APRIL 3, 1942
NEW YORK, Thursday—I came up to New York City yesterday and spent a little time in the afternoon with a friend who has been away for some time in the armed services, and who finds it quite thrilling to get back and see some of his old friends again.
Last evening I read some articles in the April magazines. I was very much interested in Mr. Oswald Garrison Villard's account of Sir Stafford Cripps.
There seems to be a great variety of opinion about the gentleman. It arises, I imagine, from the fact that he has been fairly consistent in certain principles and not easily swayed by the experiences of particular situations. That trait may have both advantages and disadvantages.
There are times when public men must be able to accept ridicule and defeat, and wait for time either to prove them right, or to give them another chance. There are other times when it is probably wiser to compromise on half victories, so long as the trend is in the right direction. To do this effectively, however, and wisely is a very difficult thing.
The article cites Ramsay MacDonald as one of the people who may have compromised too much. No one can really judge that without an intimate knowledge of the entire political situation of that period. Of one thing I am sure, from my slight personal acquaintance with the late Prime Minister, that whatever he did was not done from motives of self-interest, but because he deemed it best for the people as a whole.
He may well have been mistaken, for as we grow older we tend more to compromise. That is why I believe we should always have youth and age together when decisions of importance are made in government circles. The two points of view are needed to balance the scales and achieve wise decisions.
There is an article called: "American Negroes and the War" by Earl Brown, which I hope all of us will read. Some of the statements made I know to be true, many of them I have not checked and cannot vouch for, but that is not important. Today what concerns us most deeply is the necessary change in attitude on the part of the white race.
The psychology which believes that the white man alone of all the races in the world, has something which must be imposed on all other races, must go. We know today that our chance to live in peace in the future lies in respect for the individual, no matter what his color. We must have a willingness to accept what anyone has to contribute to civilization, and to cooperate in the difficult business of "live and let live."