JULY 19, 1951
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—According to an announcement, the little lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge on the Manhattan side will be sold on Friday by the Coast Guard. I was never very conscious of this lighthouse before, but I have been deluged with letters begging me to try to induce Robert Moses to buy it for the New York City Park Service. Apparently this miniature lighthouse has really appealed to the imagination of New York City children.
I do not see why any private individual or concern would want to buy this lighthouse. One condition of sale is that it must be removed from the place where it stands and the ground cleared of all debris without assistance from the government. That seems to me quite a job, and in the interests of economy I think it would be much better if the city park system took it over and turned it to some useful purpose for the enjoyment and instruction of children.
If one could buy the ground and leave it where it is, I think it might be fun to make a one-room house out of it and live down by the river. I am told, however, that isn't a very practical idea, and so I shall join with the children in hoping that some of the city fathers may decide not to be practical and to let the children have a lighthouse as they seem to enjoy it.
It is somewhat amusing and ironic that Great Britain and France are urging the United States not to enter into any military pact with Franco Spain.
I can recall when there was so much talk about what our attitude should be in the case of civil war in Spain. At that time, if I remember correctly, Great Britain was most anxious to keep us neutral between the Loyalist government and the Franco revolutionary movement. It was not till Franco accepted German and Italian troops that the British decided he might not be such a good influence and began to question whether neutrality was entirely wise. By that time it was too late and the Loyalist government went down. Something must have happened now to make France and England not so anxious to support Generalissimo Franco.
I can understand why our military people think it would be an advantage to have air bases in Spain. If we can gain concessions to the right to establish airfields, I think it may be an added strength to General Eisenhower's efforts to unite Western Europe against communism.
But I have no great liking for any type of dictator and, as yet, we have seen no real effort on the part of Franco to make reforms in Spain that would give the people more say in their own government.
These signs begin to be in evidence in Yugoslavia and I am all for doing what we can to protect Yugoslavia from any aggression and to encourage her to go forward with all reforms that grant greater liberty to the individual citizen.
I think our attitude in Spain should not be to please the present regime at any cost. It should be one existing on a strictly business basis. We want bases; we will give in return something that will be of benefit to the Spanish government and its people—we hope.
We do not like that government and until it begins to make certain reforms, we will continue to have whatever dealings we have with it on a business basis only and we will not hide our disapproval. This, I think, is an honest and fair position to take.