JULY 19, 1950
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—I received a letter the other day begging me to use my influence to prevent our government from using atom bombs in the present Korean war. This drew my attention to the fact that most of our people do not realize that the United States is not fighting a war for itself. It happens to be fighting for the United Nations in order to establish the right that free nations cannot be invaded and taken over, even by a part of their own nation which happens to be under the domination of another country.
General MacArthur is not merely a United States commander, he is commander of the United Nations forces, and what is done is done for the United Nations and not for the United States. This Korean situation may seem to many people unimportant, but it is important to everyone of us if we wish to establish a world in which freedom is possible. Until all nations disarm, and force is exclusively in the hands of the United Nations, those of us who have force must respond when the United Nations, by a majority vote, decides that a nation has become an aggressor.
In the present Korean situation we had already, at the request of South Korea, withdrawn most of our arms and our men. This means that to defend South Korea and force the Northern Koreans dominated by the USSR to return to the 38th parallel, we are now obliged to fight with inadequate forces. Other nations, as far as they are able, are coming to our assistance. And no matter what we are forced to do in this initial period, we will be re-armed and we will win.
Some time ago I made an allusion in my column to the fact that in the Ozark mountains there were places in need of better schools, better roads, better libraries. I did not differentiate between various parts of these mountains and, as a result, an immediate protest arrived from the Ozark Playgrounds Association, explaining that there are many parts of this area which they considered very far advanced with excellent schools, roads and libraries. I apologize because, of course, I know that. Neither did I make clear that I am extremely conscious of the fact that in my own state of New York there are places where we have poor schools, poor roads and poor libraries.
I tend too much to think of the whole United States as one, and forget that if I pick out for mention the needs or shortcomings of any particular section, the people of that area are apt to think that I am not conscious of the needs of my own section where I happen to live. I had received a plea for books, and my main thought was to direct the attention of people who have books to areas of the country where school and public libraries would be glad of additional ones. This is true of many parts of the country, so if you find your shelves getting too full, remember to distribute your excess in different places! I hope the Ozark Playgrounds Association will accept my apology, and forgive my not making a more careful differentiation in my previous column.