Buchman had spent much of the middle period of his life outside his own country. During his last twenty years, an era when America became progressively more dominant in world affairs, he spent more time based there, and was glad to do so, for he loved it deeply.
In the mid 1950s Buchman was critical of America's mentality vis à vis Russia and China. He did not believe that Communism was the right way for the world. But he feared the shallowness which was, he felt, making America redouble her military, political and material efforts without defining an alternative philosophy - and, above all, the complacency which made her unable to perceive the thoughts and feelings of other nations.
At a Moral Re-Armament assembly in Washington at the New Year, 1955, Buchman had listened to cabinet ministers, bankers, military and cultural leaders from Asia and Africa. What they told him convinced him the time was ripe for a new initiative on a world scale. The Bandung Conference of Afro-Asian states in April that year confirmed this conviction. The Foreign Minister of Iraq, Dr Fadhil Jamali, had spoken to Buchman in San Francisco in 1945 of a world caught 'between materialist revolution and materialist reaction', and now at Bandung, in the presence of Chou En-lai and Nehru, he said, 'We must work on the basis of moral re-armament, whereby men of all races and nations with clean hearts and with no rancour or hatred approach each other with humility, admit our own mistakes and work for mutual harmony and peace. The world would then turn into one integral camp, with no Eastern or Western camps.'1
With Jamali in Bandung were men whom Buchman had known: Prince (later King) Faisal of Saudi Arabia, who had also met him in San Francisco in 1945; Dr Abdel Khalek Hassouna, Secretary-General of the Arab League; El Azhari, Prime Minister of the Sudan, who had visited him in London; Dr Luang Vichien, Director-General of the Ministry of Culture of Thailand; Sir John Kotelawala, Prime Minister of Ceylon; U Nu, Prime Minister of Burma; Mohammed Ali, Prime Minister of Pakistan, and General Romulo, who became the Philippines' Ambassador to the US in 1955. It was of these men that Buchman was thinking as he planned.
Ole Bjørn Kraft, the former Danish Foreign Minister, had already proposed that he and nine other members or past members of European governments might go in a private capacity to talk with governments about Moral Re-Armament. When this proposal reached Buchman in Santa Barbara, California, he gathered a dozen of his friends. He felt the plan was good, but inadequate: he wanted to tackle the course of events more directly.
Peter Howard had been working on an idea for a full-scale musical play on the theme of a divided world. The group were quiet for a while. Then with great force Buchman said, 'We have got to reach a billion people in Asia. Let these men go there and let them take this play with them. Make it a "world mission".2 The play was not yet finished. The cast would be large. The venture would cost at least a quarter of a million dollars, of which none was in sight. Transport would be needed for two hundred people and much baggage. But the size of the project set people in motion. The European politicians accepted this expansion of their plans and joined in.
Howard's play, The Vanishing Island, portrayed two countries. One, the land of Eiluph'mei (I Love Me) had a faith but did not live it; she turned liberty into licence. The other, Weiheitu (We Hate You) had a faith which she lived fully and passionately - the drive and discipline of hate to conquer the world. The tone was one of sharp satire but also compassion, for it recognised the human roots of the conditions on each side. The aim was to show the futility of both 'materialist revolution' and 'materialist reaction' - taking up Jamali's alternatives at Bandung - and to put flesh and bones on the answering concept he expressed there. 'This play', wrote the author, 'is not, of course, the story of any one country. It is the story of every country and every human heart in the world today.'
Some of Buchman's Hollywood friends caught the idea of what he was aiming to do. Lewis Allen, the film director, cancelled engagements to produce the show. Herbert Weiskof trained the chorus, Nico Charisse gave them their choreography, Thomas Peluso sat up three nights running arranging the musical score, and Reginald Owen and Ivan Menzies offered to play leading parts without salary. Thomas Peluso said to the cast, 'This is the greatest thing I ever have done ... the most unique thing of my forty-two years as a conductor.'
