JANUARY 3, 1949
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Out here in the country the driving is so precarious that just as soon as we had heard the new year rung in over the radio on Friday at midnight and had made our usual toasts and New Year's wishes, our party broke up. As a result, for me, the New Year's Day began with a greater sense of pleasure when my two little dogs began to stir and tell me plainly that it was time that I bestirred myself and took them for their usual early morning walk!
It is worthwhile waking early in winter because the sky is nearly as beautiful at sunrise as at sunset. I have been lucky enough to see it a number of times in the last few weeks and each time I wished that we could return more or less to some of the habits of our earlier ancestors who, when the fire died down and they no longer could see by that light, went to bed and, therefore, woke earlier in the morning!
Now that the new year has begun, one reads the more serious writers on the international scene and one feels more and more keenly how important this year of 1949 may be to civilization.
I become more and more convinced that item number one on our agenda must be an understanding in the East-West situation that will make not just armistices and truces possible throughout the world, but real peace.
Our economy and Germany's economy would benefit by real peace. The same is true of Greece; the same is true of Israel; the same is true of Indonesia, and certainly the same is true of China.
This peace waits because the East and West cannot reach a point of agreement. Confidence that will enable the building up of strength of a tangible military kind in the United Nations and give the breathing space that is essential to the economic situation in the various countries must be provided shortly to achieve that real peace.
Our own newspapers say that forecasts for business for the coming year are very favorable. That does not mean, however, that we can continue tremendous military expenditures and the support of economies the world over without feeling the strain in our own country.
These two points of the foreign and domestic situation are very closely tied together and our domestic well-being is dependent to a great degree on the wise solutions obtained in the international field.
The best brains in our country should be called upon in these coming years to make a contribution from the point of view of the worldwide situation. I doubt if it can be done by the U.S. Congress alone or by any administration without some kind of bringing together and cooperation of people on a world basis to evaluate the situation both from an economic and a military standpoint and to map the steps that must be taken to meet the situation wisely.