FEBRUARY 3, 1950
CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Thursday—Near the tail end of our cross-country trip we managed last Sunday morning to drive to Franklin, Mich., where I made the acquaintance of a new grandniece. My brother's daughter, and my namesake, Mrs. Edward P. Elliott, has three small boys and there now is added a baby sister, who arrived just after they moved into their new and very modern house.
My nephew-in-law, Edward P. Elliott, is an architect and has done some very interesting work in modern style. He has made his own house not only modern in style but functional in every way, so I was much interested to see all the new devices that make a home easy and attractive to live in. I was afraid it might destroy the pleasant atmosphere of an old-fashioned house. But I was wrong, and there is much to be said for this modern type of house, which seems to bring the out-of-doors right inside.
My niece's mother, Mrs. John Cutter, from Boston, was staying with her and it was a joy to have a glimpse of her as well.
We motored back to Detroit in time to have lunch with Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Woolner, Mr. and Mrs. George Edwards and a few other friends before going on to Cleveland.
In Cleveland we attended an Americans for Democratic Action dinner in honor of my husband's birthday and later in the evening I spoke at a meeting.
Then we were back on the train bound for Poughkeepsie and home. But still we were pursued by that word "delay," which seems in winter to be one of the troubles faced by all methods of transportation whether you go by air, by train or by car.
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I liked the President's frankness the other day regarding the production of the new hydrogen bomb. It is perfectly obvious, of course, that no one can hold back discoveries in this area and it is equally obvious that all nations have the obligation to continue their efforts to come to some kind of an agreement on the control of atomic energy. But the exact time and manner in which certain specific things shall be done must be left to the President, who has available all of the information and the advice of those who are best informed. He carries a heavy responsibility and he is fully conscious of that responsibility. All of us must admire him for his willingness to accept it.
There was a very interesting article by Dr. James B. Conant in one of the newspapers the other day on the question of making decisions when new scientific discoveries are known. He felt that we should have a number of boards set up that would evaluate the advice of experts and then present a final report to the President.
This seems to me a very wise idea. He pointed out that experts can never be impartial, as they devote their whole time to a particular subject and cannot see it in relationship to other subjects.
I remember well my husband saying that it was of value to see all of the people who were especially interested in a particular idea or in a particular area. In the end the decision had to be made with all those ideas in mind and sifted through his own knowledge of the situation.
This is what happens for every President and the responsibility must at times seem almost more than a human being can bear.