The cast and public figures from various countries gathered at Mackinac Island in May 1955. During June, July and August 244 people of twenty-eight nationalities were to visit eighteen countries on four continents. In eleven countries they were to be government guests. Asia and Africa were to be the first continents visited. But preliminary showings were given in the National Theater in Washington, each performance concluded by brief speeches from the national spokesmen. One of the most effective of these was Mohammed Masmoudi. Now a member of the Tunisian Cabinet, he stood with the French Secretary of State for Air in the Mendès-France Government, Diomède Catroux, and said, 'Without Moral Re-Armament, we would be involved today in Tunisia in a war to the death against France ... Tunisia would now be a second Indo-China.'3
Some others who took part in the Mission are worth listing, as they indicate the calibre of those Buchman expected to 'remake the world' with him, and many were his personal friends. William Nkomo, the founder and first President of the African National Congress Youth League, went from South Africa; the Tolon Na, then a Member of Parliament, from Ghana; and Basil Okwu, a member of the Eastern Region House of Assembly, from Nigeria. James Haworth and Lady Dollan, recent members of the British Labour Party National Executive, went with a group of senior British servicemen including Air Vice-Marshal T. C. Traill, Rear-Admiral Sir Edward Cochrane, Rear-Admiral 0. W. Phillips and Major-General G. 0. De R. Channer. Ole Bjørn Kraft, Danish Foreign Minister from 1950 to 1953 and Chairman of NATO during his last year of office, Dr Oskar Leimgruber, a recent Chancellor of the Swiss Confederation, and Eugène Claudius-Petit, a member of ten post-war French governments, were among the politicians from the continent of Europe. Major Kahi Harawira represented the Maori people of New Zealand, and Majid Movaghar, a newspaper publisher, represented the Shah of Iran. From Japan came Kanju Kato, the post-war Minister of Labour, with his wife, Shidzue, who was a Senator, both senior members of the Socialist party, and Niro Hoshijima, a Member of the Diet; and from Taiwan, Daniel Lew, technical counsellor to the Chinese UN delegation. Charles Deane, a Congressman from North Carolina, was among the Americans on the Mission.
The World Mission was launched. One important factor, however, was lacking: the transport to carry the Mission round the world. Charter planes were elusive and costly. In the audience in Washington was the chairman of an airline flying charter planes for the United States government, ferrying soldiers from Japan. His planes went empty from the States, and, if official permission were given, would be available. A group of Congressional leaders sought an emergency meeting with the Secretary of the Army, and while the cast were giving one last performance in Los Angeles word was flashed to them that the planes were freed and the whole party could take off on schedule. The chairman of the airline himself settled the bill for the planes as far as Tokyo. Faith - severely tested up to the last moment - was justified.
Meanwhile, in Washington, a counter-attack developed. At the first performance, a 'government investigator', armed with a tape recorder, had made recordings of certain sections of the musical, from which isolated quotations were distributed to various Members of Congress. Taken out of context these seemed to show that the play was a damaging attack upon 'American democracy' and had 'pro-Communist' leanings. A portrayal of a visit from a dictator to the free world was considered preposterous (this was before Krushchev, with his shoe-banging tactics, visited the United States). A reference to stuffing ballot-boxes, and a presentation of business men 'busy with their business' in a society cheerfully unaware of its own irrelevance, were taken to be an exclusive attack upon America - though other countries later visited equally thought they were being depicted. A chorus of journalists, for whom everything negative was 'news' and everything positive 'propaganda', was resented by some of the press. The chief offence of the play was that it was, as events proved, only too prophetic. But the rumour that it was 'pro-Communist' spread among highly placed members of the Eisenhower administration who had not themselves seen it.
When the World Mission arrived a few days later in Japan there was a coolness in Americans' reception of the play which contrasted with the enthusiasm of local audiences. A chance conversation revealed that a telegram from the State Department had been sent to all Embassies on the route of the Mission stating that the play 'ridiculed Western democracy, emphasized neutralism and represented an overall gain for the Soviet concept'.
Enquiries showed that the telegram had been signed with Secretary of State Dulles's initials, as were many other communications from his office which he had not personally seen. But before the people actually responsible for the drafting and sending of the directive were identified, a further major storm blew up in Washington. Other Senators and Congressmen, convinced of the value of the World Mission, requested the use of three American Military Air Transport Service planes to carry the group from Manila to Geneva - a two-month journey carefully planned, paid for by Moral Re-Armament at the approved charter rate. The planes were made available, but Time magazine attacked this move, and some Washington newspapers gave public utterance to the private gossip that The Vanishing Island was 'pro-Communist'.4
When an attempt was made from the same quarters in Washington to prevent the Cairo-Nairobi leg of the journey, Admiral Byrd intervened to have the extension approved. Later, on the return of the Mission, he went over the sequence of events. Kenaston Twitchell wrote Buchman, who had been directing the Washington battle from the West Coast, that 'Byrd checked up on information about the cable and intimated that it had been sent by the State Department forty-eight hours after the force left. He was deeply disturbed by the fact that the only opposition, in addition to that from the Communists, was from American Consulates and Embassies.5 Byrd also confirmed that the 'government' investigator at the Washington performance was operating unofficially and not under his own name;* and that the man who had drafted the State Department message had given false information about Moral Re-Armament to a leading Congressman.
(* Several years later the investigator wrote a letter of apology to Peter Howard saying that he had been 'sold a bill of goods' about Moral Re-Armament and regretted very much having misrepresented it. (Martin M.SS.)
