The sunrise at Campobello Island was shrouded in heavy fog, obscuring the view of Passamaquoddy Bay and, just beyond, the Maine seacoast town of Eastport.
A year-round resident of the island, who knew the weather's habits, stood on the terrace of his old, white frame house speaking between thin wails of a distant foghorn. "It should burn off by noon," he said.
It did, as predicted, just as delegates to the second International Conference on Peace and Human Rights began to arrive at the Roosevelt Campobello International Park, 2,600 peaceful acres at the south end of the island that is part of the Canadian Province of New Brunswick
The three-day conference -- sponsored late last month by industralist Armand Hammer for members of the International Institute of Human Rights, an organization founded 10 years ago in Strasbourg, France -- attracted about 50 delegates and observers from 21 nations.
Visitors included two Nobel peace laureates, Sean MacBride, 75, of Ireland and Lord Noel-Baker, 90, of Great Britain, Richard Hatfield, premier of New Brunswick; Austrian minister of foreign affairs W. P. Pahr; Sen. Jennings Randolph (D-W.Va.) and one most familiar with the surroundings, James Roosevelt, 71, a business consultant in California and the oldest son of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
F.D.R. spent his summers at Campobello on land purchased by his father, James, a railroad magnate, in the early 1880s. Hammer bought the Roosevelt cottage from FDR.'s son Elliott in 1952, restoring it in fine detail. He donated the site in 1964 to both the Canadian and U.S. governments to be operated jointly as the only international park of its kind.
Sean MacBride had already set the mood of the conference, asking for a worldwide moratorium on weapons development, when Roosevelt, looking tanned and handsome, arrived to address the group. He walked up a path with a slight limp, his right leg having recently been operated on.
He was greeted by a hurrying, white-haired Linnea Calder, 88, a lifelong native of the island and a daughter of the woman who served as the Roosevelts' housekeeper. In her youth, Linnea was a washerwoman, later working her way up to her mother's job. Slightly stooped at the shoulders, but with a strong body from the Spartan island life, she still works at the park and ran the kitchen during the conference.
Bound by their many memories, Roosevelt and Calder embraced warmly.
Then a group, led by Hammer, took off for a short walk to the Roosevelt home, where James was delighted to see its restoration and mused, "I'll never know why they called it a cottage -- 32 rooms, a cottage?"
"It was pretty run down," said Hammer upon returning to Campobello for the first time in 15 years. "I had a new roof put on, a lot of carpentry, new plumbing and I put electricity in. They never had electricity, and no telephone until 1933."
Inside, Roosevelt pointed out a vintage phonograph and said, "I used to listen to Caruso on that, and mother tried to learn Spanish from records but could never work it."
In a large, sunny living room overlooking a back lawn of glorious flowers that sweep down to the bay, Roosevelt sat alongside Calder, facing Hammer, and reminisced.
Pointing to a five-foot megaphone standing next to the wall he said, "That used to hang from a chain on the back porch and mother used it to call us to the house."
Everything reminded him of something and motioning toward the bay through the wide picture window he said with a laugh, "Father wanted to build his own swimming pool down there.
"He worked very hard, had it dug up, but really never had all the time it would take. It was sort of a challenge and a sore spot for some time, and quietly one day, with very little mention, it was filled in."
He told about his father's ability as a yachtsman. "When he was under secretary of the Navy, he came to Campobello on a high-speed destroyer. When they approached the dangerous narrows, the young lieutenant in charge objected to turning the responsibility over to father, who took the helm and expertly steamed through the narrows.
"The lieutenant became Admiral 'Bull' Halsey."
In a more somber mood, he recalled the day his father contracted polio. It was an August afternoon in 1921.
"We were out sailing that day when a small brush fire on an island down the bay came to our attention." Turning to Calder he asked, "What was the name of that island?"
"I think it was Treat Island," she answered.
"Father said we should stop and stamp it out, so we did," Roosevelt continued. "After returning to our pier, he challenged us to a footrace across the point to the Bay of Fundy. We all took off on the run. Part of the course was Lake Glensevern and we had to swim to the other side. Then father climbed up the bank and ran to the -- bay where he plunged into the icy water."
He remembered F.D.R. taking a chill that afternoon and not coming down for dinner. The next morning a doctor was summoned from Lubec, Maine, and diagnosed his ailment as an unusually bad cold.
