MARCH 13, 1951
NEW YORK, Monday—Sometimes I think our Congress, despite its anxiety to win the fight against communism, overlooks some of the obvious ways to do it.
Not long ago a woman from Iran told me that when her country signed an agreement with the Soviet Union by which Russia was to deliver wheat to her country, the boats were loaded in the Caspian Sea and two weeks after the agreements were signed the wheat was in the hands of the Iranian people. This promptness made the agreement very much a part of the everyday life of the people and they were grateful for the quick response to their needs.
Days go by while we argue in Congress whether we shall give starving people in India two million tons of wheat. We have the wheat and without any question I think it will eventually go to India. But two things will mar the gratitude for the gift. One will be the slowness of delivery and the long discussion as to whether the shipment should be a gift or a loan. The other will be the speeches in which our representatives voice their resentment against the fact that India did not see eye to eye with the United States on the question affecting China in Korea. Some people would have had us use starving people as a whipping boy for the political action of their leaders—something which really does not appeal to any of us.
I wonder if we realize how strong a weapon we can make out of our economic policy if we use it to help the people of the underdeveloped nations to increase their well-being. Many people throughout the world are on a bare existence diet and we have surpluses. We are building up our military power so that we may defend ourselves against communism. We are helping to build up the military power of other nations for the same reason. We should not be so shortsighted as to neglect building up the economies of other nations as quickly as possible. We should do this now, particularly to show that we seek no territorial gains but that our offers to help are signs of pure goodwill to all men.
We cannot assume that our moral and spiritual leadership is above question, so we must not neglect doing the things that make that moral and spiritual leadership more evident to the world.
On my television program yesterday we touched on the problems of inflation, but the discussion between the Director of Price Stabilization, Michael V. DiSalle, and James B. Carey of the CIO was largely on the question of whether prices ever were going to be under any kind of control or whether there was any valid reason for labor's action in walking out on Defense Mobilizer Charles E. Wilson.
Mr. DiSalle explained that he had been sworn in barely three months ago and in that time has had to acquaint himself with what all will acknowledge is a difficult job. But he said that he felt in another three months prices would begin to show the results of his industry-by-industry effort to stabilize.
Mr. Carey made it clear that labor did not feel it had had a chance to carry an equal burden in establishing an overall policy. Therefore, labor leaders did not want to be held responsible for what they considered policies which were costing the public and the wage earners an increasingly large part of their income while a few people were protected and able to make big profits.