Meanwhile the World Mission had been moving from country to country, first through Asia, then to East Africa. In Taiwan, Peter Howard upset American officials by speaking on the radio about the wrongs inflicted on China by the West, as well as the wrongs of Peking; in Madras an extremist group tried to stop the American planes from landing as violating India's neutrality, but a stronger body of Indian opinion insisted on welcoming the Mission; in Cairo the orders from Washington withdrawing the planes' further use were awaiting them, and it took Herbert Hoover Jr as well as Byrd to get them rescinded. But in Rangoon one Asian Ambassador stated publicly, 'I have looked down on the West with contempt. I thought the West with the hydrogen bomb was drawing us all to destruction ... When I saw The Vanishing Island and saw ... all the nations on the stage - particularly the Americans - all my prejudices vanished and my bitterness for the West went with them.'6
Russian diplomats on the route were just as disturbed as the Americans. The Russian First Secretary in Cairo felt the second act was an attack on the Soviets, but added, 'The future is either your way or our way. I don't believe you will ever change the motive of a capitalist, but I appreciate how strongly you believe you are doing it.'
What they felt to be a one-sided reporting of the journey in the United States press prompted a group of American business men to buy space in Time magazine and in daily newspapers to supplement and correct their stories. This inaugurated a stream of pages in the next years which appeared, sometimes as the gift of the newspaper, but more often paid for by individuals in different cities, and which were soon copied in other lands. These carried the news at a time when some sections of the press were adopting a boycott. Sir Beverley Baxter, MP, took up this point in his review of The Vanishing Island when it came to London: 'Apparently only two London newspapers saw fit to record this event,' he wrote. 'The long-established boycott continues. In my opinion this was not good journalism. If a musical comedy is presented in London, no matter from what source, the drama critics should have reported on its qualities. If, in the view of Fleet Street, the show was propaganda, it could still be dealt with on its professional merits, which were many. And why should not Dr Buchman use the theatre for propaganda? Bernard Shaw never did it for anything else, and Shakespeare was by no means guiltless of the charge.'7
Caux, when the World Mission arrived there, was at full stretch with 931 people from thirty-seven nations attending the assembly at the time. Buchman, who had seen the Mission off from Mackinac Island, had followed their reports with intense interest and moved to Europe to greet them on their arrival at Caux. He had not been surprised at the attempts made to prevent the completion of the task. 'This backwash is to be expected. It is an expression of our materialistic philosophy and we have to accept it. But that is America!' he commented sadly.
Immediately afterwards, in early September, Buchman left for Italy where he spent the autumn, while The Vanishing Island was played first in the main Swiss cities and then, during November and December, in the four Scandinavian capitals. In Helsinki, U Nu, who had just come from Moscow, accompanied President Kekkonen to the show and at the first night in Stockholm, the King, who was present with Prime Minister Erlander, led a standing ovation in the packed Royal Opera House. Then the cast followed Buchman to Italy, giving their first performance there on 27 December in Sesto San Giovanni, a Communist-dominated suburb of Milan. They were accompanied by the African cast of Freedom, and in the front row at their performance sat the Communist mayor and his council.
One unexpected result was that Luigi Rossi, the proprietor of the local Communist paper, apologised to the priest in charge of the Sesto parish, whom he had maligned, and found his way back to his faith.8 Monsignor Montini, who had recently become Archbishop of Milan, had, on arrival, paid special attention to the Communist strongholds in and around the city, and he was kept informed of these developments. On New Year's Day 1956, when he celebrated the solemn mass in Milan Cathedral, Buchman was invited to sit in the choir while his two hundred colleagues were given front row seats in the nave. Montini referred to them in his homily, and received Buchman and a few of his friends in the courtyard of his palace after the ceremony.
Buchman, meanwhile, was about to set out for Australia. He had received an invitation from five Melbourne-based politicians, headed by the Federal Minister of the Interior, Sir Wilfrid Kent-Hughes, whom he had last met in 1921 in Loudon Hamilton's rooms in Oxford. He took with him some thirty people, including Hamilton; George West, who had been Bishop of Rangoon; Colonel Malise Hore-Ruthven, brother of the previous Governor-General of Australia, and his family; Bunny and Phyllis Austin; the three Colwell Brothers from America with their western songs; Paul Campbell, Jim Baynard-Smith, and Prince Richard of Hesse, whom he had invited to go with him to Australia thirty years before, but who had then been unable, or unwilling, to go.
The party sailed on 5 January 1956 from Genoa in an Italian emigrant ship. The first stop was Palermo, where hundreds of Sicilians on their way to cut sugar cane in Queensland came on board. The captain was a cavalier type, fiercely proud and patriotic. When the ship passed Italian Somaliland, the only remaining Italian colony, he was determined that his international visitors should see the forts still manned by Italian troops, and took the ship so close in that he had to do a ninety-degree turn at the last minute to avoid the rocks. 'We could see the sharks swimming around, as he ran up flags, hooted and sent signals,' says Baynard-Smith.
