and that you had not received your money. It is a very serious thing to be
in a foreign country without a passport or money!!! I do hope that in the
meantime things have been cleared up and that your mail has caught up with you.
You seemed to feel very definitely that you were being watched. Don’t the
American Embassies give our citizens some advice and help? Surely they must be
aware of the situation in their districts. Have your tried to get help from
them? Then you say that your carry on voluble correspondence with various
people of prominence in our universities, etc. Surely they must give some
notice to your information and to any appeal that you might make for advice,
You have said in all of your letters that you have been meeting and
associating with the very top people in each city you have lived in. They most
certainly should be able to give you some sort of protection. At least they
could write letters to your bank here and get information through to you. Their
mail would not be tampered with. It must be very frustrating to you to be
placed in this uncertain position. Your letter is dated Nov. 18th so
you see it came through quickly.
My friends E.J. and Mildred have left on their trip around the world. He has
business in the Orient and they plan to come home through Europe and see things
that they did not see their last trip. I went over to help her sew and do many
of the little aggravating chores that one must do to ones clothes at the last
moment. Going to so many climates poses a challenge to one’s ingenuity in
packing and planning for such an extensive trip.
Margaret and Carlie have invited the whole family for Thanksgiving. I think
that we should have a very delightful time and I am looking forward to it with
keen anticipation. Our family has grown!!! Think of all of the people I am
responsible for. We are calling an assistant minister and it has occasioned a
lot of receptions and teas to meet the Dr. and his wife. They are very
delightful and I know that it will be very good to have them. Our Thanksgiving
Service this year will be held in our church. Special music has been composed
and there will be instruments added. The congregation of Temple Emanuel will,
of course, join in the service. I hate to miss it as I always enjoy this
service very much.
I have been reading some good books. On T.V. there have been some excellent
programs. There is a man who has a program called Eastern Wisdom. His talks
every week have been interesting. He discusses the great leaders of the
Oriental cults. He tries to explain their beliefs. They are complicated to say
The whole country is upset over the news that the son of Rockefeller has
been lost in New Guinea. He and this boy’s twin sister and other have
chartered a plane to go in search of him. It is a tragedy. Evidently this son
was a student and had the whole world before him. He was on a scientific
expedition. One young man was rescued. Let us hope that the young Rockefeller
will be found alive.
Politics are getting hotter and hotter here in California. Nixon has begun
to talk and he will damn himself. Evidently the party want to get rid of him.
He has begun to campaign against Brown too soon. Brown has been becoming more
popular. He had that miserable Chessman case at the very beginning to cope
with. People became so hysterical about him. It was hard on Brown. With this
last election his bills have passed and the water bill was voted by a big
majority. Other things also passed which will be in his favor. California is a
democratic state and let us hope that Nixon will not be elected. He is already
telling how well He could run the state!!!!
I have not seen Elliott lately so I presume that your mother is about the
Sunday night it rained. At long last a little water!!!! In L.A. the rain was
heavy and did damage where the brush had been burned away but here it was Oh,
so welcome. However, the sun is out and no sign of any clouds. We need the rain
Well, That about covers the news with me. I hope that this will come through
in good time. I also hope that in the meantime your passport has been returned
and that your money has caught up. If there is anything that I can do to help
let me know. There was not any definite suggestion in your letters. It seems to
me that your newspaper friends would be the ones to contact people for you. I
am glad that your feel so well and are enjoying your work.
It is all a very enriching experience—Write again soon.
January 26, 1962
My dear Willie:
It is Independence Day, cold and raining, and I have a little time on my
hands. However there is no telling where or when this will be mailed. It is a
holiday and I leave early tomorrow before the P.O.s will be opened and have
used, up all the stamps I had. When there is time there is more mailing and
postage, reports, correspondences, etc.
For example, I had to send out three copies of my horticultural findings. My
host, Satya Agrawal, co-authored a book on Tea and I found a very, important
practice there which might be applied in other fields. So I sent reports to my
friend Harry Nelson, and also to Cal. and Ohio State. I was more fortunate than
the Ohio State team here in that I did get conferences when I asked. In this
connection it was with the TCU which has charge of our technical work here, I
have the names of Americans working throughout India and by a lucky accident
crossed Prof. Montgomery from Kansas State who just happened in. This was
fortunate because he is stationed at Poona where I go from Bombay where I go
from here. I told him about his boys and was rather complimentary. I am still
for farm-exchanges and dubious about the Peace Corps.
In this connection I discussed an alternative to the Peace Corps with Dr.
Hixon, which he readily accepted. The 4-H approach is one of human democracy,
the Peace Corps one of potter-clay, in which we and the Russians excel. But now
half the countries of the world are sending “experts” and “technicians”
to the other half and nobody knows where it will end.
The magazines deplore the dearth of scientists in the U.S.. Whose fault is
it but the press? When Pres. Eisenhower came out for more students of math and
science, the press came out for more students of math, science and languages.
The result was a 90% increase in language studies. Madison Ave. marches on.
Most, fortunate in the conversation with Dr. Hixon was the discovery of a
Prof. Schoonover, one of the world’s leading authorities on salinity and he
lives in Oakland! You must bear in mind, how, Willie, nobody turns this
hombre’ aside and all meetings seem to leave mutually good tastes in the
mouth. I shall report to the TCM and Embassy when I return.
