OCTOBER 21, 1942
NEW YORK, Tuesday—I had a very pleasant trip to Orange, N. J., yesterday, but both going out and coming back I almost missed getting off the train! On such short journeys, if I am interested in a book, I am very apt to forget how many stations I passed.
Last evening I was very sorry not to be able to go to the meeting sponsored by the Youth Division of the Russian War Relief, at which the young Russians, who came over here as delegates to the International Student Assemby, were tendered a final farewell. They came down to my apartment when the meeting was over, however, to say goodbye, and sat around for a few minutes drinking coffee and eating coffee cake.
In his speech, the head of the Moscow Youth Organization, Nikolai Krasavchenko, says that their trip has given them a better understanding of the youth of this country. They are going back with a sense of gratitude for the real friendliness which has been shown them on all sides.
They have travelled with Dutch, Chinese, British and American young people, and they have come to realize that the objectives of the United Nations, now and in the future, are very much the same. We approach them in different ways and each nation fights and plans in its own way.
Out of their associations these young people have acquired the knowledge of this similarity of objectives in different countries that we all have something to learn from each other and all have something of value to contribute to the achievement of a better world.
One of the freedoms which we hold dear in this country is the right to criticize our own government. I noticed in the newspaper this morning that a very high-placed gentleman in the Republican Party made some slightly critical comments on the manner in which this war is being conducted. It reminded me of a little story in an editorial by Clarence Woodbury.
He starts out to tell what the various people in his air raid warden sector say in answer to the question of: "What are we fighting for?" One of the men, a tavern keeper whose business has gone down since motorists have become scarce, grumbled: "There are some people in Washington who ought to have their heads examined." One of the men at the bar took him up on that. He told Joe he ought to be reported to the FBI for making such an unpatriotic remark.
The argument was getting hot, when Ed Burns, who was listening, came to Joe's defense. "Let's leave the witch hunting to the Nazis," Ed said, "We've got a right to cuss out the Government, thank God, as long as we are loyal to it."