Two weeks later, as they neared Perth, where the captain knew that Buchman had engagements planned, a fog descended. Should he proceed at eighteen knots with the fog-horn blasting every ten seconds, or play safe and have Buchman miss his appointments? He chose the former. 'It was a calculated risk,' he told Baynard-Smith, 'but I knew it was right to get Dr Buchman in on time.'
'Frank hugely enjoyed the ship and the reckless foibles of the captain,' adds Baynard-Smith. A week later, however, on arrival in Melbourne, the confidence of some of the party was somewhat shaken. After they had disembarked the Australian authorities called for a life-boat inspection and exercise. The signal was given - and every life-boat except one was rusted to the davits and would not move. The one which did reach the water promptly sank.
Buchman was given an enthusiastic welcome. But the temperature in Perth on his arrival was 105 degrees and his Australian friends kept apologising to him about it. 'I haven't come all this way to talk about the weather!' he finally burst out. He talked later of 'the easy-going, pleasure-loving nature of the people. Don't spare yourselves, your health or anything else. The hour is late indeed.' 'Australia's heart is sound,' he added, 'it is only overgrown with indiscipline.'
He did not spare himself. He was often unwell and in pain on this trip, and his friends were alarmed to see that his eyesight was failing, 'I'm dimming out,' he told George Wood, whom he had taken to Canada when he was eighteen and who was now living in Melbourne. It was first noticed here that Buchman increasingly formed his assessment of people by their voices.
This assessment was too discerning by half for the comfort of one Australian. After a reception given for him Buchman asked this young man whether he knew a certain public figure, who had been present and had been flirting rather outrageously. 'When I said I did,' this Australian writes, 'he asked me whether I prayed for the man and whether I would like to do so now. We did. Then Frank suggested that, although it was quite a late hour, I should go and see this man and bring him an answer to his problem, adding, "If I were him, I would be lying awake hoping somebody would come to help me." While I thought this was an unlikely scenario, I went to see him, on the strength of Frank's faith. I was not much surprised when it turned out to be a stormy session and I was shown the door. Two days later, however, the man invited me to lunch and was completely honest about the flirtation which Frank had noticed. That talk freed him and led to years of happy marriage and effective service to the country. Frank was not in the least surprised at the eventually happy outcome of his suggestion.'
Buchman only stayed ten days in Melbourne. There seems to have been some misunderstanding with those who asked him there as to what he had in mind. 'They had thought they were going to be witnesses to some kind of evangelistic crusade and were quite upset at Buchman's sudden departure for Canberra,' says James Coulter, the man who had planned the invitation. 'Actually he was quite unwell, and Melbourne did not suit him. Buchman just said, "Let's go to Canberra."'
'Buchman did not seek to meet politicians,' according to one Canberra journalist, 'but his door was open. He was not success-orientated in any way. If he had been he'd have lowered the hurdles, made it easier.'9 He in fact saw Dr Evatt, the leader of the Opposition, the Speaker and numerous MPs including Kim Beazley, who had been at Caux in 1953 and was to become a reforming Labour Minister of Education. He was warmly received by the Governor-General, Field Marshal Sir William Slim, who remembered an MRA visit to the Imperial Defence College in Britain. Prime Minister Menzies was not interested to meet him.
Though Buchman was sleeping in a hotel he made his Canberra base with four up-and-coming young men, two journalists and two government employees, who lived together in a quiet suburban bungalow. They attended one of Buchman's first gatherings in the capital and Buchman got them talking. According to one of them, John Farqhuarson, then a reporter with a national news agency, his first question was what they felt about each other. 'Having told him quite honestly, we found we had established a new relationship between each other, and I was deputed to ask him to a meal in our establishment. He replied, "Why, I'd be delighted. Thank you very much."'
The other journalist, Peter Barnett, then political correspondent of The West Australian, says of that first meeting, 'I can never forget the feeling of peace that filled the room that morning, like light.' The quartet, he recalls, regarded their invitation to lunch as something of a risk. 'The dining room was small; the house was clean but none too tidy; and in the kitchen we had a funny old electric stove and the oven door wouldn't stay shut. Frank arrived. And with him were eight people. We were astounded to see so many in our small dining-room - in fact the guests had to walk sideways to get to their places. Frank enjoyed himself immensely. So much so that for the next six weeks he came at least once a day to our home for a meal.
'His tastes were simple, and just as well because the kitchen stove wouldn't have coped with anything difficult. Frank's diet was more or less standard - corn soup, roast lamb with mint jelly, and a milky rice pudding, finishing off with Earl Grey tea. During these days our home was used to entertain some of the most distinguished people in the national capital. Fortunately an American lady travelling with Frank came in and helped to cook.'
