SEPTEMBER 25, 1950
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I learned a long time ago that politics makes strange bedfellows, but, until the dinner given by the City of New York to the delegates of the United Nations, I had not supposed that politics would make one forget one of the oldest of American traditions. This country has always been famous for its hospitality. If you invited a man, even though he was your enemy, you traditionally treated him as a guest, and during the time you were his host he was your friend. I know full well that this is not the tradition everywhere, and we have had guests in this country who have violated our rules of hospitality and, as guests, have said things derogatory to their hosts. That does not seem to me a very good reason, however, for doing the same thing.
I remember being told stories when I was young of how that spirit of hospitality sometimes led men at war in this country to very quixotic deeds, so I was very sad to see that the old-time tradition had been broken. Apparently, from the radio and newspaper accounts, there was applause from some of the people present and a sense of pride on the part of the speaker.
I think the United Nations meetings, or any forum where hospitality has not been offered, is a better place to cross swords with those to whom we feel we must say disagreeable things. At the present time, however, every word we say should be spoken with considered wisdom, for we are not trying to bring on a war but, rather, trying to find ways to peace. It is necessary for the proper people in the proper places to speak the truth, because only in facing the realities of the situation may we find ways on which to base the measures which first of all make it possible for us to live in the same world and deal with one another. Suspicion will long continue, I fear, for faith and confidence can only grow as we live and work together and find we are worthy of trust.
There is no ill feeling among us for individuals or for the people of the Soviet Union. Our quarrel is with the policies of high-placed government officials who wish to control the world and against whose plans the free peoples of the world must build complete resistance. It is a difficult role for the people of a country to show that they intend to be strong and resist, and at the same time to keep on showing to every individual with whom they come in contact that they have goodwill toward their fellow men and that they are doing nothing that leads to personal antagonisms.
When I heard the report on the radio at midnight of what occurred at this particular dinner, I was more than thankful that I had had to refuse the invitation to attend because of a previous personal engagement.