There was a funny incident at this hotel (Airlines.) A whole bus-load came
from Russia and I pretended to be surrounded by “Polyankas” which would
indicate their nationality. But this is a name for an important Russian
folkdance and before I finished the letter I discovered they were
“Polyankas.” Then one of my amusing Puck episodes followed. The Russians
promised to dance for the hotel staff and clientele, but instead put on a Vodka
party which horrified the Hindus. While this was going on I danced for them
(Hindus) and won their approbation. Of course this as strictly against protocol
and I was absolutely out of place, as I always am.
For instance, while it was almost impossible to get taxis and most of the
pathways to the Ministry of External Affairs were closed, I had a most pleasant
interview with the Chief of Protocol. I shall see him when I return from the
South. Anyhow I have a completely different approach to Krishna Menon. I would
prefer to keep silent on this until I get to the World Affairs Council.
The same does not apply quite so much to the Kashmir problem. If I came
forward there would be a ridiculous situation with the Pakistan is and Hindus
trusting me and the Russians and Americans opposed, so I’ll let the Kashmiri
problem freeze. At this moment the Kashmiris are freezing anyhow.
My welcome here was strictly off-color and yet it was most colorful. I have
gone to shrines and holy places seldom visited by any American and was received
most warmly. When I returned the next day this became official and in turn this
is going to react very strongly against those persons, foreign mostly, but some
Americans, who have placed bars before me, previously. That is over. We gain no
friends by willful ignorance and never will and never have, but we still have
the Great Stone Face complex, although this is lessening.
I did not try to see the Ambassador—anyhow he was just coming as was
leaving, but got a blurb on him which went to U.C. But if I accomplish what I
have started to do I think he might see me. I saw the Chief of Protocol
afterwards, anyhow. And yestereve had tea with my good friend, Dr.
Radhakrishnan. I shall grapevine this to Mrs. L. Grady. The plane on which we
communed is somewhat different from that usual between emissaries of East and
West. But I know I was striking home with each sentence.
I brought him the latest book of Prof. Reiser of Pittsburgh, the American
exponent of the Integral approach. My efforts are to bring the real
philosophers of integration together and it looks as if I shall. In this I have
the interesting cooperation of Julie Medlock who has press-agented Dr. Reiser,
Dr. Radhakrishnan, Lord Russell and Adali Stevenson.
Much of the rest of the short communion between the Vice-President and
myself was of the same order as my again meeting Swami Maharaj Ranganathananda
of the Ramakrishna Mission here. I brought him one of the poems dedicated to
him, and heard him speak. He is in such contrast to Krishnamurti who is also
visiting New Delhi and gives essence of sugar as cosmic philosophy. Swamiji is
very solid. I brought him another poem later but he was not in and anyhow I
should prefer to visit him after he has read them. I am not worried. This is
not America; this is where Indian-Indian philosophy is understood and
Most of my time has been in visiting people. One of the most ludicrous was
that with Krishnaji who sent for me. He seems to be the darling of Meher Baba,
the silent Parsi who claims to be God. So he is going into the silence in a
month, with drums, trumpets, press agent, funds and a beautiful woman
attendant. Then he shall attain god-hood. Poor God! what He is expected to do.
And don’t think this is not taken seriously—even in San Francisco!
I have not revisited the usual tourist haunts, unless one calls the tomb of
Nizam-ud-din Auliya such, and even that visit was the most unusual. But have
visited other saints’ tombs and what is remarkable is the art-work and care
in preservation. Much of it is in marble too, and who the preservation of a
high degree of Mogul art other than in pictures. When I come again it must be
with a photographer and sound equipment operator.
While in the Bombay-Poona area I shall probably take a side trip to
Aurungabad which I have not visited and go to the caves from there. It will be
a different approach and I know I shall come out with some shocking reports.
Indeed, our chief Cultural Attaché in Karachi is an amateur archaeologist. He
has taken part in the discovery of two more very ancient cities which show
definite Tigris-Euphrates links. There has never been any question in my mind
but that city-cultures, in this area run back many many centuries. (The same is
probably true in the Sahara also, still to be explored.)
Delhi has grown; it is like a combination of Los Angeles and Washington,
Like Washington it has the governmental buildings, embassies and circles with
radiating streets and avenues. Like L.A. it sprawls without definite planning,
but with pretty good bus, taxi and ricksha (motor driven) conveyances.
There is no question that New Delhi looks brighter today. It is a
combination of Los Angeles and Washington which I shall not explain here.
I have sent the Alumni Assn. at U.C. a blurb on Ambassador Galbraith. I did
not try to see him and it would have done no good for he did not arrive until
after I had completed my interviews. However if I accomplish even a modicum of
what I hope to here it will be easy.
The session with Prof. Hixon at TCM was more to the point. We discussed the
salinity problem in India—which is very great but de-emphasized, and he gave
me the address of Prof. Schoonover in Oakland! Prof. Fireman has been here but
again this has been a cross- trailing. We discussed at some length the matter
of trees, nuts, avocados and the human approach. This comes up in both plant
protection and the proper technical training.
We had a long talk and total agreement on this subject. So far as the TCM
people are concerned, there is nothing but continual absolute harmony and I am
in a position to listen to suggestions which they cannot carry out. Our main
difference—of policy not of view—is that they are compelled to recognize UN
functionaries and I am not. I may have a lot to say on this later, but would
rather speak than write.
I was fortunate in meeting Prof. Montgomery of Kansas State who passed by
when I was with Hixon. He is stationed at Poona where I expect to be shortly.
There I may also contact the musician Dilip Koomar Ray, who was for a short
while in San Francisco and operates an ashram. In South India I expect to meet
both agricultural and spiritual leaders.
