JANUARY 7, 1947
NEW YORK, Monday—I think that my weekend visit in Washington was the longest time I have spent there since I left in 1945, but my time was very fully taken up. On Friday, I gave a lecture in the State Department on the work of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and afterwards lunched with Assistant Secretary William Benton, under whose division this course of lectures is given.
The luncheon gave me an opportunity to see some of the other people in the department, and also to hear a little more about the meeting of UNESCO in Paris. I saw Archibald MacLeish as I walked through the corridor, and he told me he was very busy on the report. I feel that UNESCO has such great possibilities for creating better international understanding and for constantly building up closer relations among countries that I am deeply interested in this particular division of the United Nations work.
I saw the Secretary of State for a few minutes, and also the President, so that I could say thank you for my opportunity to serve as a delegate to the General Assembly of the United Nations. The nominations to the United States delegation, made by the President on recommendation of the State Department, had to be ratified by the Senate, so I felt that I should express my thanks also to that group. I think, however, that I will have to leave that to Senators Vandenberg and Connally, who know that I am deeply grateful for the opportunities which have been given me to work in a body which has potentialities for building peace in the world.
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I also spent some time with Miss Charl Williams of the National Education Association. I had seen in the newspapers a blast against the association for supporting what its critics call "company unions" in education. Among the NEA officials I talked to, I found a very keen sense of the crisis in public education and a great desire to support the complaints against the low salaries of teachers in so many places throughout the nation.
With the rise in the cost of living, it is obviously impossible to keep teachers' salaries at the levels which have existed. There is a real crisis and, if we hope to give our children adequate education, we will have to face the fact that teachers are human beings. We cannot expect them to be more unselfish than other human beings. We cannot expect them to live, as professional people, on less money than they could earn as skilled mechanics.
We have given them very little recognition in our communities, but even if we had given them far more honor and esteem, that could not make up for an impossible economic situation which affects not only the teacher but his or her entire family.