Farquharson's mother was staying with them at the time, a shy person who felt her place was in the kitchen. Buchman insisted that she sat at his right at table, says Barnett. 'In a few minutes she was relaxed, and she and Frank were talking like old friends.'
'These were the most privileged days of our lives,' Barnett reflected years later when he was the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's correspondent in Washington. 'We got to know Frank as a man. He was a gentle, affectionate, humorous father to us all. No matter how he felt, what time of the day it was, he was always the same. He radiated a joyous peace. The harsh Australian light affected his eyes. But whether in pain or not, Frank was always quietly happy. Though he was partly paralysed, he fed himself, with his superb, expressive, sensitive long fingers. He never assumed he was boss, but always behaved as a guest in the house.'
'We found him fascinating,' writes Oliver Warin, a government geologist. 'What would he say next? He was utterly unpredictable and possessed of a great sense of fun. When someone reminded him of an incident from the previous day he said, "I know. I woke up laughing about that this morning." He was also simply a very interesting person; he had done so much, been to so many places, and had met and talked deep and long with so many people.'
'One evening and a follow-up the next day I particularly remember,' continues Warin. 'Frank spoke of someone he was seeing that evening and invited his dinner guests to go along. He did not particularly invite me and I didn't go, nor feel left out. To tell you the truth, I commonly thought of myself as something of an also-ran in Frank's sort of company . . . Next day I got a call at the office. Could I possibly get away to lunch with Frank? When I got home Frank, who one always felt was such a robust, impish, vital spirit held captive in a frail body, was bobbing about on the front step waiting to greet me. "I am so sorry I did not invite you to join me last evening," he said. "And I just want you to know that I am the kind of fellow who makes those kind of mistakes."'10
The fourth of the quartet, Allan Griffith, was a junior member of the Prime Minister's office. One day Buchman came in to find his hosts in conversation. 'How are things?' he asked. 'Fine,' said one. 'Fine be damned,' said Griffith. 'We've just had a monumental row.' Buchman was much amused. 'You needn't think I didn't know,' he said, and it was all dissolved in laughter.
Griffith remembers best that Buchman was constantly thinking into the future. The racial discrimination in the Southern states of America was much on his mind. 'People want me to go there, but it isn't the time yet,' he told Griffith. 'I haven't the right means of going or the right people or weapons to take.' 'He was always wrestling with situations all over the world, as well as living intensely in the present,' says Griffith.
'I'd say he's the most impressive man I've met,' said Barnett in his office in Washington. 'He was a sick, weak old man, but he had tremendous inner strength and spiritual undergirding. I've rarely seen anyone at such an age with such courage and discipline, with such a combination of compassion and almost ruthlessness against anything which prevented the progress of God's work as he saw it. He could be very tough with his experienced team. Sometimes I have seen them stunned by the fire of his wrath. There was no sense of continuing petulance. It was an instant flame and then it was over. And above it all was his abounding sense of humour and his kindly, but outrageous, leg-pulling.'
'And then came my last day in Canberra,' Barnett concluded. 'Before lunch the last day he spoke to me like a father. "What you need is a faith," he told me. "Faint not nor fear, faint not nor fear." Then with a twinkle in his eye he mimicked an old man with a high shaky voice and added, "You'll have this until you're an old man like me and your legs won't carry you any more and they take you off to the grave!"
'After lunch, I walked slowly with him across the lawn, in the brilliant sunshine of a golden autumn day, to the car waiting at the kerb. Half-way across, he stopped and his face was radiantly happy - an image for ever etched in my mind. And then he laughed freely like a boy, and said, "My, Peter, hasn't it been fun!" At seventy-seven that's what life was for him, and it's just what he made it for the four of us who got to know him for the first time.'
Farquharson said that all four of them had had a faith before Buchman came. 'Through his visit', he says, 'we saw how it could be applied in our work and in the formulation of policy.'