"He was not able to use his legs at all," Roosevelt said. "At first, even his arms were paralyzed."
A second doctor was summoned from Bar Harbor, and he prescribed massages. "This might have been the worst thing that could be done," Roosevelt said. "It seemed to cause more pain than anything."
A few days passed and a third doctor, an orthopedic specialist, Robert D. Lovett, examined F.D.R. and said it was poliomyelitis, or infantile paralysis.
Changing the mood, Roosevelt grinned and recalled, "Father would laugh and say, 'Infantile paralysis. Infantile. How could a 39-year-old man have a disease called infantile?"
Leading everyone from the room, he passed by the giant megaphone, lifted it, held it to his lips and shouted softly, "Jimmy, Anna, come in and wash up for dinner."
Upon crossing the Roosevelt International Bridge from Lubec a visitor may want to set his watch back an hour to coincide with the island's time, but the quaintness of the scene makes it seem that time has been set back much further than that.
The island, nine miles at its longest and three miles at its widest, was the feudal fief of a dynasty of Welsh seamen before it became a summer resort for wealthy Americans in 1881. In June 1770, Captain William Owen, with a grant from King George III, moored his ship in the waters next to Passamaquoddy Island, then changed the name of the island for his patron, Lord William Cambell, Calling it Campo Bello for its beauty and fertility. Today, most of Campobello's 1,400 residents depend on fishing for their living.
At the Friar's Bay Restaurant, a modern, comfortable place with large windows just north of the park, some roughly dressed fisherman had stopped for a good, hearty working-man's breakfast. There were also some employes of the local bank and businessmen from the mainland who wore three-piece suits, a table or two of birdwatchers who had driven up in cars with New Jersey and New York plates, and people from the peace conference.
No Bloody Marys unless you're having a meal." The waitress tells customers.
The menu featured fresh-baked blueberry muffins, cornmeal muffins, English muffins, homemade bread, kippered herring right from the bay and every style of egg. The fishermen ordered bowls of oatmeal.
The wide windows of the restaurant cause trouble for the sandpipers outside. While having breakfast one morning, a visitor was startled by two of the birds crashing into the glass. Two more self-destructed the next morning.
The place looks out on Passamaquoddy Bay, and far to the left stands "Friar's Head," a formation of black stone resembling a monk deep in thought.
The story is told that in 1814 the British fleet, occupying Eastport under Sir Thornton Hardy, used the old friar for target practice substantially changing his shape.
The waitresses joked with the regulars, enjoyed the strangers and seemed to offer a standard answer for the often asked question. "What do you people do all winter?"
First the smile, and then from one, "Well, the men are gone fishing all summer," and as she moved away from the table she added coyly, "but they are home all snug in the winter."
The wide Bay of Fundy to the east of the island has the highest, mightiest tides in the world, rising to 29 feet twice a day; at times they have been recorded at 53 feet. To the west is Passamaquoddy Bay, named after the local Indian tribe. According to some, the name means "The Lace where pollock (a fish) abound."
The air is crisp, the waters are frigid and only the very hardy dare swim, even in summer. Shortly after dawn each morning a great blue heron sweeps down to sit on the herring weirs just off shore, looking majestic perched atop one of the stilt-shaped supports of the fish traps.
The weirs were built many years ago and are still in use, but today modern trawlers regularly steam in the scoop up the trapped herring with a giant vacuum, turning what was once a week of seining into a few effortless hours.
The view across the bay reminded one islander of the movie "Sunrise at Campobello." "When they shot the movie, he said, "they spent a week and thousands of dollars trying to shoot the sunrise, but each morning the fog came up so they finally shot the sunset over there." He pointed to Eastport. "They reversed that segment to make it look like sunrise."
The view away from the serene waters of the Passamaquoddy includes wide soft meadows, thick woods, forbiding bogs and the eerie "fog forest," a misty, green phenomenon of trees hung heavy with strands of lichen, moody and silent in perpetual fog.
There is no hunting or fishing in the park, so its woods are a bird and animal refuge for visitors -- 140,000 annually -- to enjoy while strolling along paths abundant with luxuriant ferns and nature's bouquets of majestic wild flowers.
During a short recess, or after a full meal, the delegates to the conference strolled along the trails or on the shoulders of the island's main road. Wearing somber suits and tightened neckties, they bent forward slightly, hands behind their backs like a baseball pitcher studying a batter.
