SEPTEMBER 8, 1951
HYDE PARK, Friday—The reports from the San Francisco conference read exactly as I thought they would. The usual efforts on the part of the Soviets to delay were expected, and the delegates from other countries, tired of these tactics, quickly voted the stringent rules of procedure in spite of all Mr. Gromyko could do.
I smiled to myself when I read the story the other day in which Mr. Gromyko was reported as saying that he did not see what the hurry was to finish in a week. How often I have listened to similar remarks. The Russians always make you feel that you are at fault if you are in a hurry and they are willing to give all the time in the world to get a better job done. It took me a little while to discover that no matter how much time they had, the job was never "better done." In fact, it was never finished, and their delaying tactics are only a means to accomplish nothing. If you can accomplish nothing long enough, the organization will quite evidently become useless.
One of the newspapers said yesterday the way to make peace is to make it, and whether you think every provision of any treaty is perfect or not, a treaty that brings greater hope of stabilizing the world is worth adhering to.
In the few hours I spent in New York City on Wednesday, I had two rather interesting talks with taxicab drivers. One of them turned to me and said, "Look at what the President said about your boy friend, MacArthur."
The whole country is discussing it, and I certainly do not consider General MacArthur anyone's boy friend, so I responded that I thought the President had given the general the praise which was due him for the work he had accomplished. I had no further comment from my taxi-driver.
The other talk was a real human-interest story, which many individuals could repeat in their own experience. The poor man was so evidently distraught and unhappy that when he saw someone in his cab that he thought might be sympathetic, he couldn't help telling his story.
His wife had died after a long period of illness several years ago, and he had remarried. He had only one daughter, whom he adored, but she was not yet sixteen. After his marriage, trouble began and the man said how hard it was to keep a family peaceful, how difficult to make two women, both of whom he loved dearly, live together when one of them quite obviously must be an obedient and agreeable member of the family. He couldn't afford to send his daughter away to school; she wasn't a student anyway, but he wanted her to finish high school and she had two more years to go.
What could a poor man do? How many mothers and fathers have worried about their teenagers in just this same way?
That adolescent age is a difficult age to deal with. Sometimes one wishes that the young boy or girl who is behaving like a seven-year-old, even though years have been added onto them, could be punished as you would punish a seven-year-old. Instead, one must try patience and reason, and that requires a great deal of self-discipline.
I kept wishing that I had the wisdom of Solomon or of any of our friends who always know the right answers to such domestic situations.