MAY 15, 1947
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—This morning I listened to the report on the radio of what would probably go on today at what may be the final meeting of the special session of the United Nations General Assembly. The Arabs and the Russians, apparently, are opposed to a neutral committee of inquiry on the Palestine question. It is understandable that the Russians feel that the big powers should always have their say, but why the Arabs should threaten to walk out because a neutral committee of small nations is named is a little hard to understand.
In any case, I have no sympathy with this attitude that if a U.N. decision is not according to a nation's liking, it will mean war. That is no spirit in which the U.N. can work out peaceful solutions.
All of us cannot always expect to be judged right by other nations. We must expect occasionally to have to subordinate our desires if they do not meet with the approval of the majority. We inside this country have learned that over many years, and sometimes we change a decision after agitation which has gone on for a long time. People may have lived under injustices but, in the long run, the majority of the people are aroused to action by real injustice. And I think that is what we have to hope for in the world.
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We have a recent example here at home in the recognition by our Supreme Court of an injustice to the South. This, I think, is very encouraging. Ever since the Civil War, freight rates in the South and Southwest have been higher than in the Northeast. They were imposed by an industrial North and East on an agricultural South and Midwest with the mistaken idea, I think, that it would help the industrial part of the country. It is now evident to all fair-minded people that it has hurt the development of the South and, in so doing, has probably also hurt the industrial Northeast in the long run.
The Interstate Commerce Commission order of May 1945, raising railroad "class" freight rates 10 percent in the Northeast and lowering them a like amount in the South and Midwest, has been upheld by the Supreme Court, 7 to 2. I think the contention, however, of the two dissenting members has a good deal of meat in it, since raising the rates 10 percent in the Northeast will, it is estimated, put a "surtax" on the shippers of that part of the country amounting to about $50,000,000 annually. It may have the effect which the Government hopes for—a redistribution of population. But I think that it might have been simpler if we had simply equalized freight rates for the whole country, and then waited to see whether that was sufficient to put competition on a fair basis.