JULY 20, 1959
HYDE PARK—Having seen the Russian exhibit in New York, I went the other night to see the Russian festival of music and dance at Madison Square Garden. Mr. Hurok, the impresario, has given us a real insight into the culture of different parts of the Russian Republics, and I think he has done a very valuable thing in bringing to us these groups that show the best both in the trained Bolshoi Theatre tradition and in the folk tradition.
I was surprised that Madison Square Garden could be made to give you a feeling of intimacy! I did not feel separated from the stage or the people on it, and I enjoyed my evening very much. This week the groups go on a national tour. They will give pleasure and a general idea of the different kinds of music and dance that will be interesting for the U. S.
I could have wished that in the Russian exhibit I had not been so conscious of the effort being put forward to equal and surpass the U. S. Both of us should learn to show ourselves as we are and to develop as individual nations without thought of constant rivalry. I think we would then be more successful in promoting what we hope to promote through these exhibitions both here and in Moscow—namely, a peaceful and cooperative attitude toward each other.
In our exhibit in Moscow we are showing some huge photographs of some of the finest examples of American architecture—schools, churches and office buildings, including some buildings built by American architects in foreign countries. This exhibit was designed and assembled by Peter Blake and Julian Neski, who are both members of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. We boast a little about the number of single family houses and apartments, churches, synagogues and office space that we have built since World War II. But we turn our boasting to good account when we put on one wall the statement: "The various examples in the exhibit represent the hopes of millions of Americans for a peaceful future."
We would take a big step forward if both the Russians here and our exhibit in Moscow could make viewers feel that the people of both our countries really believe we are going to settle our difficulties amicably, that we are gradually going to learn to disarm, and therefore all that we are putting into these things that we show is because we have a real hope of stability and peace in our world.
This perhaps was made a little more probable by the fact that in Poland Mr. Khrushchev saw fit to give a "solemn pledge" not to start a war, and to announce that he believed the "wiser capitalists" would not make war either.
If you want an amusing bit of light reading with a considerable amount of wisdom interspersed, be sure to take with you on your summer vacation Mary Margaret McBride's autobiography, called "A Long Way From Missouri." She certainly did come a long way from Missouri: she tells about it with charm, and the book has great interest.