OCTOBER 12, 1945
NEW YORK, Thursday—There is a great deal of urging on the part of military leaders that we have universal military service from now on, and a number of people have written me asking how I felt on this subject. I think that before we make any decision we should take into consideration the change brought about by the atomic bomb. When we see some people contend that we need exactly the same kind of strength which we needed before this discovery was made, I wonder whether they have lost all imagination and elasticity of mind.
Discovery of the atomic bomb has made many forms of defense obsolete. I believe we should stay a strong nation. I believe that training and discipline and responsibility would be good for all, boys and girls alike. But that it should be the same kind of training which has been envisioned in the past seems to me highly unlikely.
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I think, therefore, that before one gives any blanket endorsement to universal military training, one should ask several things. What are the final forms which scientists and military leaders believe necessary to keep this nation safe?
What is the best type of preparation which our people as a whole need, and how can it best be obtained? Do we need, as well as universal miltary training, some type of universal training for better understanding of each other throughout the world? Do we need a better group of people to be our representatives, not only in the diplomatic service, but in the field of trade and in the development of communication and interchange of travel?
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Undoubtedly there will have to be a greater interchange in the educational field. How are we going to make that of maximum use to our country and the other countries of the world? How are we going to improve agricultural development? And are we planning to train an ever increasing number of people who will have a rounded picture of the world's economic situation and serve as guides and advisers in the whole program of friendly world relations?
These are all questions I want considered before any universal military training bill is settled upon for this rising generation.
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Last night I went to Trenton, N. J., to speak for the Trenton "Committee on Unity." More and more cities are getting up committees to create better understanding among the citizens and to try to obliterate the misunderstandings which create racial and religious tensions.
If only we all would realize that every time we allow ourselves to have an unkind and bitter thought about another human being we add to these tensions and put another nail in the coffin of world peace. I think we would make a far greater effort to develop friendly understanding and equality of opportunity for all people in our own communities.