MAY 16, 1946
NEW YORK, Wednesday—Sometimes I think it is very difficult for people really to grasp the details of any kind of organization. For instance, at the United Nations meeting yesterday, I was asked about a rumor that I had asked President Truman to relieve me of any further responsibility of serving with the Human Rights Commission. That rumor shows that it is not understood that, if I were to ask to be relieved, I should have to ask the Economic and Social Council, since they and not President Truman appointed me. Needless to say, the rumor had no foundation in fact.
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On Monday evening, I spoke at the Book and Author Night sponsored jointly by the New York Herald Tribune and the American Booksellers Association, which is holding its first convention in three years. The theme of the evening was "One World or None."
When Wendell Willkie gave us that phrase "One World," he gave us an aspiration, but I am terribly afraid we will go to sleep believing that we actually have One World and will forget that, in order to make it a reality, we have vast areas to cover in which we have taken only the very first steps. There are great differences between the people in different parts of the world because of differences in background and experience.
In my talk, I tried to point out some of the differences between the government of the USSR and our own in the mere conception of certain functions and in the methods of achieving certain results. The Russians have lived under their form of government only twenty-five years. We have had over a century and a half in which gradually to change one thing after another and to correct some of our mistakes and inadequacies.
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I pointed out that we would do well to remember that once upon a time we led a revolution, once upon a time we were pioneers, treading new paths, learning new ways, and being greeted, when any of us turned up in the Old World, as strange and rather terrifying characters! Some of us have read some of the early diaries of travellers from the Old World, who were not as famous as Charles Dickens but all of whom took us neatly apart because of our lack of airs and graces in those early days!
We had virtues, however, and one of them was persistence. It is quite evident today that we will need persistence in order to win through to a better understanding of other peoples of the world about whom we know little—the Russians, the Chinese, and many other great peoples who are different from ourselves but are so well worth knowing.
We think our way of doing things is a good way, and we have a right to believe in it until someone else proves to us that their way is better. However, we should not deny to other people the right to their way of thinking and acting. Somehow, we should be the bridge between the Old World and the New, and should find the way to compromise and adjustment. For get along we must, if that One World of Wendell Willkie's is to be a reality.