APRIL 26, 1951
GENEVA, Wednesday—It was good news to read on Monday that Robert Vogeler will be released from prison and returned to his wife and children. It must have been a great strain for her all these months.
It will be interesting to know what "just demands" were made on the United States which our country was able to accede to. These negotiations have gone on for a long time, and I imagine the whole situation will make a great many Americans less anxious to carry on business in areas behind the Iron Curtain.
There does not seem to be any assurance, either, as to the exact date on which Mr. Vogeler will be freed. Until he is released and gives an account of what he has been through, there will continue to be a certain reservation in our gratification at Hungary's promise to send him back to his family.
It is interesting to note that in both Great Britain and the United States there are differences of opinion that are causing violent discussions. The argument in the United States is largely on foreign policy, but has not been the cause of any serious split between the members of either the Republican or Democratic party. General MacArthur has been more or less adopted by the Republican party as their white knight, and so they agree with him on his statements of policy, at least for the present.
In Great Britain, however, the Labor government is really facing a serious split, which may lead to a change of government. As Prime Minister Clement Attlee pointed out, the budget item suggesting that individuals should pay part of the cost of dentures and eye glasses, while it may have been the last straw, is not the root of Aneurin Bevan's difficulty. In his letter of resignation the Minister of Labor stated that he felt the expenditures for military preparedness were much too great and could not be put through without great extravagance. This is a much more serious difference than the other. There is no question that the people of Britain, as well as the people of other countries, would like not to have to put such a large percentage of their income into military preparedness.
The people of the United States would be delighted to reduce that item in their budget, but if war should come because a nation is weak and possibly inviting attack, nothing that went on in a welfare state or any other kind of a state could continue. There can be no health program if a nation is no longer free to choose along what path it is going. And if the economy of a country is not sound and able to pay for projects which that country undertakes, then the projects are useless because they cannot be put through.
On the whole, it always seems to me that the people face the realities of a situation with greater courage and honesty than do some of the leaders. In this particular case, I do not think Mr. Bevan has been very realistic. The people of Great Britain know that they have to be strong themselves. Only by showing their will to self-defense will they gain the cooperation that is essential to safety.