NOVEMBER 20, 1948
PARIS, Friday—There is great excitement over here about the question of what will be done with the great Ruhr industrial area. Few Americans understand why this question is of such vital importance to Europe and the world.
And but few know the important role the Ruhr played in building Germany into a mighty military power. Neither are they aware that because of this rich industrial and agricultural area, Germany's central geographical location and the planning of her statesmen made her the pivot of European economy, with many European nations partially, if not totally, dependent upon her.
Germany now, however, has been stripped of her power and industry. She is an idle liability to the world. She must again be industrialized in order to achieve economic stability—not only for herself, but for virtually the whole of Europe. Her present situation is that of greatly increased population with no means of providing for it.
The return of industrialization for Germany, however, is dreaded by her neighbors, who remember only too well how she built herself up into a great military power on two previous occasions. They do not, naturally, want to give her the opportunity to do this again, so it is not strange that the French, in particular, should rebel at the thought of permitting the people who once owned the Ruhr mines and industries to regain possession of them.
Even with the argument that the situation can be safely controlled and that the rest of Europe cannot return to prosperity if Germany does not, far too many people here remember with terror everything step by step which went on between World War I and World War II. And they are aware of everything which might bring about similar results.
All this is a terrific headache for the economists who have the job of devising ways to industrialize and bring back to prosperity a nation like Germany, without permitting the development of her heavy industry to the danger point.
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I dined last evening with Miss Rose E. Dolan, one of the vice presidents of an organization known as "American Friends of France." This organization, as you probably know, was founded by Miss Ann Morgan and a group of Americans in 1917.
Between the time of organization and 1925, it raised and spent five million dollars for relief work in France.
The second world war brought the American Friends back in 1939, and during the occupation, four public health centers, which had been organized in 1918, were operated for the benefit of the French people.
Since the close of World War II, more centers have been established for the urgent social service work which requires immediate attention. Here, as in many European countries, the death rate from tuberculosis has risen considerably. The present tubercular rate is 87 per hundred thousand.
The work of the American Friends of France is intensified in importance because the American women working over here supply the personal touch which is so essential if there's to be a sense of human feeling between the peoples of different nations.
Since being here I have not had the time to visit many of the French institutions, so I was even more grateful for Miss Dolan's company. She answered many of my questions about them and the work being done by the American Friends of France.