If I can find them in Bombay, I should called on Profs. Wadia and Merchant,
the social economists. I think they have a better picture of this part of the
world than most men. Like Krishna Menon, they have an integralist approach and
so are anathema to the orthodox of all schools. As India is integrating types
of socialism, capitalism, statism, etc. this factual approach is necessary. (I
mention but do not apologize for the economies here.)
As I have been on the round anyhow and have little time I fly now, and hope
to continue after landing.
There is a big break of over 2 weeks, I came to Bombay and my host was in
Poona. We cross trailed. Then he went to Nasik. Everything is working out fine.
I have seen Prof. Merchant above. He immediately phoned Prof. Wadia who said he
wanted to see me and I go after mailing. At Poona I met a U.C. man who
introduced me around and I conferred with all sorts of professors end
scientists, all on high ground. Have since been able to come back to Bombay and
reported to the American officials, and more, Monday. It seem that I am as
welcome today as I was not yesterday.
I am also living in an apartment in the district where Krisha Menon is
running for reelection, very hot campaign in every respect.
All other ventures coming out on top. Strange meeting with one Joseph Harb
of S.F. that is a story in itself, but will keep, have too much to do. Also
will be traveling incessantly for some time.
March 27, 1962
My dear Willie:
I have been having a rush-rush all over India and am so tired I cannot even
take the trouble of proper farewells. I would reach a city with three
introductions and all three people would outline a complete program for me.
This is delightful as hospitality but hard on the psyche and stomach.
Today, at the end of my sixth visit to Delhi, I finally met Mr. Ahuja of the
Bank of America and he enabled me to get dollars again. It is interesting to
know that my two big friends, Russell Smith and Lucretia Del Valle Grady, are
also friends of his.
The rush is accentuated as the chief Vedanta Sami is leaving for Calcutta;
and there is a big Sufi celebration, reading of poetry in remembrance of Amir
Khusrau, the greatest Urdu poet of the region. All of this is stimulating.
Indeed I heard Hindi poets at Taj and I think they inspired or suggested the
piece enclosed. The letter is written to friends of mine in San Rafael, Mrs.
Margaret Albanese being the best encourager I have for my writing. (Her
father’s name was Samuel L. Lewis and we had mutual friends all over the
My scientific work about wound up today. I shall have to do both writing and
research when I return, but make no plans until I learn details of developments
From Bombay I sent Rudolph a small Kashmir piece and a Nepalese Buddha. I
also purchased a silver piece for my friend Seth “Silver” Wood at the Trade
Fair in Sausalito. Through the Diners Club arrangement I can get a lot of
things henceforth. My only hurdle is my ticket home—I feel I may not leave
for several weeks yet and I do not know my own affairs. Unfortunately my
friends in Bombay and here failed to deliver my mail.
I have had many strange adventures with strange and mysterious people. One
of those who has become strange and mysterious himself is Paul Brunton who
wrote “Search in Secret India,” “Search in Secret Egypt” and then a
great many more works, most of them not very good. He was trapped into marriage
and I suspect it did not turn out well. (Three women were fighting over him
when I lived in Hollywood. Now he travels incognito. I picked up his footprints
in many places but he has asked for no publicity. I have also learned a good
deal more about the false and true in Yoga and other Indian-systems. I am
afraid that in San Francisco and California in general the false has been much
more successful than the true.
I am guessing that the rest of my mail awaits me in Lahore—I have about
four days behind.
April 13, 1962
(received yours of 4/4 just after typing)
My dear Willie:
I have not been getting much mail lately and do not care. There are, it is
truth, a couple of roadblocks—mail not forwarded, but the speed of life is so
rapid and in some respects so successful that I am now clearing and cleaning
up. The Sadiqs with whom I have been staying have to move, change of tenure,
but that is only a small item upon an immense horizon. As I warned Elliott I
was going to “beat” him simply by being successful.
Have written Jack Shelley an important letter. I not only met many former
friends of the Gradys while in India, I had the most successful time with all
Americans excepting those of the press and Murrow people. They are living lies
and their terrible mis-emphasis is hurting us. I just reviewed the news they
put out—all about space travel and experiments and new testing grounds and
meteorological advancement. Not a word about what American scientists are
accomplishing in India for the Indians. It is a shame and disgrace and if even
the Morrow boys pay no attention, what do you expect from the daily press?
Visited Asian Foundation and met my first Peace Corps rookie. “Well, if he
sows a blade of grass it is news. You have already sown a whole forest but who
cares? This is the way we ‘advertise’ our country.” Americans are doing a
lot of wonderful things all over, and I should say a lot of wonderful Americans
are doing things all over—we have carloads of “Burma Surgeons” whom
neither the Vice-President nor relatives of the President ever cared to hear
Today I am on excellent terms with the whole foreign service. Called on the
Consul- General this week: “Wish I had met you before.” “Wait until I
complete my surveys.” Then I’ll ask him for a letter of introduction to the
Ambassador (a new appointee.)
Jackie was acclaimed on both sides but now that she is gone the press is
anti- American again. It is stupid and I am going to warn them and the
authorities if they don’t stop, he can say goodbye to Kashmir. Not a wood
against those countries which are opposing them—just against us who try to be
fair-minded. But the press is not fair-minded.
In general I should like to see the President win his battles, not because
he is right, but because that is the only way to test. I am for more and more
foreign trade. As to labor displacement, I have written a plan to Jack Hennessy
above which otherwise I am keeping secret. I know where a million Americans can
get jobs abroad if handled rightly.
