DECEMBER 14, 1950
NEW YORK, Wednesday—Generalissimo Franco could hardly have chosen a more inopportune time to stir up the question of the return of Gibraltar to the Spaniards. None among the free people of the West would, at the present time, like to see the entrance to the Mediterranean in the hands of any other nation than England. The British have used their dominating position at that spot wisely over the years. It is still necessary for Great Britain to have an unimpeded passage to their far-flung territories. But it is even more necessary to all the other free peoples of the world to know that passage into the Mediterranean is guarded by people who will remain loyal to liberty and democracy.
I read with real sorrow yesterday morning of the death of former Prime Minister Peter Fraser of New Zealand. He was just my own age and though I know one has lived a long life when one has spent 66 years on this planet, still it seems to me too soon for a man as valuable as Mr. Fraser to leave this troubled world.
My husband and I knew him when he was Prime Minister, and I saw him in New Zealand in the summer of 1943 when I went to the Pacific. There never was a more devoted and unselfish public servant and he will be missed not only in his own country but in the United Nations and everywhere else where his calm wisdom often has been of benefit to the leaders of other countries in the heavy tasks imposed upon them.
My last chance to talk with him was in Paris in 1948. I shall always think with pleasure of that opportunity and cherish the memory of his kindly, humorous approach to life.
In this day when there is so much confusion as to what we can do in our own country to uphold the government and promote democracy, it is really a wonderful thing to open a letter and to find in it some of the faith and courage that we need to meet the problems of today.
I am going to put down here, therefore, a few excerpts from a letter I received the other day.
"On the ninth anniversary of Pearl Harbor we write you to express our confidence in this nation's future. We shall have a long struggle and we shall never cease to fight until the last enemy of democracy has been beaten. In our generation everyone is a fighter, a fighter for the continuation of this nation, its beliefs, its principles and we are not afraid, who have seen in our time what courage can do. Your husband's life was an example not forgotten by the children who loved him. He taught us unswerving loyalty and that one must sacrifice something for one's country. We grew up under his tutelage and realize that we now must stand on our own feet. This privilege has been a very great factor in preparing us for the hardships of World War II and the possibility of another fight for a free world."
I think it is indeed most heartening to find in this younger generation such clear vision and courage, such acceptance of the fact that great things are worth fighting for. I think the young people who wrote this letter, a second lieutenant and his wife, know that it was not only in war with other countries that these things have to be fought for, but they have to be fought for at home and in peacetime. It is a threefold struggle which we face—military, economic and spiritual—and it is the spirit of the youth of our nation, as expressed in this letter, that will win all along the line.