OCTOBER 12, 1946
NEW YORK, Friday—Yesterday I attended a press conference and met some of the delegates who are going to the meeting of the International Assembly of Women at South Kortright, N.Y. Mrs. Alice T. McLean will be hostess to the group, which will meet on her farm. There are some 140 delegates from other countries, as well as a great number of American delegates.
They are interested in what can be done by women in the various nations to forward the one cause on which they are all united. No woman in the world wants war. Every woman knows that, if her country is once engaged in war, there is nothing she can do but work to help the men who fight, but every woman would like to prevent war if possible. This must be done when we are at peace.
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That leads me to some reflections which Walter Lippmann's column pointed up yesterday morning. He seemed to infer that, unless both we and the Soviet Union were ready to make some concessions, no solution could be found to the question of handling atomic energy.
I think that, for the moment, we are chiefly bogged down on the political level. If we want one world, we have got to find some level on which we can work together. Winston Churchill's recent speech in Zurich, suggesting a federation of European countries, dealt with political questions. But I wonder if we could not find, on the economic and humanitarian side, something which would start us actually cooperating.
For the recovery of Europe, the one essential thing is to break down trade barriers and allow free travel from one country to another. Wouldn't it be possible to have an economic federation, leaving to every country its political sovereignty but doing away with restrictions so that travel and trade could be accelerated? Could we not also give assurance that, as far as it lies in our power, the United States will continue to work with the United Kingdom and the USSR to help all the European nations needing relief?
Such a plan would not create more divisions and might start us working together. And it seems to me essential that, somewhere, we begin building our confidence in each other through working contacts.
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The other evening, the Inter-denominational Meeting of Greater New York and vicinity, which is made up of some 100 Negro ministers from the five boroughs, presented their first annual Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Brotherhood Award. They have established this award in honor of the work done by my husband, not only for better relations among different races and creeds in this country, but also for oppressed peoples in other parts of the world. The medal was presented to me, as his wife, because I have had so many opportunities to help in the work of creating more opportunities for the under-privileged. Better understanding can exist only when people regard each other as individuals and do not judge others in mass groups.
The service was a very fine one, and the music by a combined choir, representing different churches in Manhattan, was a great joy to all those present. I was grateful for the honor to my husband's memory, but even more for the fact that together we had been able to achieve some forward steps and advance the cause of the brotherhood of man.