DECEMBER 20, 1948
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Judging from my mail in the last few days, there must be many people in this country who believe that we can actually get the various nations of the world to start a world government. I have had a number of letters taking me to task for being so backward as to think this is not possible and explaining to me why we need a world government of law.
All I have tried to say is that it would be extremely difficult to set this up at the present time. I am not quite sure that the Congress of the United States would be agreeable, but I am quite sure that the USSR would not be agreeable. That great nation is a young nation, going through a period of great national self-consciousness, and to hope that they would subordinate their national interests to a world government is, I think, somewhat premature.
I used to be told that a world government could begin with just a few nations joining. But, from my point of view, a world government would be of little value unless it was really a government of all nations who voluntarily agreed to be governed in this way. At the present time I see little hope of this coming to pass.
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It has been brought to my attention that some of our Congressional travelers who have toured Europe in the past year erroneously thought that my recent reference to those who went at government expense included all Congressional travelers, even those who had gone at their own expense, partly on vacation and partly to revisit well-known areas in order to see the results of the war for themselves. Of course, there have always been numerous members of the Senate and the House who went abroad year after year, and many are now resuming the practice. It will be a sad experience for them, since they will compare the Europe of today with the Europe they knew before the war had brought such hardship to the people and such devastation to many areas.
What I really meant to convey was the fact that at one time I feared that groups of men from Congress who go on perfectly legitimate government research trips would learn little on these trips. But now I believe a great deal is learned by the majority of our government officials who serve in our legislative bodies and visit Europe. The same must be true in the Far East. I heard on every hand how interested the statesmen of other countries were in meeting our lawmakers, and I presume a good technique for translators has been evolved.
I see with interest that Senator Taft on his return not only praises General Lucius Clay's handling of the situation in Germany, but feels that there is no prospect of war. That is encouraging news for all of us.
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I received a most amusing document yesterday which, however, I am quite unable to read! It is a copy of one of my columns in a Japanese newspaper, in Japanese script. The only recognizable thing is the photograph which is used with my column and which is surrounded by Japanese hieroglyphics. Nor can I refer anyone who may be interested to the original source, for I can't even tell what the date is!