AUGUST 25, 1949
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—There evidently still is a hope that some compromise can be worked out in this session of Congress whereby a bill for Federal aid to education can be passed. I am so anxious to see Federal aid go to the essentials in education that I would welcome such a step. On the less important matters, I hope that these Federal funds will be small, since the essential work is the equalization of educational opportunity.
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I was sorry that Sir Harry Lauder, the singer, is seriously ill at his home in Scotland. When I went down the Clyde River during the war, he came to Brown's Shipyard and sang a song in which the workers all joined. It was one of the many moving scenes which easily come to my mind when I recall that trip. I had heard him sing often in this country, but he then was already elderly and I felt he had made a great effort to come to meet me. I was deeply grateful.
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The forest fires seem to be raging all through the Northwest and apparently they also have been very bad in France. There have been droughts in Europe as well as in this country and this is the season when everyone should be very cautious in any wooded area. Fires can easily be started and are costly in many ways even when they do not reach inhabited sections.
We read about these fires in our country almost every year, but I do not think we realize the cash loss. We are haggling now over military aid to Europe, but we never seem to understand that through our carelessness, we frequently waste far more than we spend. Through forest fires, house fires and because of our indifference, hundreds of millions of dollars are lost every year.
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I hope the Congress will hear from the people, now that the President has made his appeal to them. Military aid to Western Europe is a realistic way of helping those democracies back to the point where they feel they are able to defend their countries from invasion.
This is essentially a safeguard for us. We do not want anyone to hanker after a war, but our surest way of preventing war is to make sure that it is not worthwhile for anyone to start attacking.
There are a great many problems today which a few short years ago we never would have dreamed we would have to solve.
Among them is the thorny question of aid to the United Kingdom. You hear some people say: "Why should we bolster a Socialist economy when we are opposed to Socialism?"
The answer seems to me quite simple. We must bolster an economy in a nation, which together with its dominions, is a strong ally in times of stress for all democracies and which, therefore, is a strong ally for us. We cannot let that nation lose its strength as a great power.
If we do, it will put a great burden on us, the burden of making us the first line of defense, should we ever have to go into a shooting war again.