AUGUST 17, 1949
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—Yesterday morning was as foggy as could be. It might have been a November day, and I thought we were in for rain. Instead, it cleared up early and the sun was burning through by noon.
At one o'clock when I started on my drive to Salisbury, Conn., to speak to the students at the Institute of World Affairs, Inc., it was a beautiful day. That part of Connecticut is hilly, there are woods and rocky pastures and plenty of little streams and lakes. Just beyond the village of Salisbury, which has great charm, we turned off the main highway and went meandering along country roads until we reached the camp, which is run under the direction of Prof. William Y. Elliott of Harvard.
Students are chosen from colleges all over the United States and are about equally divided between American and foreign students. They spend two months working together, studying specific areas of foreign policy. I thought they were an exceptionally well-informed and interesting group—about 20 young men and 15 girls. They have English, French and Spanish classes, all taught by the students, and I was told that these are, in large part, conversation groups. That isn't a bad way to learn a language, however, and I gather that foreign students learning English make greater progress. This is natural, I suppose, since they are surrounded by English-speaking people wherever they go.
Some of the foreign students are being prepared to enter American universities. The girl from Korea, for instance, has been here since last February. When she came she could not speak any English and now she will be able to follow her work very easily.
We discussed the United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights and there was a great interest in all the problems surrounding the writing and accepting of such a document. There also were a number of questions asking what would happen in the states which abstained. Were they bound by any of the standards set in the Declaration? I had to answer that quite evidently they are not, since they did not accept. But the students seemed to feel that it was going to be difficult to have certain countries refuse to live up to the standards recognized in others.
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The first free vote in Germany seems to have brought out a very large group. According to our papers, twenty-four million people voted. That was a tremendous number, and it is particularly interesting to see them swinging to the right and rejecting both communism and socialism. It looks as though our military government had followed the wishes of the majority of the people in Germany in its own problems. The Communists seem to have little influence in Western Germany.
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It is encouraging to read in the financial sections of the metropolitan newspapers a slightly more optimistic viewpoint. One hopes that the July survey, which finds unemployment levelling off, is merely a beginning of renewed employment and that with a little optimism abroad some of our industries will return to normal employment policies. This would show that they are regaining confidence that our economy can stabilize itself.