FEBRUARY 23, 1950
NEW YORK, Wednesday—I spoke at noon yesterday at the Cosmopolitan Club on "The Responsibilities of a United States Citizen in 1950." In the evening I spoke in Yonkers for the women's auxiliary of St. John's Church, which is one of the oldest churches in the state. Here the subject was "The United Nations and Your Community."
The more I talk about our present responsibility and the need to feel that each one of us must carry our share of it, the more I realize that this must have been one of the things that George Washington had to impress on his followers. There are tales of how soldiers left the army in those days and went back to till their fields. How discouraged George Washington must have been when the troops evidently expected him to win their freedom, at the same time accepting none of the responsibility to do the work that the winning of freedom entailed!
We face the need today of keeping our freedom and it is going to require just as much individual strength and responsibility.
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Fifteen years in a Hungarian jail seems a long sentence for a crime which a man has so evidently been forced to confess. But that was the penalty meted out to Robert A. Vogeler, American businessmen.
His employer insists that he was not spying for them and certainly the State Department would know whether he had been spying for them.
The Englishman who was sentenced at the same time was committed for 13 years, but he also made the same kind of confession. In London at the Foreign Office they speculate on what kind of pressure was brought to bear to make him do so, so he was evidently not spying for his Foreign Office.
In the meantime, a break has come between the United States and Bulgaria because that country has refused to withdraw the conspiracy charges it made against United States Minister Donald R. Heath.
In this case, Mr. Heath is accused of having hidden a Bulgarian spy in the American Legation for six months. This really means a violation of international standards and pledges entered into in the past and which are supposed to be lived up to in international intercourse between nations.
I cannot help wondering whether there is any kind of pressure that the United States can bring to bear on these countries to actually bring home to them the fact that there are retaliations, short of war but nevertheless disagreeable, which can be meted out.
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The real No. 1 problem for most people today is the coal question. Some decisions must be reached before long. It is neither the coal operators nor the unions and John L. Lewis who will suffer. The people of the whole country will feel the loss of earning power as industries shut down. Also, with the weather giving us a touch of real winter at present, there will be plenty of people who will suffer from the cold.
Of course, strikes of this kind are bad for both the miners themselves and the mine owners because many people will feel that the solution is to use less and less coal and to urge all possible haste in developing new substitute materials.
Harry A. Winne of General Electric told us the other day on my television program that it would be some time before atomic energy could be used to produce power, but nothing will hasten these discoveries as much as the present situation in the coal industry.