AUGUST 9, 1947
CAMPOBELLO ISLAND, N.B., Friday—I have a deep interest in aviation and believe that, in the future, it is going to play a great part in the development of world trade as well as passenger travel. I am much more interested in trying to use the knowledge we obtained during the war, by expenditures of great sums of money, to forward the peacetime uses of aviation than I am in a political investigation.
Many experiments are legitimately tried during a war which may or may not turn out to be useful after the war. But when peace comes, all those experiments should be examined for the possible knowledge that may be obtained for peacetime use. Some may be of no use. For instance, valuable as the baby flattops were in the war, I do not know what they will do for us in peace. But I do know that everything we did in the field of aviation should now be studied. And I am sure that the expenditure of more money for research and experimentation will be justified in the future.
* * *
There was a little item, in the answer which Sen. Owen Brewster made to Howard Hughes' open letter, which seemed a little strange to me. The senator said that he had not suggested any plane trip, but as Mr. Hughes wished to see him, Mr. Hughes had suggested that he would take him by plane to fill his engagements and return him by plane. That was a perfectly understandable explanation.
But in the next sentence, the senator said that Mr. Hughes had asked for a particular hostess to accompany him and she had refused. Later, the senator claimed, when this hostess returned with him by plane and Mr. Hughes was not on board, she confided that she would be afraid to take a trip alone on a plane with Mr. Hughes. (Editor's Note:—The hostess has since been quoted as denying this). Of course, the senator may have been misquoted, but as yet I have seen no counterstatement from him. Thus he brought into the question, which should be a purely factual investigation, a suggestion of a personal character which seems slightly out of place.
I have barely met Mr. Hughes but I know well that his reputation is not one of frightening hostesses on planes. In fact, he is supposed to be a very shy and retiring gentleman where ladies are concerned. And the senator seems to forget that no hostess is alone on a plane. There is always a crew on board who, if the need arose, could be reached.
* * *
I have a distaste for mixing questions of public life with private life. And I think that this particular little tale might well have been left out, since it contributes nothing to the pertinent facts and since the senator himself has complained that other groups have tried to draw the attention away from those facts—tactics which, of course, should not be allowed on either side.
I remember a case some years ago where the senator was much interested in the personal side of a question, rather than in its public effect, and it seems to me that, unless a personal situation has a direct bearing upon a public question, it is not wise for a man to drag it in.