JUNE 21, 1946
HYDE PARK, Thursday—Yesterday morning I went down to New York City and then out to Orange, N. J., to spend a few hours with my cousin, Mrs. Henry Parish, on her birthday. She was very happy because members of her household, even some who have had to retire, had sent her flowers and birthday greetings. And one by one, the household had come in to wish her many happy returns of the day.
I can't help thinking that, when one reaches the 80s, it must be a very great satisfaction to find oneself surrounded by people who have a kindly feeling for one. It means that one has cast one's bread upon the waters and it returns to one in kind!
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On the return trip to New York, when I got off the ferry at 23rd Street, everybody was dashing for taxicabs, and I was in a hurry to keep an appointment. Two very young men, one of them with the serviceman's familiar discharge button on his lapel, reached a taxi simultaneously with me, so I suggested that we three get in together and ride across town. It turned out that the ex-serviceman had been in Berlin when I was there and that we had met—I suppose, at one of the various clubs. His face looked very familiar and so did that of the Englishman who was with him. It turned out that the latter had been in Austria.
We were soon talking about European conditions and the heartbreak and discouraging atmosphere that greeted one on every side. When I think that things seem rather confused and difficult over here, I only have to reflect for a few minutes on the problems which greet every European, as he wakes every morning, to realize that we should meet our own difficulties with great ease.
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The Soviet atomic plan, which was presented yesterday to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission, seems in many ways similar to our own in its ultimate aims, so I should think negotiations might bring about agreement. The Russians cling, however, even on this subject, to the great powers' veto right. This seems a little foolish since, if one is going to destroy the atomic bombs, outlaw their use and turn over to the United Nations whatever enforcement regulations are agreed upon, the veto power would seem to be rather useless in this particular matter.
One wishes sometimes that the Russians would give a little more thought to saying a few, perhaps not necessary, pleasant things. They remind me of some one I once knew who always felt that it was the part of stern duty to tell her friends disagreeable "truths." They weren't always true, but they were always disagreeable, and they were never softened by the way in which they were said. They were supposed to be said in sorrow and only for the victim's good, but one could not help suspecting that their unpalatableness was fully recognized and sometimes enjoyed.