NOVEMBER 9, 1946
NEW YORK, Friday—The meeting of the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee, or Committee #3, at Lake Success on Wednesday afternoon dragged itself out rather lengthily. I was deeply interested in watching Mr. Vishinsky make his speech on the subject of the International Refugee Organization. Even though I could not understand what he was saying, he spoke at times with so much feeling that one chafed at not knowing the language so as to get the full impact of his talk. The French and English translations that followed were, of course, necessary, even though they were repetitious to those that know both languages.
When I realized that three hours and a half had gone by I took to calculating the minutes that would be needed if each of the 50 remaining members had to take as much time to express his views. It got into higher mathematics, and I am not very good at figures. So I determined then and there to try to condense as much as possible my own thoughts on this subject.
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A little before eight-thirty in the evening I was called for and taken to a meeting at the Hotel Pierre at which the Woodlea Foundation had invited me to speak. A very small group, it has carried on an interesting experiment in intercultural relationships. One of its enterprises is a camp for children under eight years old. The camp's staff is interracial, and the children, who belong to many races and religions, brought their parents into contact with others whom they might never otherwise have met.
The group has been so highly successful that the Foundation now hopes the idea will spread to many other cities, and even into other countries.
The Foundation hopes to raise money for scholarships and to publish literature that will spread the knowledge of their experiment and its results. Little by little these experiments in interracial understanding are multiplying, and whenever they are successful I think they advance the cause of peace in the world.
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It is only as we accept our differences, and become unconscious of them, that a real knowledge and appreciation of each other will be possible throughout the world.
Our United Nations meetings are so very irregular that it is hard to know at any time when I am going to be free or where I can be at a given time. So from now on, I am going to make no outside engagements and shall keep only those that were made before the United Nations General Assembly began. I simply cannot spend my life saying "yes" in the morning and "no" in the afternoon!
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I have just had a letter from the American Relief for Holland, Inc., which may interest some of my readers. The Mayor of a small town named Schoondijke wrote me that his name was van Roosevelt and told me some of the things they need. Various members of our family were interested enough to raise a small fund, and a consignment of useful articles has just gone off to this small town.
In telling me what has been sent to Holland the director wonders if there are not other communities and individuals who would like to adopt Dutch churches, or communities, or institutions of any kind, or families, and suggests that direct correspondence might lead to many helpful results. He wishes especially to establish contacts for letter writing between 10,000 American boys and girls and the same number of Dutch, between the ages of 15 and 25.
The last sentence in his letter is one we, of Dutch descent, should take to heart. He says: "The Dutch are lonely and any word from American friends gives them a tremendous lift."