Some occasionally wandered off too far down the road and had to be picked up along the way and driven back to the meeting.
Lord Noel-Baker was not one to stoll too far, however. But once, in 1912, he was fast enough on his feet to run the 1,500-meter race in the Olympic Games at Stockholm.
He told the conference that "science has been used as the prostitute of war. Only when it is used for peace shall we make progress toward a civilized world." Every time a gun is made, he said, "a theft occurs, because money for guns should instead be used for food."
Like Noel-Baker, Sean MacBride has spent most of his life seeking sanity for a confused world. Appearing more comfortable in a bulky knit sweater than the gray tweed suit he had worn the previous day, MacBride asked a young man at a temporary bar for a gin and tomato juice. MacBride's a stocky man, about 5 feet 7 and weighing maybe 170 pounds, his eyes dark, round and deep-set like an owl's.
Sipping his drink, he talked about the day he learned of winning the Nobel Prize. "I never had an idea why I was awarded the prize. I was at a meeting of the U.N. when a reporter tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to step outside. When I asked why, he said, 'You have just been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.'"
He looked through the twilight down the lawn toward the bay, and the words he had to say were foreign to the peaceful surroundings.
"Captial punishment is recognized as one of the causes of violence and cruelty in the world today," he said, adding that "the massacres in Cambodia, Uganda and Latin America are worse than the holocaust of Nazi Germany," estimating that up to 3 million people have been killed in Cambodia alone.
The quick turn of his head, the wan smile, the eyes made you realize this man who had traveled many miles to light a candle for peace chose now to be alone with his thoughts.
A gold medal was awarded at the conference to President Carter "for his efforts on behalf of human rights." Sen. Randolph called for a cabinet-level Department of Peace. Hammer was given a peace medal. And the group called for ratification of the SALT II treaty. The three-day meeting over, cars and buses took the guests to the airport at Bangor, three hours away.
That evening, the people who made the conference possible -- cooks, waitresses, chamber baids, diswahers, telephone operators, chauffers, the pilots who ran the small plane from Bangor to Machias, locals who loaned out rooms in their homes -- relaxed at an old-fashioned weenie roast down by the swimming pool near the bay. Roosevelt was there, sitting alongside Calder.
Rod Pike, 75, a retired botony professor from the University of New Hampshire, who had the responsibility of every tree, bush and flower in the park, sat hunched forward, his elbows resting on his knees, an ear of corn in one hand and a highball in the other.
"Jimmy Roosevelt," he said, pointing in his direction, "he is always trying to cajole me into cutting down some trees behind his family cottage to better the view of the bay.
"Maybe in time I will, but I want to make it tough for him," he said goodnaturedly.
Pike's unkempt gray hair tossed about in the soft island breeze. He wore clothes fo genteel shabbiness; an old heavy cotton shirt that may have once appeared in an L.L. Bean catalog, open at the neck, cuffs turned up at the wrists, faded gray flannel slacks, low-cut sneakers casually tied with the top eyelets left open.
His home was a big white house in the middle of Lubec, where at about 5 every day his two brothers, a cousin and friends gather to sip cocktails and share bread and cheese while discussing events of the day in the tradition of an old wayfarers' inn at dusk.
An older brother, Sumner Pike, who was brought to Washington in 1939 by Roosevelt and later became a member of the Atomic Energy Commission, joined them each evening until his death three years ago.
Pike seemed to typify the fierce independence of the rugged natives.
"In my will I have stipulated that upon my death my home be torn down" he said. "I do not want it turned into a commercial enterprise."
A few days after the cookout, Pike died in his sleep.
In late August, from the high cliffs at Head Harbor on the northernmost tip of Campobello, humpback whales can be seen bounding about unconcerned with the porpoises and seals as they feed on the herring run. At dusk, the silence is broken by the bellow of whales, the high-pitched cry of the sea gulls, the slow bonging of a distant bell buoy and the whoosh of a wave spending itself against the cliff far below.
As early as 6 a.m. and at other times throughout the day, shrieking whistles sound from the island cannery, or from the two across the bay in Eastport, announcing to the sardine packers the arrival of a herring boat.
In the evenings, the sun sends glorious streaks of color across the sky and thin streams of smoke rise from chimneys of the scattered homes on the island. In the silence, the message of the conference comes to mind: "The right to peace should be recognized as a human right."
And this was peace -- peace that you wished a world could share.