JANUARY 15, 1947
NEW YORK, Tuesday—I read with interest today of the hopes of various nations to obtain definite sums of money from the International Children's Emergency Fund of the United Nations. I wish very much that one could feel entirely sure that this fund would actually receive sufficient money to provide the sums which these nations are counting upon and which it is essential that children should receive.
I am coming more and more to the belief that the United Nations should begin now and put together, for submission to each nation, the total of subscriptions required from various nations. This is important particularly to the United States, Great Britain and the USSR at the moment.
Whether we supply relief within the framework of an international organization, or whether we do so as an individual country, seems to me very unimportant. What we want to know is the total of foodstuffs, for instance, that we should provide to all the needy nations, since that ought to condition what will be available for use within our country. How much cash will the nations need for purchase of materials or machines either here or in other countries? If we know in advance how much of a cash loan will return to us in purchases made in this country, that will help in making up our appropriations budget.
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It is shocking, I think, that the World Bank is having such difficulty in obtaining someone to head it. Various prominent business men are reported to have rejected the post. One can only assume that these men find that the forces of finance in this country, and perhaps in Great Britain and even in some other countries, are making it so difficult to obtain the money needed that no individual sees any chance of success in carrying out this all-important banking undertaking.
The only real excuse for opposing it would be that, if it were done on a private basis, the profits to individuals or to firms would probably be much higher. This institution, however, is the one which will be lending money to governments for rehabilitation purposes, and it certainly cannot function without a head, or without the support of the great financial interests throughout the world.
It seems always to be possible during a war, when insecurity surrounds every nation, to find among a country's citizens a spirit of disinterested self-sacrifice, but the minute a war comes to an end, the justification for self-interest is easy to find. Good public servants are as scarce as hen's teeth in our democracy! Disinterested cooperation on the part of business on a national and international plane is even scarcer. The long look into the future is conspicuously lacking!