MAY 14, 1948
NEW YORK, Thursday—Temporarily the threat of a railroad strike has been removed but it still hangs over our heads. All of us know that the cost of living has gone up so much that people with fixed incomes—and all wage earners are in that group—are finding it more and more difficult to make ends meet. Quite naturally, unless prices are stabilized, the demands for increased wages will go on.
I have no idea what profits the railroads have or have not made in the last year or so, but while they may not be on a par with the steel companies' profits, I think the railroads are probably operating profitably. If railroad workers see a large amount of freight moving and many passengers travelling, they are apt to feel that their demands are justified.
* * *
The stoppage of our railroads, of course, would be so crippling to the economy of the country and make everyone so uncomfortable, that it is fair to believe that the general public would be hostile to the workers if such a thing should come about. I am not sure, however, that their hostility would stop there and I think a railroad strike might put us one step nearer to the taking over of the railroads, in whole or in part, by the Government. This, I think, would not be helpful to our economy.
Therefore, every effort should be made to look at the present situation as a whole. Taking in all the contributory factors which create the unrest and dissatisfaction among the workers, we should try to find some fundamental solutions to the long-range problems, not confining our interest only to the immediate problems which threaten us, and incidentally the rest of the world, with catastrophe. This is a problem which faces all workers and all employers all over the country just as long as the cost of living continues to rise unchecked.
* * *
The day is here when the British throw off their responsibilities in Palestine. It looks as though it is going to be the responsibility of the Jewish people to govern themselves in the area which they occupy and which follows approximately the United Nations committee's original proposal for partition.
It will apparently be the responsibility of the Jews and the Arabs themselves to come to some kind of settlement. There must be prayers in the hearts of many people that this settlement will be achieved on a peaceful basis. For many people to fight and die in this area would create a world situation of great seriousness. It is a responsibility which these two peoples face, not only for themselves but for the world. At the time of the Balfour Declaration, agreements were reached between the Arab and the Jewish leaders, and one feels that that should set a pattern for new agreements.
The Jewish state along the lines of partition is coming into existence. One can only hope that it will provide peace and security and create goodwill throughout the world for the whole people of this area. The warm good wishes and the prayers of many people will be with this new state.