The other night I saw the Georgian dancers again and as I foretold, the
audience was packed with Americans. Some few other Europeans but not the
Germans. The performance, as always, was wonderful. Can stand repeats with
them. But have little time for relaxation. We have to move. My prestige is very
high. I have scored some knock-down blows which are going to be very hard on
certain obscurantists who have had too much to say in California. Indeed
certain aspects of my private to life have gone so high that this very fact
makes it hard to bring to focus. But our political attaches and now the
Consul-General recognizing this, I don’t care. My closing hours in India, my
re-welcome here and more keeps me alert. It is only a question now as to
answers to inquiries sent out for both Major Sadiq and myself. Any one of these
may mean a quick return and all the soothsayers and seers keep on predicting
the same thing. I don’t mean fortunetellers but even then one Sikh told me
exactly the same—everybody makes exactly the same predilections for both of
us, So we shall see. This means an important series of careers-not just one
thing alone, when I return. My “How California can help Asia” will be
expanded. If Alan Watts or anybody stands in the way I shall go direct both the
Mayors in S.F. and L.A (and maybe Oakland) and put my cards down, and they are
some cards. The few letters received are most encouraging.
I was very tired coming back from India—exhausted. My career there was
like a series of dreams, nearly all pleasant. It was like some kind of
super-telepathy was at work and maybe it was, Now I feel sprightly but
I have not heard from my uncle. My aunt was very ill. If anything happens to
my mother I have asked her attorneys to notify my own attorney, but last notice
was sent to me, not to him, and I am hard to reach. I have a hunch Elliott will
change his tune—I think he has too many enemies and I certainly return with
plethora of friends, all over. Outside of love, romance and such I have not had
a single set-back. Maybe it was meant to be that way.
Of course everybody is looking for me to go back and convert Americans to
their particular religion and I am most anxious to work on our psychological
disturbances (outside the horticultural field.) This will be done, no doubt in
Hollywood. I shall be happy to be in San Francisco but as soon as I leave for
Southern California I’ll be in the “soup” and yet that is most necessary
for any and all regions. So my domicile is uncertain. I only hope the World
Affairs Council and the different departments on the Berkeley Campus will take
me seriously, but if they all take me too seriously, I’ll be overworked again
and I feel that coming now rather than rejections. There is lots more but let
it wait. Boy, am I full of anecdotes. My top achievements are to be presented
by my friend, Major Sadiq, who, presumably may be with me, and I am to leave
them to him.
Made final visit to Shalimar Gardens, 3 miles away. Full of flowers in
bloom, mostly the same as in California. Trees just about to burst forth. Most
pleasant there now.
Expect to bring Major Sadiq, spiritual healer, with me. We have put you No.1
on our visiting list—soon as possible after landing.
April 14, 1962
It is all over, my struggle for years, for what I consider honesty and
integrity. I have gone rapidly uphill because I have friends and contacts here.
I am now the guest of Q.A. Shahab, who is Secretary to the President and the
top literary man of the country to boot.
He is a Sufi giving the lie to all our European Orientalists who insist
there are no great Sufis today and that Sufis never take part in politics. He
does not like that. He does not like the United States selecting non-American,
non-Muslims for their “experts” for this part of the world. This country is
very anti-Russian. We have the USIA libraries, the American Friends of the
Middle East, Asia Foundation. But where the reciprocal relations with this
friendly land of 80,000,000 people. Russia has no libraries, no propaganda
here, but the Russians invite Pakistanis to their country to explain their
culture, their aims, their hopes. We make lofty speeches—and it is no wonder
that the grapevine spreads malicious gossip.
We tell each land that we will help them in certain things. We do not ask
what their problems are. When I was here before I was told that the greatest
problem was the Fly. I appealed in vain. So I used to go around saying,
“Invite Russians into Pakistan and we shall eliminate the Fly.” What has
happened? The Russians are here and now we are using DDT!
My report to Chet Huntley was identical with the article in “Manchester
Guardian” which at least confirmed my powers of observation. Take any sore
spot and you will find the Russians on each side and we “neutral,” so
whosoever wins, the Russians are there.
This is a country of many cultures, most not presented in the U.S. lest we
hurt somebody else’s feelings. This is a country based on religion and we do
not like to discuss religion. This is a country with a strong undertone of
serious philosophy; it is in the papers all the time. Not only have my outlines
on philosophy been accepted by each university I have appealed to, but the
President himself has asked for outlines from me. (I did the same in UAR where
the scientists accepted the ideas, and in toto)
This is a country whose spiritual father (Iqbal) was a poet. Poetry
gatherings are like dance gatherings with us. I have read in public and gained
many well-wishes. I have read in private with Secretary Shahab with a select
gathering—which I found out later was more select that I dreamed, and
immediately requests to copy for translation into Urdu and be published—I
could not get to bat in America, just wait.
I have met agricultural experts, authorities, and the deputy of Soil
Conservation and they say I have just what they want and have been doing what
they need. This follows naturally because I asked M.A. Cheema who is now Joint
Minister of Food & Agriculture and did exactly as he requested. I was
deposited by a strange accident in the middle of the Agricultural Experimental
Station here at ‘pindi. I found the director is the top Floriculturist in
Pakistan—more will come out of this. But at the President’s request I have
held up releasing any papers or knowledge or anything.
So you see, Willie, my knowledge of Art, Poetry, Flowers, Botanical and
non-Botanical Sciences, Philosophy, History and Religion have all done me
On top of that I am scheduled to meet the top spiritual leaders. This
happened to me in Japan, Thailand and East Pakistan; to some extent in India,
too, and even in England. I have written to the San Rafael Journal-Independent.
But I have written the San Francisco papers complaining that they ignore
“local boy makes good” even when I have most important news. This is old
hat to me. Now, however, for the second time, I have been told to go back to
California and “fight.”
