JULY 20, 1949
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—It always amuses me to read how information is given out from Moscow. Whatever it is they wish us to know about, it is always something completely superlative. In Monday's newspapers they announced that their new jet planes were so fast that they streaked past and that no air force attaches who watched them could agree on their characteristics because of the speed!
Apparently at this annual Soviet Air Show the Russians demonstrated that jet planes were in mass production. After this exhibition it can no longer be said that the United States is the only country that announces that it spends large sums of money on military equipment, for everyone knows that to produce mass airforce equipment of this type costs huge sums of money.
On the same page with the announcement from Moscow in the paper that I was reading was a proposal made by the American Quakers that "the United States move to break the disarmament deadlock by offering to put atomic weapons "under the United Nations seal" and to halt the manufacture of fissionable materials—essence of both atomic weapons and atomic power—pending agreement."
This seems to me an almost naive proposal since the United States has a proposal before the UN that has never been changed. We have offered to put under the UN control of atomic weapons if an agreement could be reached on international inspection in every country on an equal basis. In addition, atomic weapons are not the only weapons that create destruction in a war. There are many other weapons that can wipe out populations and destroy cities and whole areas. So unless a general agreement under the UN can be worked out for inspection in every country, for all factories that might be used for preparation for war, there seems to me very little hope of doing anything really practical.
Suggestions that the United States do something by itself to weaken its own power when there is not enough power in the UN to protect either the United States or the other democracies in the world does not seem to me a practical suggestion at the present time.
There probably is no one in this country who would not like to see private gifts or government gifts go to Russia for humanitarian purposes. Suggestions that streptomycin be sent if it is needed in Russia would, I think, be welcomed here if there were any sign that there would be a reciprocal attitude on the part of the Soviets. By that I mean that when it came to the encouragement of cultural relations, there would really be some people sent to this country and some accepted from this country who would work in cooperation with people of similar interests to broaden the understanding between them and their nations.
In their report, the Quakers, of course, stressed their search for peace. The report shows the never-ending faith of the organization in the good that may be found in all human beings. The last paragraph of the report expresses their philosophy:
"History offers examples of moral conflicts between other great movements which in later generations, with the cooling of passions and the tempering of fanaticism, have found it possible to live in peace with each other."
We may well pray that the Quaker faith is justified.