MAY 19, 1952
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I always enjoy seeing the great battleships of our Navy when they are in the Hudson River, and I particularly like the picture of the battleship Missouri coming in past the Statue of Liberty. To come in by the Statue of Liberty always gives me a thrill, for it reminds me of what that statue has meant to hundreds of thousands of people who have come to this country. So many of them came looking for freedom. Some came to worship in a new world as they pleased, others to have political freedom—but always it was freedom that everybody stressed and that each one was willing to work hard to achieve. Many died to settle this country and many more have died defending it. For that reason, we who are the citizens of this country should be very sure today that we uphold and assure to all the freedom that the Statue of Liberty promises and which everyone of us should cherish.
I was interested to have a thoughtful foreigner say to me the other day that the United States could always be counted upon to think on a worldwide scale for three years, but on the fourth year she could be counted on to think only about her own affairs. I am afraid we cannot afford to do that exclusively any longer. It is well for us to think about our own affairs all the time, but we can't ignore what is happening so rapidly in the rest of the world.
I notice in a recent magazine interview that General Eisenhower remarked that a government should not let its people starve to death, but the measures taken to meet an emergency must not be allowed to become accepted as the normal rights and protections of individuals. This is not an exact quotation, but in substance represents the gist as I read it. I think he is right, and I hope many of the emergency measures that were used to pull us out of the depression have gone into oblivion forever.
That depression, however, pointed to the need of much greater wisdom in the management of our overall economic situation. We cannot afford to allow our country to get into a situation such as we faced in the early '30's. This means constant alertness and the wisdom to look ahead and to assess economic conditions at home and abroad. I also think it means a growth in our own self-confidence. We have for long been accustomed to thinking that we were not as important as some of the other great powers, either in the political or economic field. Now that we are more important and can make decisions, we are sometimes disturbed at having to make them, and find ourselves not ready to stand up and take the responsibility of setting world policy.