APRIL 17, 1952
NEW YORK, Wednesday—It is most depressing day after day to read in the papers of the loss caused by floods in the Mississippi and Missouri river areas. This has been happening year after year, and I can remember how the National Resources Board and my husband tried to make plans that would eventually mean not only control of these waters but the use of these waters for the benefit of the people of these areas.
Capturing and diverting the flood waters for the good of the people, of course, would mean heavy initial expenditures but why are we so shortsighted that we cannot see that the accumulation of loss over the years has been far greater than any expenditure which would stop this loss? All I can surmise is that our Congress is thinking selfishly in terms of being able to make a record for economy and of shifting the responsibility to somebody else for making a decision to spend the money now. Not enough thought, it seems to me, is given to the future years that could be made happier and safer for thousands of people who live in the areas now inundated.
We seem to have no consideration for the fact that we are letting good top soil be swept down these rivers year after year. Before long this alone will cost us far more than anything we might spend on control. We should have learned long ago to think in terms of the future. This shortsightedness on the part of Congress and the lack of willingness to accept responsibility—brought about by a desire to earn praise from people who think only in terms of the present and not of the future—is a great disservice to the country as a whole.
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The Presidential primary races now going on are certainly giving a great many people much food for conversation. I saw someone the other day who said he had made up his mind not to mention politics to anyone between now and the conventions, because it seemed so futile to keep on talking about who was ahead in the primaries. It was much better, he thought, to wait until the final decisions were taken at the conventions and then make up his mind as to how to vote.
I can't help thinking, however, that discussion of the candidates during the primaries is well worthwhile. There are so many points to be considered that the ultimate choices of both the Democrats and Republicans are important. The right of people to help nominate candidates is one we should be vitally interested in, and I am glad to see the interest everyone is taking in the primaries this year.
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I am amused by an editorial in one of our newspapers, which speaks of the fact that India has succeeded in getting the Soviets to recall their Tass correspondent because of protests India made against distorted Moscow broadcasts. The editorial writer thinks we should have done the same thing and calls Tass correspondents here spies for Russia.
The Soviets, on the other hand, call many of our correspondents who tried to gather news for the United States "spies for the U.S." If we send Tass correspondents home, the Soviets will send our correspondents home.
We are the chief exponents of freedom of the press. Perhaps that is why we are reluctant to bar any correspondents, even those that we feel may be doing a considerable amount of spying in the course of their work.