Mr. Abdul Sattar, long-time Consul General in S.F. is probably in Abbottabad
now. When I return we should be having many consultations. He is one of the
best friends I have on earth. He knows what is what. I have run into relics of
the Mogul treasures; I am “finding” if not gold, then a lot of other things
in the hills. I have gone into villages, I know what is going on. But most of
all I know the hearts of these people, and today am flanked by Barker of
Berkeley and Connaught of San Francisco, young men who had to face the same
spurious “experts” that I have met and know what is what and are very
popular here. Willie, there is more than a cold war on, but we cannot win by
subjectivities and subjective “experts” who misled us. We have no more
right to look to a Swede for Chinese culture than a Chinese for Swedish
culture; to a German for Indian culture than for an Indian for German culture.
Why do we do that and downgrade American graduates on top of that. That day is
over, Willie, I assure you it is over. I think, if I have not reached my
psychic summit, I am near it. Edmond Dantes has landed on Monte Cristo.
May 10, 1962
Dear Willie: Copy of Letter to friend
My dear Florie:
The other day I sent a letter by airmail and I am following it up. It is
absolutely impossible for me to tell what is going on here, especially before
all people who have had preconceptions and are more concerned with the virtues
of people than with the presentation of truth.
I have ordered a lot of books at Ashraf and may add more. I placed a deposit
but must add books which have been given me as presents and some other
purchases. They may be bulky. Some books are in duplicate which means they are
for you—the extra copy. The other books I shall urge you to read, for it does
not look as it I shall be back for a year, inshallah.
Everything is bursting into harvest. Every day conferences and meetings,
every night teas or dinners. I have spoken to many thousands in mosques, to
hundreds at Sufi gatherings, to the biggest governmental officials, or am being
given introductions. I have spent two nights with rich industrialists. I
understand that big dinners are being given to me. You will not understand, and
I don’t myself, that when I enter assemblages even generals and spiritual
teachers rise. I am totally dizzy, complicated by the 100-degree weather and I
I am in the home of Major Sadiq, a successful Sufi Leader, who is now
planning to come to California. At the moment it would appear we shall
ultimately be financed by some of the richest men here. I have just written
another article for another paper about him. We are disciples of Maulana Abdul
Ghafoor of Dacca. Yesterday, when I was challenged to perform a miracle, I
refused saying that my teacher would not permit if I could. The man re-
challenged me and said, Who is Maulana Abdul Ghafoor? At that moment a stranger
entered and said: I will tell you. I lived with him two years.” There you had
Two hours later, I was in another government office protesting against some
bad treatment I had had, no answer to letters and I gave my references. A young
man was present and he jumped sky high out of his seat when I mentioned Maulana
Abdul Ghafoor, Why, he is my uncle” There, another “miracle” if you want
it. I got satisfaction, quickly and how.
Now, the books which I am sending you contain three on art. These are,
ostensibly, for the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design. But this is a delicate
matter. The contents of the books contradict a lot of stuff which has been put
over by Haridas Chaudhuri and Fred Spiegelberg as Oriental Art. Chaudhuri never
was an authority on art, but I have never once heard either of these men refuse
to speak from the platform any time, on any subject. This extreme egotism has
been increased by most misleading remarks. I respect Haridas’ knowledge of
Indian Philosophy and respect Fred on Jung and Tibet, but that does not mean
that their nonsense should be poured on our public as Asian Culture.
I expect before long to have other things for Rudolph. We need East-West
communication, but it cannot be channeled through persons, not to say humbugs.
This is a serious thing. A friend of mine attended a peace meeting in S.F. A
Pakistani lady arose and said: How can we have peace without friendship. And
what do you know about my country?” Yes, what! We not only take things for
granted but import non-American, non-Pakistanis or non-Asians to (mis)inform
us. This has long passed the elementary stage.
There are a lot of very rich and powerful people here who don’t like their
abolition by Ron Landau. He is going to feel it, too. The interest in Sufism in
top levels is immense. Not only that, a large part of the wealth of the country
may be set into channels to introduce Islamic Culture, Pakistani Culture and
Sufism into the U.S., each and all. The details are not forthcoming but the
social events are. Your poor brethren of the Islamic Tea and Cinema Centre are
going to receive more shocks because the money is coming and perhaps plenty of
it, and maybe soon, but not for tear-jerkers who have no conception of religion
I am having teas, dinners, receptions and conferences all the time and every
item on my program has been successful, alhamdulillah. Then, Landau or no
Landau, there are plenty of graduates from the University of California here in
top jobs, some of whom I have met, some of who I shall be meeting and they are
going to cry about being non-existing personalities because some noisy
foreigner says they do not exist. The same is true of Grünebaum in Los Angles
who is supposed to know something of Islam and blames everything on the Sufis.
Well, the generals, cabinet ministers, bankers, industrialists and professors
who are Sufis do not exactly concord and there are plenty of less educated ones
here all over the place—and I am reaping the benefit thereof.
We are not going to have peace and we are not going to win any cold war
until we have honesty. I warned “Time” magazine and of course, they paid no
attention. Now they have been barred from Indonesia as has the MRA. Self-praise
is an inherent part of most of our programs, we have no time to praise the
other fellow and we had better awaken to it. I have had so many invitations to
Indonesia it is sickening instead of delighting. Our press and our mad people
simply will not look upon the world as it is. Everybody in Asia is a
“fanatic” at some time or other and when the chiefs of the “fanatics”
are Prime Ministers this does not make good copies.