Buchman's own evaluation was, 'So much has taken place in Canberra that will never be undone.' Certainly it was true of these young men, who all went on to take large responsibilities. Barnett, at the time of writing, is head of Radio Australia, the country's overseas broadcasting network; Farquharson is Associate Editor of the Canberra Times; Warin is Director of Exploration for the Utah Company based in San Francisco and an internationally known geologist; while Griffith spent thirty-one years in the Prime Minister's department till his retirement in 1982. When Griffith retired the Sydney Morning Herald headed a half-page appraisal, 'Griffo's going: Fraser loses a third leg'. Describing him as 'an untidy dresser with an immaculately tidy intellect' who 'manages to get on with people who can't get on with each other', the article named him as 'the anonymous power behind Australia's biggest policy thrusts'.11
During the whole Australian trip, and in New Zealand which was his next stop, Buchman was much troubled over the growing crisis in the Middle East. In Perth he had heard of the death of El Glaoui and cabled Abdessadeq, 'Deeply grieved. Your father's recent historic reconciliations were his most significant acts of statesmanship, turning the key for his country and opening new chapters on Morocco's nationhood. Loving messages to your brothers Mohamed, Abdullah and Ahmed.'12
The knowledge, from his personal contact with North Africa, that there was a ready response from the Muslim world on a basis of moral values, created in Buchman a growing uneasiness about the attitude of Western politicians at this time. Six months before the disastrous Franco-British expedition to the Suez Canal, he remarked, 'Eden and company don't know how to handle people so they have to try and get rid of them. This makes martyrs of them and inflames a nation's feelings.' One day he said that he sometimes imagined a Muslim leader rising from prayer and having to say to himself, 'Communism wants to take over my country to make the world different. America wants to buy my country to enable her to stay as she is.' His own hope was that the Muslim countries should become 'a belt of sanity to bind East and West and bring moral rebirth'. To Baynard-Smith he added, 'If Britain and America were to defeat Communism today, the world would be in a worse state than it is. Because the other man is wrong doesn't make me right.'
On arrival in New Zealand he was touched to hear that Sir Willoughby Norris, the Governor-General, had rung up personally to ask whether he would like to bring his party to tea. Among politicians he got to know best the Minister of Agriculture, Keith Holyoake, who was to become Prime Minister in 1960. He also spent time with the Maori people, and as the guest of King Koroki at Ngaruawahia he challenged the Maori people to become spokesmen for New Zealand. Seldom in his lifetime or afterwards did a major Moral Re-Armament force travel anywhere in the world without Maori representation.
Christchurch, when he visited it, was full of self-righteous comment about a sensational trial in which two girls had been sentenced to imprisonment for the murder of the mother of one of them, who had tried to break up their lesbian attachment. One girl was the daughter of a university president; the mother had been head of the local marriage guidance council and was separated from her husband. One afternoon Buchman disappeared from the house where he was staying. He came back late, thoughtful and silent. He had asked to be driven to the prison where the girls had originally been detained, and had sat outside in the car. 'I was so tired of all the gossip about them from people who had done nothing to help; it came to me that I could go and pray for them,' he said. Next day he sent a married couple who were travelling with him to Wellington to see the Chief of Prisons, who gave permission for them to visit one of the girls who had been moved to Auckland. This and other visits, together with the fact that Buchman had cared enough to pray for her outside the prison, finally led to the restoration of faith and hope in the girl, who was released not long afterwards and took up useful work in life.
It was while in Christchurch that Buchman made a startling alteration in his plans. On arrival in New Zealand he had announced, to the dismay of some of his companions, that he was going to stay in the area for two years. This may have been a device, conscious or unconscious, to get them to take the kind of responsibility there which they would expect to take in their own countries. One afternoon while resting, however, after only two weeks in the country, he was startled by the thought: 'Hell is breaking loose in Britain. Your whole work will be demolished unless you are at the helm. Hurry, hurry back.'
What prompted this thought we do not know. According to Campbell, Buchman was disturbed that the reports he received from The Vanishing Island tour concentrated on speeches and crowds and said little of changes in people. It does seem likely, from odd notes, that he had the sense that the cast of the musical, who had so brilliantly concluded their round-the-world mission, were becoming preoccupied with public success and neglecting the needs of individual people, to the point of arrogance. He evidently feared that in particular this would mean another clash with Peter Howard, who, in the years since their reconciliation in Caux, had become his most trusted colleague and one whom he held responsible for the conduct of those with him. 'No appeasement. The selflessness to live without another's approval. Care enough to clash,' run some of his thoughts at the time. 'I want to live as nearly as possible the way He said,' he noted a few days later. 'Thirty-three years from cradle to Cross, and not one moment wasted on self.'
Buchman did not go straight back to Britain, but decided to pay shortened visits to Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand and Burma. He may have thought that he could thereby supplement what The Vanishing Island had achieved in these countries by spending time with certain individuals. He cabled his prospective hosts, revising his plans, and within a fortnight was in Tokyo.
The week in Tokyo was a tumultuous series of engagements with individuals and groups of all kinds. Some six hundred Japanese from all walks of life had attended assemblies in Caux or Mackinac since that first party seven years before and they wanted to see Buchman and have him meet their friends. At the airport alone a couple of hundred were waiting, including leaders from the chief political parties, who had come from a violent debate but seemed strangely at one in Buchman's presence. At the ninety-minute press conference, indeed, when Buchman mentioned that in one parliament he had visited recently an opposition leader had called the Prime Minister a 'quack', 'a slight shock seemed to shake' the Socialist Senator Togano and the Prime Minister's daughter, Mrs Furusawa, who were standing one each side of him. Amid some laughter, the Senator then told how he had said much the same about Prime Minister Hatoyama recently and that he now regretted it.
