JUNE 28, 1951
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I spent most of yesterday playing a part in the welcome for President Galo Plaza Lasso of Equador. I have begun to feel that with television and radio interviews and United Nations activities that I really have a personal acquaintanceship with the president and a personal interest in him.
The plenary session called for him at Flushing Meadows Tuesday morning was held in the small room used as a committee room during the General Assembly sessions. The President of the General Assembly, Nasrollah Entezam of Iran, welcomed him. President Plaza responded with a very good speech, after which he held a press conference while the rest of us greeted and chatted with many acquaintances. Then we all had luncheon in the delegates' dining room. I bade President Plaza good-bye out there though I hoped I would see him again and have the good fortune to meet his wife at the reception in the afternoon at the Waldorf-Astoria. When I arrived rather early he and his party had not yet shown up. We were greeted by the Equadorian consul and a very kind and attentive group of people, and after chatting for a while, I felt in all probability the president would be relieved to shake one less hand, so I slipped out and went back to the hotel to get ready for my return to Hyde Park.
In between my return from Flushing and going to the reception I spent an hour with the young editors which the magazine, Mademoiselle, gets together from the various colleges for the month of June. These young women asked me some of the most intelligent questions that have come my way in a great number of meetings. It is always rather exciting to find that young people are so keen and so understanding of the world problems that confront their generation.
I think, on the whole, that I get a far greater sense of courage from the younger generation than I do from their elders. It should be the reverse, of course, but it may well be that the flexibility of youth makes change easier to accept.
I received a letter today from the wife of the owner of a "Drugstore on Main Street, U.S.A." and I think excerpts are worth quoting.
She says, in part: "The removal of fair trade will cause economic havoc in our country. Fair trade means fair prices, not high prices. Without fair-trade protection a small merchant cannot compete with the large predatory department stores. It would immediately eradicate Main Street from every village and hamlet of the U.S.
"If that is the type of free enterprise we want then we are playing into the hands of monopoly and big business. The large-city department stores can sell their fair-trade merchandise below cost and make up the difference on a large variety of unknown brands. The small distributor, however, who sells only one commodity, whether it be drugs, liquor, hardware, shoes, jewelry, or rugs, has no recourse but to go out of business.
"No one benefits by cut-price, dog-eat-dog tactics, or milk at three cents a quart. Sooner or later the consumer suffers economically because he is indirectly affected in no matter what capacity he may contribute to our economy."
A pretty good statement, it seems to me, which ought to make some of our legislators look into this situation.