More important is the invitation, top level too, to go to Malaya. This I
shall accept. I studied Asiatics now for over 40 years no matter what the whole
Academy and Near East bunch at U.C. and elsewhere think or don’t think. We
have crowds of “Orientalists” who want money to finance Asian studies. And
we have crowds of graduates of American universities all over who would be glad
to furnish, free, all the information and contacts we need to promote better
God help the Peace Corps. When they arrive they will be bombard with
religious questions they won’t be able to answer. I was royally welcomed by
the minister of Food and Agriculture in New Delhi because I know something of
the Upanishads, and I mean know. And the same is more true here. Next week I
hope to meet Abdul Sattar. I am overworked and overwrought, but there is not
one cloud on a huge horizon. The question is entirely one of organizing my
efforts. And I have even written to James Wilson of the Chamber of Commerce
that I am not the least concerned about San Francisco’s reactions to me
because the Japanese will accept my reports on natural resources, mineral
wealth, opportunities, etc. I have stood steadfastly for Real Asia versus
Phantasia. I shall not withdraw, least of all now when everything, and I mean
everything, is coming my way and at rates too rapid to be assimilated.
Sufi Ahmed Murad
May 12, 1962
I am enclosing copy of a letter written to a friend in S.F. The harvest,
praise be to God, is really coming.
Very, very few of my old acquaintances can realize my position in this
country. For some time I have been saying, Emerson’s mouse-trap inventor,
only know it is a parade and I mean parade. I can hardly tell you how I am
received socially One, my two big backers, Mrs. Grady and the Russells Smith
would say: “Sure, we expected it.” Everything is clearing up.
This morning I should see my main horticultural contact in this wing. We are
discussing a trip to East Pakistan and there our host will be Director of Food
and Agriculture, that wing.
Tonight there will be a grand celebration for me, all kinds of dignitaries,
top military men, lawyers, doctors, industrialists, professors. Tomorrow night
I shall be the special guest of one of the most wealthy families in
There are two things to consider here—first the lies given out by our
European and Zionist mentors on Islam. What they say is not true and what is
true they refuse to admit. We have a strange awe for Europe an professors, even
in Physics and Space Travel and we are spending millions of dollars in
experiments bound to fail, but we do it. This is even worse in Orientalia. I
tell you, Willie, it is a shame how we are misled and uninformed.
I am writing shortly to the Embassies and I am continuing in this vein. The
“Children’s Crusade” will never succeed. My agricultural contact this
morning is another in the procession of U.C. graduates. I am going to work for
“California in Asia” similar to “Princeton in Asia.” Our alumni members
in the field should be encouraged to report on what they know and what they
think can and should be done for their countries. We don’t need any young
amateurs to go out. They will be bombarded with questions for which they will
be totally unprepared especially about religion. An irreligious man will not be
acceptable and a religious man will be challenged. Our press and cinema simply
do not understand the world—it is not an extension of Hollywood, God
To know people you have to know their hearts and minds, not just offer them
food, inventions and gadgets which they may not want.
I have lots more in my bags but I should rather take it up with the proper
authorities. It may be the autumn of my life but also it is for me harvest
time, and how.
May 23, 1962
My dear Willie:
I am in another mixed up period. It is different from the one a year ago
because then I took the full brunt of a lot of seeming misfortunes at once. Now
my friend-host the Major is. How long this will last I do not know. But I am
like my friend Felix Knauth, of San Francisco, who has his base camp near the
top of one of the Himalayas or Karakorums, so near that he hates to leave and
yet the reaching of the top seems out of question—at the moment.
On the debit side: My mail is? I have been robbed twice. I have lost some
papers and don’t know whether they were connected with the robberies. I
don’t get much chance to handle my own affairs; for we had to move our home
and the Major had to move his post. Most of these “misfortunates” are
connected with the strange folk behavior of the people here who seem to have a
way of throwing the blame on the victim.
Thus recently there was a lawsuit because a house was divided (duplex),one
half to a Hindu and one half to a Muslim. A knot-hole fell out and the Hindus
could look in on the Muslim Purdah ladies. The Muslims sued the Hindus and
insisted they move and won the case-on Islamic law grounds. The Hindus appealed
and won because Purdah is not guaranteed by common law and no Hindus bothered
to look anyhow—they were away working all day. Query? Why didn’t somebody
plug up the hole? Answer: that jest isn’t done darling. And I mean that. Why,
if a servant catches me even opening a new razor blade he thinks that is his
job. So there is a comic or ironic side to all the negative things.
Positive things: I have now obtained valuable ore samples from Abbottabad
which I wish to bring home for analysis and possible investment.
All my scientific proposals have been accepted all levels without exception
by everybody who is any sort of official or technician. This is continuous,
edifying, etc. So I wish to return to write at length my “How California can
help Asia.” Long, involved and hopeful.
I have met Shackat, elder son of President Ayub and he wishes to join the
major on a big American project wherein at the moment I am acting as secretary.
Shackat and I took to each other and he has told his father about me.
I have also met and entered into a grand agreement with Sufi Pir Dewwal
Shereef who is Ayub’s spiritual adviser. He has appointed me his American
representative. He has been very successful in raising funds for the
forthcoming Islamabad University which is to be both Urdu-Islamic and modern.
He is not only close to the President he is opposed to all the ignorant people
who have charge of public religion and in fighting them tooth and nail. He
wants less Islamic history (but more religion) and more modern science,
technology, art, etc. He already has funds for two American scholarships and
several American professors. So I am acting as liaison person between him and
UC; if we were honest as a Nation it would be with Hawaii. But we have the
craziest ways of dealing with Asians.
