MAY 11, 1950
NEW YORK, Wednesday—From all accounts the President's trip is very successful so far, and I still think it will be most useful in enabling him to learn from the people what they think and feel. From the train come back stories of big crowds, with cars lining the roads, and people standing by the tracks to wave at the train as it goes by. From the people's reaction to what he says at his various stops, President Truman will soon know how they really feel. And that is useful to any man who has to make the big decisions that lie before the President of the United States.
There was a little item in the business section of one of our metropolitan newspapers the other day which should interest the average citizen, particularly the leaders in the labor movement.
The item stated that Tom M. Girdler, chairman of the board of Republic Steel Corporation, received a 1949 salary of $275,000. The company also made a pension payment to Mr. Girdler of $1,846. The headline said that his is the top salary in this field. There were other salaries listed, too, that seemed fairly substantial, running from $250,000 down to the paltry sum of $100,000.
Some organizations seem to be less generous in the matter of salaries. For instance, one of them gave their chairman only $122,378 in salary but they handed him a bonus of $175,000, which made, on the whole, a fairly tidy sum.
I never resent what anyone earns and I think everyone of these people probably merits what he gets. But I think they must accept the fact that the men who work in their organizations are going to expect a share to a certain extent in the same kind of benefits that the executives receive. In proportion to their earnings they are going to want pensions and bonuses, too!
It is discouraging to have the railroad strike coming up again and to have the lines curtailing their trains in the spring just as commuters and many other people begin to feel that it is rather pleasant to get off into the country for the weekend, or even for the day.
Driving up and down to Hyde Park on the parkway is really very lovely now, though apple blossoms and dogwood are not out yet. The cherry blossoms are out and many spring flowers rejoice your eyes.
I was glad to have such a beautiful day yesterday for the Prime Minister and the Begum Liaquat Ali Khan to drive up to Hyde Park. The Prime Minister had only a short time there to glance through the old house, for he had to go to West Point where he was to review the Cadet Corps and see the institution.
The Begum stayed on with me and looked with interest at everything in the library and in the house. Then we drove to my house after a short stop at Elliott's. Mr. and Mrs. Olin Dows joined us for lunch.
The Begum had another of her very lovely red dresses on yesterday and I think the graceful way in which they drape these silks over their heads is one of the most charming parts of the costume. She is as interesting as she is pretty and charming, and she told us many interesting things about her country and the work she is trying to do today.