JANUARY 16, 1947
NEW YORK, Wednesday—Today I received the notice of the cancellation of my driving license for reckless driving in connection with the accident I had last summer. I am a little sad about this, since it takes away one of the things that I enjoy, but I recognize fully the justice of punishment for endangering other people. And while I hope that someday the license may be restored to me, I shall certainly not ask for any special consideration. I can only be deeply grateful that no one was permanently injured in the accident.
Perhaps at my age, in any case, it is wise to curtail one's activities. One thing is sure—that if you give up any activity, it is much more difficult to start in again. And since the accident, I have done no long-distance driving, not even from Hyde Park to New York City.
It will be distinctly awkward to have to walk everywhere around Hyde Park place, instead of driving. However, at all times and as long as one lives, life administers disciplines, and it is in accepting and obeying them that one learns.
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I have seen the play "Temper the Wind"—a good name for a play. It is well cast, well staged, well acted and well written. Of course, as must happen in all theatres, the condensation of situations makes it at times seem unreal. But if, in your mind, you spread it over a reasonable space of time, you realize that this play tells the truth.
We are not conditioned by our experiences to be an occupying force. If only more of the men who fought the war, who saw the Battle of the Bulge, and Dachau and Belsen, were now in Germany, or in responsible positions in the economic and political fields over here, it might be a different story. Sometimes I am tempted to believe that the real answer to the prevention of a future war lies in leaving the settlement in the hands of the people who suffered the most from the Germans.
People will not go to this play for a pleasant evening. They will come home and spend sleepless hours, I think, wondering how the European situation can be explained to the people of the United States. Our very good fortune makes it difficult for us to see this situation realistically in the light of policies to prevent future war.
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I heard a man in front of me say, "Well, in this play the Germans ended united and the Americans all finished up differing with each other." Misfortune unites people. But when you have no one paramount objective, you split up, as we do, on different interests. The businessman is actuated by one kind of interest, the philanthropist by another, the politician by another, the military man by still another. In fact, within these groups, you will get a varying number of points of view which makes a consistent policy difficult unless you put one paramount objective over everything else.
I do not envy General Marshall coming into the State Department at the present time. One thing is certain, he will receive a medley of advice. The politician, the military man, the businessman, the philanthropist—these and others—all will come knocking at his door with suggested solutions for our international problems.
It will take wisdom, patience and courage to find the right answers. We know that Gen. Marshall has all of these qualities, but our wish for him must be that he will have them in the superlative degree which the problems and situations confronting him will require.