NOVEMBER 24, 1951
PARIS, Friday—I passed a rather different Thanksgiving Day this year—I was away from home.
At home it is a peculiarly family day, one when we all try to get together. In our churches and at our tables we give thanks, as did our Pilgrim fathers, for the harvests and for the good fortune which may have attended us individually or as a nation.
We, in the United States, have so much to be thankful for. We have but to leave our country for a short time to see how fortunate we are. We are free, even though at the present moment, because of our fears, we are not quite as free as we should be. Still, it lies in our own hands to preserve our freedom, intellectual and physical. We have had, I see by the papers, a better harvest than usual. There will be enough in our nation for us to eat, for us to export to other countries, to buy the things we need and, most priceless of all possessions, we will have enough to help other people in the world who are not as fortunate as we are.
Here in Paris prices go up just as they do at home, and wages have not kept step. Some time I am going to tell you about the Social Security system here, which is not based on a sound economic situation nor on the dignity of man, as I see it.
Prices have gone up with us and while wages have not gone up in commensurate fashion, still they have more nearly balanced up. And with a little determination on the part of our citizens we could prevent those interests which are now keeping our government from controlling prices from exerting the influence they do.
Unfortunately, it is the nature of man to be selfish and yet, in the interests of self-preservation, we should learn to be unselfish. One of the ways in which we must learn to be unselfish is in our international responsibility for human beings. That may lead us down strange paths and we may have to learn about conditions—economic and governmental—in many parts of the world, but we will still be dealing with the lives of human beings. And that is what must concern us if we are to be thankful and prosperous in the United States on future Thanksgiving Days.
The fight on poverty and disease is the fight which we, the people of the United States, want to be engaged in. The human race is one family, and the sooner we begin to teach our children that—and the sooner we begin to understand that nowhere in the world can we escape the results of conditions anywhere else in the world—the sooner will we be bringing about a time when Thanksgiving Day will be a day of world celebration, not just a day observed in the U.S.A.
Some of us who work together here in Paris at the United Nations General Assembly sessions observed the holiday together by dining in the Crillon where the U.S. delegates are housed. My granddaughter and Miss Thompson gathered what they could in the markets so we could make our Thanksgiving Day table look as much like home as possible. And we drank a toast to absent friends and family and were glad that those who work together in a foreign land could come together as Americans in our traditional celebration.