The next day was supposed to be a rest day for Buchman. But, after an official lunch, a series of individuals arrived seeking personal talks - first Taizo Ishizaka, head of the Toshiba company, whom Buchman congratulated on his economic leadership, adding, 'In the clamour of business you must take time to ponder deeper issues, to give the moral and spiritual emphasis without which we shall never meet our countries', or our families', needs.'
'I am just like the "busy, busy business men" in The Vanishing Island,' Ishizaka replied, 'always thinking of the next thing I must do, and that is wrong.'* He was followed by the President of Toyo Rayon, the editor of Mainichi, and the Governor of the Bank of Japan.
(* Under Ishizaka, Toshiba was a pioneer of Japan's economic miracle. Entwistle describes the role of management and trade unionists influenced by Moral Re-Armament in creating the improved industrial relations within Toshiba and other electrical firms, as well as the textile, shipbuilding and steel industries, which was an important factor in this recovery. In a foreword to the book, Toshiwo Doko, Honorary Chairman of the Keidanren, the Japanese Federation of Economic Organisations, writes, 'Moral Re- Armament helped the political, financial and labour leadership of Japan to realise that a sound society must be based on universal moral standards. As President of Ishikawajima Harima Heavy Industries I had personal experience of a full scale change brought to the company through this influence.' (Entwistle, Japan’s Decisive Decade, xv.)
There were receptions by the Governor of Tokyo and Finance Minister Ichimada, and then leaders of the Seinendan, a four-million-strong youth organisation, called on Buchman. He asked them to come to Mackinac next summer.
On the fifth day, the Emperor's birthday, Buchman and all his team took breakfast with the Prime Minister and a flock of his children and grandchildren. Like Buchman he moved with difficulty after a stroke but did not allow it to interfere with his activity or good humour. He thanked Buchman particularly for what Moral Re-Armament had done for his daughter and her husband. He had been asked to write for the Japanese edition of the Reader's Digest in the series 'The most unforgettable man I have known'. In it he described Buchman's visit, ending with the words, 'We Japanese must not betray his conviction that Japan can be the lighthouse and the powerhouse of Asia. As I face the scene in the Diet I cannot but long that the spirit of MRA would permeate the lives of every single member. When the people of Japan and of the world live the spirit of MRA real peace will come.'13
When Buchman appeared in the distinguished visitors' gallery of the Upper House two days later he was accorded an ovation, which apparently had never been previously given to anyone other than a state guest or a senior parliamentarian. Passing on to the Lower House he found a bitter fight in progress. The Government was trying to press through an electoral reform bill which the Socialists thought would deprive them of fifty seats. The Socialists had already forced two all-night sessions and were planning to use the next day, which happened to be 1 May, to create riots in the streets. The Conservatives, meanwhile, were thinking of using police powers inside the Diet, a move reminiscent of the old repressive days.
Over luncheon and at a packed meeting afterwards, Buchman brought a mood of gaiety and relaxation into this heavily-charged situation. The senior members of the two main parties, Niro Hoshijima and Tetsu Katayama, both of whom knew Buchman well, welcomed him, each stressing the timeliness of his visit. 'To welcome this man of peace at this moment of crisis gives me hope that we shall find an answer to the deadlock between our parties,' said Katayama, the former Socialist Prime Minister. Buchman then told in colourful detail the stories of the recent reconciliations in Tunisia and Morocco. That evening, at a meeting elsewhere in Tokyo, Hoshijima suddenly mounted the platform and announced that he had just come from the Diet where a special meeting between the parties had agreed that the offensive Bill should be sent back to committee. 'Violence has been averted and we owe it to Dr Buchman,' he said, a verdict soon endorsed by Socialist Senators Togano and Kato.
When Minister of Finance Ichimada and Hoshijima had first heard of Buchman's intended visit they felt that the country should honour him, and that the appropriate decoration would be the Order of the Rising Sun, First Class, which was seldom awarded. When this decoration was given to a foreigner, three bodies were involved - the Cabinet, the Ministry of the Imperial Household, and the appropriate embassy. With the Prime and Foreign Ministers and other colleagues convinced of Buchman's importance to their nation, they encountered no difficulty with the Cabinet or the Imperial Household. To their astonishment, they met bitter and determined resistance from the American Ambassador, who, echoing the cable from Washington at the time of The Vanishing Island, stated that Moral Re-Armament followed the Communist Party line, and that Buchman was a self-seeker who was persona non grata at the Embassy. Before a delegation of Senators he maintained this attitude. In face of this opposition some of the more cautious members of the Cabinet, mindful of the need to maintain goodwill with their powerful American ally, wanted to draw back, but Ichimada let fly at such hypocrisy. 'You all know Buchman deserves this honour,' he declared, pouring scorn on their timidity. In the end Buchman was awarded the honour - Second Class, since protocol prevented bestowing the first degree without ambassadorial recommendation.
