SEPTEMBER 19, 1947
NEW YORK, Thursday—The other day, Mayor O'Dwyer of New York City urged the restaurants here to accept two meatless days a week. This is not as real a sacrifice as it sounds. It would mean, however, considerably less buying of meat.
I am told that it is thought in high circles that it is well nigh impossible to return to OPA controls, the food stamp plan that we had during the days of the depression, and price fixing. I've never had great confidence in the ability of human nature on a large scale to discipline itself to the type of daily care that is required in voluntary food rationing. If that, however, is the only thing that is going to be done, I hope that someone like Herbert Hoover, who had great success in organizing such voluntary systems during World War I, might undertake to do it again.
I realize that there is not the drive of a war, when everyone is prepared to sacrifice, to make us comply now, but this is truly a drive to protect our peacetime standards of living. Consumption and production must be brought into balance. There may well be some profiteering going on but we don't seem to have been very successful in stopping it.
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I think if every housewife is told that on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, we will be entitled to have meat at one meal, but that on the other days we should have poultry, fish, eggs or cheese as substitutes, we may get an effort at compliance. At no time should anyone have more than one egg at a meal. Bread must not be wasted. Butter, fats and oils must be used with great economy. In fact, we must begin to be a thrifty nation instead of a wasteful one.
We should do this largely because, if prices continue to rise, many people in this country will not be able to continue to eat. Also, if the rather moderate amount of food we have been exporting—which has barely kept people from starving so far—were cut, this would have political repercussions in many countries which are on the verge of disorder now, simply because people do not go on suffering meekly forever.
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The other afternoon, after the opening of the United Nations General Assembly and the first meeting of committees to elect their chairmen, the United States delegation gave a reception for the other delegates. Showers had brought us cooler weather, but the atmosphere still seemed far from invigorating, and I am sure that, after that first day, many people were both weary and anxious.
One cannot look over the questions which must be taken up in this Assembly without realizing that there are points of friction which will require a realization of the value of peace and a desire for confidence and cooperation among nations. One can only pray that this will be the spirit in which all delegates and their governments will approach these problems. The President of the Assembly, Dr. Oswaldo Aranha of Brazil, emphasized the necessity for a will to peace in his admirable opening address.