APRIL 15, 1947
WESTBROOK, CONN., Monday—The front-page stories in one of our metropolitan newspapers the other day showed what a world of conflict we now live in.
In Moscow, Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov had refused to consider an agreement on the Saar until his proposal on four-power rule for the Ruhr was settled. In another column was an account of a speech made in London by Henry Wallace, in which he voiced his apprehension over the policy of lending money to anti-Soviet states just because they are anti-Soviet states rather than because they need money for rehabilitation. Right next to that article was an accusation by a Democratic Senator that Mr. Wallace, by voicing these sentiments abroad, was hurting his country's prestige. At home, the phone strike continued, the coal mines were slowly beginning to reopen, and the wisdom of certain Government loans to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was being questioned by the Republicans in a Senate committee.
This all looks like a good deal of dissension and more dissension, and yet it is part of the freedom under which we in the United States think the world should operate. When the right to strike is curbed, our free and independent citizens strike all the more readily; and when John L. Lewis is taken to task for his behavior, he tries to find some way of getting back at those who took him to task and turns against the people in general.
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To me, some of us seem to be losing sight of certain vital things. What does it matter now whether the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad got a bigger loan than it should have had? It was done to win the war and we won the war.
And Mr. Wallace is entitled to his opinion. It is good for every citizen to realize that the responsibility for helping to rehabilitate countries throughout the world is going to be heavy for us, since we are the only people who can bear the main burden. In the end, it is to our interest that these countries should be rehabilitated. The discussion of how we shall do it is a perfectly good discussion for people in this country to engage in, and will probably be helpful to the Administration in the long run.
Someone said to me the other day that it was impossible to give wheat to the starving people of Poland and Yugoslavia because not enough wheat could be found in the world. We had again underestimated the world need and therefore we had not processed potatoes last summer when they should have been processed, so we could not supplement wheat with dehydrated potatoes. There is only one alternative in that case. That is to make a plea to people in countries like our own, where they are eating better than ever before, to curtail the amount of wheat products they use and to divert this essential foodstuff to the nations that will starve between now and July if we do not do so. Nobody, as far as I know, is asking the people of the different nations to do this.
Mr. Molotov seems to me unwise in his insistence on his own method of procedure. He probably thinks he has a better chance to bargain if he works along his own lines, but he forgets that he may annoy his opponents to the point where nothing he suggests will be considered.
It is time we learned at home and abroad to think about agreement and to stop so much dissension.