APRIL 24, 1948
EN ROUTE TO NEW YORK, Friday—Every day one hears of some new irritation used by the Russians to aggravate the situation in Germany—some new pinprick for the American and British zones. I begin to think that, since these actions seem to be thought up purely for the sake of annoyance, we should use a little imagination and be just as annoying and inconsiderate. A kind of game of tit for tat! When children play that game, both sides eventually grow weary of it. And perhaps that might be the result in this perfectly ridiculous game which the Russians are playing in Germany.
Before I sailed from England, I was interested to be told that, at several meetings where I had spoken both there and on the Continent, well-known Communist Party members had been present. I suppose the Communists outside the USSR were curious to know what I would say about the Marshall Plan. I can only hope that they are now convinced of my sincerity in believing in it, and also realize that I have great hope that eventually all nations will work together amicably in the interests of a peaceful world.
Though the Communist vote in the Italian election was less strong than had been expected, I think we must remember that lack of Communist strength at one particular time doesn't mean that the democracies can relax their efforts to serve the real good of the majority of the people. In fact, every democracy should reexamine everything it is now doing and make sure that the interests of those people who most need government help are being carefully considered in every government undertaking.
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The news from Palestine continues to be very disquieting. There does not seem to be a real desire, on the part of the Arabs and certain elements of the Jewish population, to work out a peaceful settlement. And when the withdrawal of British troops takes place, the outlook will be even more serious unless there is a strong constabulary under the United Nations ready to enforce order.
It does not seem as though there is going to be a reasonable attitude for any Palestine administration to face unless it is backed by force. What that force is going to be will have to be decided by the United Nations in the course of the next few weeks, and one hopes that, once this is decided, some kind of sanity will descend upon the warring factions and induce them to try to come to a peaceful understanding.
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In the United States, the latest court decision against John L. Lewis and the United Mine Workers would seem to be rather staggering. And for those of us who are genuinely interested both in the strength and wise leadership of unions, it is sad that one obstinate and selfish man can create so much ill will. It may be entirely deserved in his case, but I think it will cause ill feeling against the whole labor movement—which is unjust and deplorable.
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Another report from the United States that saddens me is that the question of our joining the World Health Organization is still shelved in Congress. I've been told that in Geneva it is felt that the field service of the organization will have to be stopped unless the United States gives its backing. We were scheduled to subscribe 39 percent of the $6,500,000,000 budget for 1949. And naturally, if we do not come in, it will seriously injure the work of this specialized agency of the United Nations. World health is something in which we have a vital interest, and we should not lag at this moment.