MAY 5, 1952
HYDE PARK, Sunday—My attention has been called to an article by Fulton Lewis Jr., entitled: "Uplifting Our Youth." The article is an attack on what Mr. Lewis calls nine "propaganda" booklets written for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the specialized agency known as UNESCO.
UNESCO does not, as Mr. Lewis says, exist on "our tax money." Every nation belonging to UNESCO pays its allotted share. Moreover, you will find not merely Americans working on the program, but people from all the nations of the world.
As for the booklets, I do not think that they advocate world government. I think what they advocate is what the United Nations stands for—cooperation among governments and peoples for peace in the world. I have never seen or heard in the United Nations a suggestion that we should love our own nation any the less. But everyone knows that, if future generations are to live in peace, they must have understanding of each other. That understanding cannot exist unless it begins with education at the earliest level.
Fulton Lewis says many things which are his own opinion, but he says them as though they were facts and therefore many people believe him. For instance, world government in actuality is not likely to exist during our children's lives, if ever. To try to scare us by saying that it would "allow the Russians legally to arrest and jail an American citizen" is complete nonsense.
We really need to know our own country and our own people better than most of us do. It would help us to fit ourselves to be better citizens of a world community, because it is always easier to understand other areas of the world if you have a real understanding of your own. Mr. Lewis speaks as though prejudice were something which existed only in other countries. As a matter of fact, what we need is a knowledge of what is good and bad in all countries. At the same time, it won't do us any harm in our young days to start to learn what things are similar and enjoyable in all countries. We will have to know soon enough what are the sad things which divide the world and make us suspicious of each other.
UNESCO is carrying on excellent work in educational, scientific and cultural fields. It is teaching fundamental education in many areas of the world where people would remain completely ignorant if it were not for this international organization. It would be well if Mr. Lewis, instead of picking out something he does not like, would get to know some of the people who work so hard in this organization, would study the things they do and be of help to them. He would discover the good things that are being done; and if he then found there were things that were not so good, perhaps he could help to change and improve them. Criticism without full knowledge can sometimes be very harmful, whereas real study and cooperation with an organization that is touching people in so many parts of the world can bring advice which may be of infinite value. I would urge Mr. Lewis to try to be helpful instead of being just critical.