NOVEMBER 2, 1951
En Route To PARIS, Thursday—Mrs. LeRoy Russell, a reporter on the Cincinnati Post, writes me of a plan that she has started singlehandedly through her newspaper. She calls her effort "A plan for Lasting Peace."
She has asked all the churches that have bells to ring them everyday at noon for two minutes. She says more and more churches, since launching this idea on August 31, have joined in, and factory whistles and fire sirens now can also be heard. All people of all creeds are asked to pause and pray for lasting peace during these two minutes.
She has also asked all churches to remain open during daylight hours so that anyone who wishes to go in and pray for lasting peace may do so. And she has asked all those who do voice a prayer to write and ask their friends and relatives to start this going wherever they may be, in this country or anywhere in the world.
This idea may very well spread, but I am a little skeptical as to how much cooperation Mrs. Russell will really obtain. Until her letter came to me I had never heard of the idea. Nevertheless, it seems to me a good one and one that might tend to make us all think more frequently of the desire for peace and perhaps lead us to act in a way that would bring about peace. Every effort to awaken people's thoughts in the interests of peace is worthwhile.
That is one reason why I am interested in the Zagreb peace conference, which was called by the National Committee of Yugoslavia for the Defense of Peace. Some Americans who are frankly pacifist are in attendance there, and I know that one or two are inclined to be sympathetic to ideas that are not universally held in the United States. To many of us they seem far to the left. But I hope the representation from the U.S. is a strong and reliable one which will really express how we feel on the question of peace and what we are going to do to attain it.
The proposed agenda sent out by the Yugoslav committee was as follows:
- Tendencies toward domination and lack of respect for the principle of equality among all nations, both great and small, as one of the fundamental reasons behind the danger of war.
- Condemnation of all forms of aggressive pressure and every act of aggression.
- Reduction of all types of armaments.
- Struggle for the application of the principles of the United Nations Charter.
- Assistance to underdeveloped countries and the free development of international economic cooperation.
- Cultural cooperation on the basis of mutual respect for the culture of each nation.
Discussion of these points covers most of the differences that appear among nations and many of the causes of war. The danger always is that delegations that do not represent the government officially may not seem very impressive to other delegations. But I think it may be useful if the people who go to this conference bring back a clear picture of how they felt about the other nations' representatives and their arguments. And they should be able to put across for us a little better picture of the way the people think and feel in America so that other people may understand and trust us more.