If it gives you any comfort, one man is responsible for the loss of Laos:
Dulles. I know this for absolute. We lost face as a Nation rather than purge
some sacred cows—I wont go into that now.
The Pir urged I return to Lahore and he would let me know when to return to
Rawalpindi and see either the President or someone close to him in regard to my
plans to help Pakistan. So many elements of foreign aid have failed or proved
inept. The Pir believes the alternative now is chaos or a depression.
Actually, after so many people foretold my brilliant return to America, I
have gotten tired in being held up here but am talking the one final chance to
see Ayub. I should know one way or another by the end of the month. The truth
is that the Pakistanis think wonderfully and do nothing; while the Americans do
not always think through, but do everything well. This is a long story and may
extend into articles or a book. But I especially wish my “How California Can
Help Asia” and my answers to Koestler and Kerouac, who have misled us no
My friend Steadman Thompson, my host in Ohio, recently moved to San
Francisco and began attending your church. He reports very favorably but has
now gone away for two months’ journey. If I cannot get other accommodations,
I could move in with him temporarily. But there is a test: All the seers,
without exception, say that Major Sadiq will be coming with me, with the
backing and blessings of Ayub, so I want to clear this out. That is why I feel
I am on a high base camp near the summit and can’t give up at the moment.
Look, the President of India is a friend of mine and it looks, also, that the
next president of the UN will be a friend of mine.
Finally my poetry is being taken up. A second person is reviewing my
“Saladin” and I think it is either going to receive high commendation or
publication. I am working on another which will be a great work, I know. I
follow closely in the footsteps of Mohammed Iqbal, with some elements of Edward
Arnold and Tennyson. I am quite popular and famous in many places and have two
homes awaiting me on my return. And if our American business deals go over, it
will still be greater. But I can’t help Pakistan by remaining here and
although I am taking the heart I don’t like it.
Senator Kuchel has acknowledged my brief on “How California. . .” And
the Pakistan Review here is yelling for articles from me. It is only with my
mail astray I write at random to whomsoever I think may have written to me. . .
I wish you all well, but the longer I remain away, the longer my stories when I
get back. But here is a secret: I am not getting older! People that miss me
even for six months notice this and my pictures show regression!
June 13, 1962
It is June 13. I have been waiting for a long time for the arrival of Abdul
Sattar who was Consul-General of Pakistan for a long time. His brother-in-law
Khalid is something of a problem here. I met an uncle of this young man this
morning who has also been disturbed about him. He does not fit here. It flashed
before me that he would fit fine at the Rudolph Schaeffer School. He is
absolutely an esthete in a land where “Fine Arts” seem to include anything
that is not a science—literature, philosophy, social studies, history but not
always painting, poetry and music. I know he longs for poetry and music but I
do not see them as careers. I have spoken to him about visiting Begum Selim
Khan. She is the widow of the first Consul-General of Pakistan to S.F. and has
decorated her house in a rather California style.
His family has the means to send him to American and that has been in his
heart. So I am going to speak to them about the School of Design. If anything
works out it could also be the means of sending examples of Pakistani folk art
to San Francisco. It is not my intention to make purchases until August, using
funds for travel and other purposes. On the other hand the more people I meet
here the less my expenses are although I have not calculated any budget.
I think I last wrote you how extremely satisfying my experiences had been in
Lahore. When I returned to Abbottabad the same social and psychological program
continued but not at such a high level. Now things are coming out for me as if
I had rediscovered “Lost Horizons” and I guess you may say this is so. But
neither that book nor “The Razor’s Edge” seem to effect the authors or
readers when they pass from fiction to fact.
I was amazed when I looked into the mirror yesterday that I appear somewhat
younger. I have been teaching boys various games of soft-ball. My body remains
quite lithe and on the whole fairly strong. Part of this I can readily account
for but the other part will not be so acceptable. We simply do not know about
Pakistan and we do not know about the spiritual side of Islam. All the top men
in this country are spiritual. The next spiritual teacher. I am expected to
meet is a teacher of electricity (physics and electrical engineering). He will
visit here next week. I am meeting more and more of types, the existence of
which is categorically denied in our universities, under the heel of Zionists
and Europeans. How we have come to accept Zionists and Europeans as authorities
on this part of the world is not only an enigma but a source of extreme
indignation and contempt. Lyndon Johnson about finished us when he came out for
reforms and forms of aid not requested and then boosted Nehru. It is not a
question of right-and-wrong; it is acquisition of diplomacy without any
fundamental information concerning the country you are visiting. And with the
type of men who briefed him—if he were briefed at all—nothing else could be
expected. WE do not know these people and they do not know us. When UNESCO met
in San Francisco for the theoretical purpose of bringing Americans and Asians
together that is exactly what was not done.
Kennedy says he learned from Khrushchev that the Russians have not been
responsible for all the anti-American outbreaks. Between “Mc-God-thur” in
Japan and our European authorities on Islam, we are not going to get people to
love us. Besides that the Americans who are here and know a few things, are
snubbed and utterly bypassed, are our best friends, the graduates from American
universities, nationals of Asia countries.
One does not know whether to take these things seriously or just sit by and
laugh. The more unsuccessful I am in communicating to the U.S. the more
successful I am here. My friends Qureshi has gone to Karachi to dispute of some
of the Mogul Jewelry. I failed to get any responses on this from S.F. It is not
the only thing and I am not the only one to be so received. It is fantastic the
way we choose-to-choose-from-whom we shall choose.
