DECEMBER 24, 1949
HYDE PARK, Friday—Many pros and cons have appeared in the press on the subject of the broadcasts in New York's Grand Central Station, so I noticed them as I came through on Wednesday evening. I can't say they excited me a great deal. There is usually so much noise there that I hardly noticed the additional noise.
The one thing that did strike me, however, was to hear over the radio yesterday morning of the attempt to dynamite the United Automobile Workers union headquarters. I am glad that the FBI is looking into whether any Federal laws are being violated. I hope they find this sort of behavior is worth investigation by all the law-enforcement agencies that exist in the United States.
In Walter and Victor Reuther we have two fine labor leaders. Both are fortunate to be alive today. Walter is capable of understanding the economic situation and of looking at the broad, worldwide questions before us today with as much background and knowledge as many industrialists have. His trip around the world, working in so many different countries, has given him an intimate knowledge of the peoples of many countries. He probably understands the actual mechanism of their economies better than many an industrialist who has been able to cover the same countries but who has seen them from a different point of view.
To allow any people to go on attempting to kill off either our industrial leaders or our labor leaders, to destroy property, to attempt to terrorize the men, and most surely to give their families grave anxiety, seems to me altogether outrageous. I hope that this latest attempt will awaken all of our law-enforcement bodies to the fact that there must be some cleverly organized gang at work and that no one is really safe until the culprits are discovered and stopped.
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On the train coming up on Wednesday night Miss Thompson and I went into the diner to eat, and at the table opposite us there were two gentlemen discussing Russia. Their voices carried well and I could not help being much interested in their views.
One gentleman said that he was not sure the Russians had the atom bomb. I heard him say that what was really necessary was that more Russians come over here and see how we live and what we have.
I agree with him 100 percent, but I wonder if he realized what happens to the delegates to the United Nations General Assembly who come here session after session. Mr. Vishinsky and a few others accept occasional invitations after careful thought from the top people in the United Nations. Most of the others, who sit in committees not quite so important as committee one or the Security Council, rarely accept any invitations.
Sometimes they do not even bother to answer questions asked them in or out of committee sessions. They never mix with other delegates. Perhaps they cannot talk English well enough to do it easily, but the Russians are supposed to pick up languages with great ease. Some of the delegates have been here a good many times and still they insist that everything anyone says to them must be translated, and they themselves speak in Russian.
I wish I knew Russian. If I were younger I would try to learn it, for I hate not being able to talk directly to people.
But even then I do not think it would be possible to establish any personal relationships. And if the delegates see no more of the life over here and make no more friends among us than they do at present, what could we expect from any other Russian groups or organizations who might be permitted by their government to come to this country on a brief visit of inspection.
I'm afraid the gentleman of the train doesn't quite have the answer.