NOVEMBER 15, 1946
NEW YORK, Thursday—Fiorello H. La Guardia, director of UNRRA, made an eloquent appeal to the United Nations the other day for continuing to distribute food in Europe through some form of international agreement after UNRRA expires. The next day, our State Department announced that, while we would consult with other nations, we would distribute relief pretty much on our own, though we might cooperate fairly closely with Great Britain and Canada, the two nations which with us have borne the brunt of the expense so far.
This seems a fairly natural decision, in view of the fact that there have been accusations that supplies given for relief have often been used for political purposes. It seems to me quite understandable that we should want to say how our money shall be spent. But, as in the case of so many questions, there are arguments on both sides of this one.
One of our great desires at present is to build up the strength of the United Nations. And the advantage of doing things on an international basis, even when only a few nations foot the bills, is that a greater number participate in the policy and that knowledge of one another is gained through working together.
In this, as in many other things, we are trying not only to fill the needs of the present, but to look into the future and be prepared to meet situations which have not yet arisen but which may arise. It is this ability to look ahead, and to calculate the importance of events in the light of tomorrow as well as of today, which is vitally important.
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I hear on all sides that individual members of Congress feel that their constituents are not interested in continuing to help people so far away from home, and I have had a number of letters which bear this out. They say "Charity begins at home." They say that, as long as there is one child underfed and one family with an inadequate standard of living within this country, we should be more concerned about that than about starvation or hardships greater than our own which exist in other countries.
It is hard to prove that conditions in other countries will affect us, but it's nevertheless true. We are truly now all in "one world." And I cannot help feeling that there are people in our country who will not be content to forget the suffering in other lands, even though they work to decrease any suffering in this country.
There is one way, apparently, to reach everyone's heart. The fate of children seems to touch us all. The other night, I attended a dinner of the United States Committee for the Care of European Children, which launched its campaign to raise $800,000 to bring war orphans over to this country. Three hundred have already come and, from the offers of homes which have poured into the committee's headquarters, it is evident that the supply of children will never remotely meet the demand. It was stated at the dinner that about 100 homes will probably be offered for every child brought here. So the warm heart of America is still open to children who have suffered.