In Taiwan he received a decoration and saw many old friends of forty years before. They sped him on his way to Manila. Here he made the acquaintance of President Magsaysay. At breakfast in the Malacañang Palace Buchman said only one sentence, conveying to Magsaysay the greetings of Monsignor Paul Yu-pin, Archbishop of Nanking. For the rest he let the different personalities with him make their impact. Magsaysay remarked later to his aide, Major Palaypay, 'I have just met a unique and fascinating group of people, that has brought us answers instead of loading us down with problems.' Palaypay visited Mackinac the following summer and experienced a profound change of attitude towards the Japanese, who had condemned him to death during the war. When Prime Minister Kishi visited Manila in December 1957 Palaypay was assigned as his aide by President Garcia, who had succeeded after Magsaysay's death in March in a plane disaster.14
In Vietnam Buchman was received by President Ngo Dinh Diem and his Cabinet. The war between North and South was in its early stages, but the basic dilemma of Western intervention was already evident. The President was much interested in Moral Re-Armament's approach to his people. 'The people of Asia can welcome Moral Re-Armament only with enthusiasm, as for a long time they have been awaiting from the West a change of heart,' he said. To Buchman personally he said, 'When faith and hope pass away, love will always remain and for that I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.'15
In Thailand Prime Minister Pibulsonggram, who had been in Caux, was Buchman's host and conferred a decoration upon him in the name of the King. Buchman also met the Foreign Minister, Prince Wan, then President of the Assembly of the United Nations.
In Burma Prime Minister U Nu flew down from the hills to Rangoon to save his guest the difficult trip to him. It was the month of the twenty-five-hundredth anniversary of the enlightenment of the Buddha.
'This new era', said Buchman, 'can open a door to a new world. . . Every man can be illumined by God.' Then Buchman spoke of the guidance he had had to take this journey.
U Nu commented, 'And you heard it clearly?'
'Why, yes,' said Buchman. 'I wrote it down. God gave a man two ears and one mouth; why don't we listen twice as much as we talk?'
U Nu told how he had just once had a similar experience - on a matter concerning his family - and of his longing to find some way of finding such direction for his wider responsibilities. Joining in this long conversation was U Nu's right-hand, U Thant, later Secretary General of the United Nations.
Buchman flew to Rome, from where he travelled by train. In Milan there was an eleven-minute interval between trains, and there occurred what Buchman called 'the most wonderful thing that I saw in the whole trip'. A group of his friends had come to meet him, among them a one-legged Communist revolutionary called Rolanda Biotello, who had been in Caux and whose life had changed. Buchman immediately asked her about her brother, Remo, a Communist leader of the tramway workers of Milan.
'Why, he's here,' she said.
Buchman, putting his arm round Remo, saw that he was a very sick man. But he had come to tell Buchman he had married his wife in church the day before. She was a Roman Catholic and had always begged him to marry her. When Remo died, two months later, Buchman was in Caux and had Mass said for him in the Catholic chapel there.
In London, too, Buchman received his fourth decoration of the tour, this time from the Philippines Government. While appreciating the spirit behind these honours, he commented wryly, 'They certainly weigh me down.'
Back in London Buchman's emphasis, according to Campbell, was 'to restore a commitment to the changing of individuals as the primary expression of Moral Re-Armament'. Roland Wilson writes, 'It was at this time that Buchman dealt faithfully with my own sense of satisfaction at large-scale results. I went to his room and described to him the theatre queues for The Vanishing Island and the enthusiastic response. "Yes," he said "that is a good reconnaissance work. But remember our work is founded on the handful of men with whom I spent seven years at Penn State.'"16
1 Afro-American, 26 April 1955.
2 Peter Howard: An Idea to Win the World (Blandford, 195 5), pp. 18-19. The detailed story of the preparations and journey of the 'World Mission' is told in this book.
3 Mottu, p. 132.
4 Martin MSS.
5 H. K. Twitchell to Buchman, 8 October 1955.
6 Howard, AnIdea to Win the World, p. 52.
7 Everybody's Weekly, London, 16 June 1956.
8 Rossi tells the full story in Marcel, Fresh Hope for the World, pp. 74-9.
9 John Farquharson.
10 Oliver N. Warin to author, 4 January 1984.
11 Sydney Morning Herald, 16 January 1984.
12 James Baynard-Smith's notes on the tour.
13 Reader's Digest, Japan, May 1956.
14 Frank Buchman - Eighty, pp. 141-6.
15 Martin diaries, 7 May 1956.
16 Wilson to author, 21 January 1985.