I hardly started this letter when I was interrupted. I am actually
Emerson’s mouse-trap inventor—the world does beat a path to my door. But
too many Americans love maxims, for quoting, not for fulfilling. This has been
particularly true of the last reports from both Lyndon Johnson and Edward R.
Murrow and the more they speak the more they infuriate. People do not want any
moral sentiments—excepting from themselves—of course. Everybody seems to
believe that self-praise (by whatever other name we call it) is the solution to
problems. And naturally everybody else is repelled by extraneous moral dictums,
maxims, etc. Either “we” say them or they are of no value.
I am standing the heat, the social occupations, and on the whole my creative
writing is fine when I get to it. But I have my tongue in my cheek. Unless
there is a great change in public sentiment here the arrival of the “Peace
Corps” is liable to start off a bunch of flares that will make some of the
earlier anti-American riots seem like child’s play. These can easily be
quelled, but not by any policies now in vogue. The way to meet people is to
meet people. To sit down and talk—and now in vogue. The way to meet people is
to meet people. To sit down and talk—and listen. Well, we have the
conferences, we establish the policies, and the Russians send in the
I am going to work for a real American-Pakistani cultural exchange plus some
tourism and other matters. The grapevine news is very unfavorable, but it is
not fundamental. We can still correct our errors by applying the jury system
abroad—the witness that was there would have much more effect than the big
people who were not.
July 3, 1962
My dear Willie
I hope this finds you well. I have received little news of late, but one
letter said my mother is reaching another low. This is goes on and on. I have
been asked by a spiritual teacher here to return and at least “pray for
her.” This may mean something more. For in the last two months doors have
opened for me in two fields which are related here but I do not know whether
they are fundamentally related:
a. Spiritual healing.
b. Leaf therapy.
So many thinks are given this first name and we begin with Christ and end
with Oral Roberts. The spiritual healing I have seen has been both most
effective and miraculous but the practitioners themselves belong to quite
different faiths and are totally unaware of the existence, much less the
successors of their fellows.
I myself have now seen the healing of two blind men and there are authentic
case histories of cures of deaf-and-dumb, cancer and TB, the last all having
hospital case- histories. More wonderful to me was the complete turnabout of
one of the most emphatic, self-willed philosophers into a humble, simple
man—accomplished in two hours.
I have been told that I have some of this power and have tried it within
limits and rather successful too. But I have not yet the faith of those who
have come to me for help. The only things evident are that I stand up under
this awful, endless heat; and do not seem to be aging.
I have received an appointment from the persons concerned to act as their
representative for the projected Islamabad University. Here, all the initial
steps have been quite successful. I have been encouraged no end by the new
Cultural Advisor here. I am afraid we understand each other only too well. A
graduate of one of our highest universities, Princeton, he was unable to get a
professorship because of our confounded “only in America” preference for
Europeans in Asiatica. I have been fighting hard on this but have not always
been believed. There is no move reason for us to turn to a Swede or German or
Englishman in Asiatica than to turn to a Japanese for South American culture.
The result is that there is a tremendous gap in mutual understanding.
Between these two factors—the Islamabad University and this Cultural
Attaché I find I am acting as a link with harmonious effects instead of being
pulled apart like I was in UAR. Actually, the spiritual teacher involved is the
guide of both the President and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court here and the
rest of the world cannot continually afford to close its eyes to facts. The
facts could be unwelcome, but they are still facts.
I shall return to work on my “How California can help Asia” and one book
in answer to
Koestler, then presumably leaf-research and other matters. So far as the
senatorial campaign is concerned I am satisfied beforehand but I have never
seen anything noble or high-minded in RN [Richard Nixon]. I also understand
there is a fierce fight as to the next Superintendent of Public instruction.
Elsewhere, I am particularly pleased with events in Canada and Algeria.
The Kashmir discussions show the futility of entering into sectors where
everybody used a different logic, if any at all. Special solutions for specific
diseases may be alright in medicine, but in politics they would become
unacceptable to people who really believe in any form of universal justice.
There are facts and factors here which, if I were to relate them would shock
people, actually shock them. But the authorities on “Asia” continue to be
European professors and American newspaper men, neither of which touch the
hearts or the persons of actual people.
The least shocking of present circumstances is that while Pakistan is
planning a tourist bureau for S.F. it is also planning to evict our
missionaries on the grounds they are carrying on “imperialistic”
propaganda. There are far more campaigns to stop the Christians from teaching
than to establish public schools.
Under such circumstance it is foolish for me to try anything too big. We are
about to waste many more millions here—and they will be wasted—on gigantic
engineering efforts which will not be maintained. The millions will be spent.
There will be grand éclat, no proper maintenance and the program will be
ineffective anyhow. Almost the entire Foreign service and nearly all the
technicians I have met stand against the waste of huge sums. But we will do
it—Republicans or Democrats, no difference. The Wall St. debacle is the
direct result of spending money for atomic research, space travel and immense
subsidies to corrupt governments abroad. The ECM nations spend their money for
durable goods. The end results are obvious. Russia and we are in a war of
attrition and even De Gaulle may come out on top.
All I can say here is that I have not had a single difficulty with a single
American on this continent for a long time. I have sent my reports to S.F. (and
Berkeley) and return with a renewed outlook and perhaps vitality. If there is
anything in spiritual healing I shall try that but I am making every
effort—through my attorney and medical doctors not to be caught in
malpractice. I have had nothing but trouble with metaphysical people and get
along fine with scientists. I am very much interested in the news of your
church and to me Linus Pauling stands near the top in everything. While
optimism seems high, I am still in a land of endless frustration and red
tape—so we shall see.
Expect to be back first week of August.