OCTOBER 17, 1949
HYDE PARK, Sunday—The Freedom House awards to Gen. Lucius D. Clay and David E. Lilienthal were given in an atmosphere of genuine solemnity last Thursday before a distinguished audience. The dinner and entertainment were very pleasant, but it was at the same time a moving and deeply serious occasion. These two men have carried heavy burdens for their country. They have done it extremely well. Both of them have given service under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
To have been in charge in Germany during the period of the airlift must have meant a terrific strain. To have charge of anything as secret as our atomic energy development, at a time when the country seethes with hysteria, must also be a great strain. For a man under this strain to be able to write a book such as Mr. Lilienthal's recent "This I Believe" shows an inner calm and security which few men today possess.
On Friday afternoon I spent only an hour in my committee at Lake Success. I felt sorry to leave, but I had to go to New Britain, Conn to make a speech. Committee arguments had begun on the Polish resolution concerning the treatment of migrant and immigrant labor, particularly labor recruited among refugees or displaced persons. I heard the Polish speech, filled with the usual accusations against such countries as have taken in any refugees, and then the answer made by the United Kingdom delegate, Mrs. Castle. She is a member of Parliament in a district where there are many textile mills, and I thought she made a most convincing speech in favor of a substitute resolution which would simply refer the discussions on this subject to the International Labor Organization.
At their recent meeting this organization has, with great care, developed a convention spelling out in detail everything that has to do with this type of work. In addition, it has presented a recommendation which has exactly the same weight and covers much the same ground as does the Polish resolution. There seems to be little point in duplicating the work done by the ILO, on which expert representatives from labor, employer and government groups have worked. Committee Three is not composed of specialists in this subject, nor has it the time to go into the details which the ILO has done. The contention that there may be nations that will not ratify the convention is a good argument for urging every nation to do so, but one might as well say that there may be nations that would ignore the recommendations that are now in the Polish resolution if it should pass.
I reached New Britain in time for an 8:30 meeting, at which I spoke on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Afterward I went immediately back to the train and reached New York at one o'clock in the morning. Saturday morning there was a meeting at Lake Success of Committee Three, but by leaving at one o'clock I caught a 2:30 train which got me to the country around 4:15. The day was gray and made one begin to feel the November atmosphere, soft but not cold yet. The leaves are falling and the colors are growing less brilliant, but the country nevertheless is lovely still.