FEBRUARY 19, 1947
NEW YORK, Tuesday—As the days go by and Sen. Kenneth McKeller, together with a few others, continues to oppose confirmation of David E. Lilienthal as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, one begins to wonder just who pulls the strings. Is it, as one newspaper states, that the power companies, because of competition with TVA in the past, are now stirring up all of this feeling against a man eminently well fitted for the job? That would be short-sighted, because TVA has really helped the power companies!
Is it that we are so completely possessed by fear that we do not recognize the ring of truth when a man speaks up for democracy as Mr. Lilienthal did? Is it that Sen. McKellar is really afraid to trust any five men with the development and use of atomic energy? If this is true, we had better remind the Senator that this is not the only country in the world. Atomic energy is going to be developed, and whether it is developed for the good of humanity or the destruction of humanity will depend a great deal on this five-man group.
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I would trust a man with Mr. Lilienthal's expressed belief in democracy to head that group. Where his parents were born seems to me to have no relation to the question at hand, which is his fitness to do this job. Where his loyalties lie is crystal clear to those who can read and understand the English language.
There are not many men with the training and background for a job such as this one and, if we turn down a man who is preeminently well-trained, then we deserve to be handicapped in this race for the development of atomic energy. Instead of leading the world and helping it to use this power for the good of humanity, we will be branded as being so small of vision that we could not control a few men but let them hold us in check.
The world cries out for men, especially those of the United States, to work and produce. We blame workers who go out on strike. How about the members of an important legislative body who go on strike against the group of men who should be developing the world's greatest new source of power?
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Early yesterday morning, at Hyde Park, I woke to one of the most beautiful sights in the world—a slim sliver of a moon with one star shining out above it. The wind had blown hard all night but, towards dawn, it dropped and there was the sense, which one always has at this season, that everything in nature was waiting for the first call of spring.
When we were ready for the trip back to town, my little dog refused to get into the car, and my feet walked just as reluctantly as his. Why do we live in crowded places when a sliver of a moon and a star can give so much enjoyment? In these brief, still moments of beauty, one sees in stark relief the actions and motives of little men—and far too many such actions in contemporary history are unpleasant to contemplate.