NOVEMBER 23, 1946
NEW YORK, Friday—I was shocked to read of the attack on a United Nations delegate from the Ukraine in a midtown shop, where a robbery was occurring when he and another member of the delegation went in to buy some fruit. When I asked the Ukrainian representative on Committee 3 about it and heard the details, it seemed almost unbelievable that such a thing could happen practically on 5th Avenue at 11:30 at night.
Gregory Stadnik, the victim, is now lying ill in a hospital. As hosts to the UN, we Americans feel grave concern. The representatives of other nations who come to meet here should certainly be safe while they are in our midst. We can only hope that Mr. Stadnik will recover quickly and that the care he receives will be of the best.
It is regrettable if, as suggested by Dmitri Manuilsky, chief Ukrainian delegate, there is some political background to this attack. Certainly, no matter how bitterly a political fight might be waged, it should remain inactive as long as a delegate is attending the U.N. sessions in this country.
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Now, to turn to the coal situation, which seems to me more and more regrettable. I hear that some of the coal operators who are in and out of a big Washington hotel look very well satisfied these days. They apparently are not any more worried than is John L. Lewis about the stoppage of industry, the lack of work which is bound to follow, and the discomfort which is sure to be in store for the vast majority of citizens. They apparently look upon the present situation as a great opportunity, since the Government is about to do for them what they want to do but might not be able to accomplish alone.
Mr. Lewis has been, for some time, on pretty good terms with the conservative political element in this country but, if one of the possibilities which I suggested in this column the other day is ruled out, then it is quite possible that these industrial leaders are patting themselves on the back in glee, since a fight against labor is being successfully carried on without their participation.
Naturally, both the AFL and the CIO must support Mr. Lewis when he asserts that he has the right to call a strike, even against the Government of the United States. He is putting them, however, into a situation which may in the end mean the loss of many of the legal advantages gained during the past thirteen years. Whatever they do in public, I hope that in private they are giving Mr. Lewis some very candid opinions on the extremely difficult position in which he is placing labor as a whole.
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I read one story of an interview with a miner who remarked that, before my husband came into office, he (the miner) had had many weeks when he made between $5 and $10 a week. Today he is making an average of $50 to $60 a week. He didn't quite understand what the strike was about, but the "big boss" had ordered it and "we obey orders." What a pathetic story!
Strikes bring hardship to the working men and their families. They mean loss to management and, in the case of a basic industry like coal, they mean loss to many industries and to many men in other occupations. I don't see how John L. Lewis can sleep quietly at night. His is a grave responsibility and one that must weigh heavily on any man. To defy your government and throw thousands of men out of work, with unforeseeable consequences, is an action not to be taken lightly.