FEBRUARY 21, 1947
NEW YORK, Thursday—Sometimes I wonder what has happened to the religious groups of this country that all of a sudden they must bring representatives from Germany over here. First, the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America brought over Pastor Martin Niemoeller. Now a group of the Catholic clergy is sending Cardinal von Preysing of Berlin around the country.
I am not questioning the high character of these gentlemen, nor their value to their churches and to their country. I am simply wondering if our people are aware of the fact that, when we bring these gentlemen here, they naturally create sympathy for Germany—a country which twice has plunged the world into war.
It seems to me that we ought to know ourselves well enough to realize that we as a nation forget wars and their causes very quickly. We bear no grudges. But this time, if we do not want another war, we must remember long enough not to allow the German nation again to reach a position where it can cause another war.
We have no bitterness, we are not making the Germans suffer. What comes to them now is a direct result of their initiative in creating the second World War. We are willing to see them rebuild their economy, and we will do business with them just so long as they don't get back to the point where they can prepare for another war. We must be alert to prevent that, and we must not be lulled into a too sympathetic and uncritical attitude by visits of worthy German gentlemen.
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Transportation of all kinds is having hard sledding these days. At first it was only air transport that was affected, but now people who had grown to feel that travelling by train was completely safe are beginning to have their faith shaken.
Of course, the most dangerous kind of transportation is by car, but that is so much a part of the life of every American that nobody dares to say anything about its dangers. However, some of our states are passing drastic laws on insurance in order to spur people to more careful driving.
The truth of the matter, I suppose, is that railroads and airlines alike are suffering from worn-out equipment, from the difficulties of replacement, and from shortages of manpower. Until these things can be changed, I am afraid there will be a small percentage of risk whenever we travel. This can be eliminated only by time and production.
Two good things will probably come as a result of the recent series of accidents—every effort will be made to improve equipment as rapidly as possible; and more of us who do not have to travel will stay home willingly, which will lighten the load of our overcrowded transportation systems. I speak with feeling because, in a short time, I am going to be almost constantly on the move, and I am not quite certain why I agreed to be so peripatetic.