JULY 28, 1947
CAMPOBELLO ISLAND, N. B., Sunday—I want to say a word today about Secretary Patterson, who, under the new unification of the armed forces, is going to leave the War Department. He is our neighbor on the Hudson River, and for this added reason I have watched his career with interest.
That Secretary Patterson has served for patriotic reasons only must be clear to anyone. His children are young, he has a great interest in his farm in the country, and he certainly made financial sacrifices when he went to Washington. Like many others, he felt he was doing a war service, and he stayed until he felt his part of the job was done. We, the people, owe him—as we do all other good public servants—our thanks and appreciation for his willingness to give of his ability, strength and time to the service of the country when the country needed it.
It is difficult to get good public servants. The reason is that, instead of thanks, most of them get not only very limited financial returns, but incessant criticism. This is understandable from the political party in opposition and from the newspapers that are controlled by people who oppose the political theories of an administration. But the people of the country in general should be able to recognize good service when rendered by members of either political party, particularly when the job has been an administrative and not a political one.
Running the War Department, of course, has at times a close connection with politics. But the actual administrative work is completely non-political, and during the years of the war and the postwar period it had to be done with as little politics as was humanly possible.
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Sometimes, reading the papers these days makes one rather sick at heart. One wonders if it would not be possible at times for someone to accept the spirit of what is being done rather than to adhere so closely to the letter. It is true that, in suggesting an eleven-power Japanese peace treaty conference, the United States has made a new suggestion. But the USSR, which never seems to change anything that has once been done, immediately jumps to the conclusion that this is unilateral action by the United States, bypassing the Council of Foreign Ministers of the five great powers—the U. S., Great Britain, France, the USSR and China—which, it was agreed in Moscow in 1945, had a special interest in the postwar situation in Japan.
According to the USSR, their ambassadors should have ascertained when a meeting of these five could conveniently be held. Logically, all this may be true. But also, logically, it might occur to the USSR that the accomplishments of the meetings of the Foreign Ministers in the European situation have not been so great that similar meetings in the Far East give much promise of success. A change might actually be a help in accomplishing something, and that is much to be desired.