JULY 28, 1952
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I want to say a word of thanks to the many kind people who sent me letters and telegrams about my speech at the Democratic convention. Some people seem to think I was staying at the convention and took it for granted that, like many others, I was seeking some kind of political position. I am flattered that they should even think of wanting me for an active post in the Democratic party. But I long since made up my mind that as long as there was work to do in the United Nations, and I was offered the opportunity, that was where I wanted to put my energies. When that opportunity is no longer open to me, then it will be time enough for me to look around for other ways in which to work—if I have not reached the point where I can no longer work at all, which, at my age, is a possibility one has to envision.
Now I want to say a word in answer to some of the critical telegrams I received. They are the ones I always read with the greatest care. I notice these telegrams are not all actuated by political reasons, but one lady says: "Peace without God will never endure. I have yet to hear you mention His name. Why? Cannot God's name be mentioned at the United Nations?"
This lady cannot have listened to me very often, since I have mentioned God's name many times in connection with the efforts made throughout the world for peace. Let me assure you that God's presence is keenly felt in the U.N. But different religions worship God under different names and in different ways with different customs. Therefore the U.N. meetings open with a moment of silence. I have told many correspondents who have written me on this subject that I doubt very much if anyone serving in the U.N. ever goes to a meeting without a prayer in his heart. Although God is not mentioned in the U.N. meetings as God, you must not think He is not present there. He is present under different names, and we must respect each other's religions where so many of us come together in the same spirit of cooperation and desire for peace.
One telegram from Houston, Texas, stated that I should have noticed that "under Federal concentration of power (we) have lost both human and state rights." I wonder if this is not a slight exaggeration?
Several telegrams reflect the bitterness that people feel who have lost husbands or sons in the Korean war. They ask if I have lost any of my sons in a "Democratic" war, as though wars were either Democratic or Republican. As far as I know, all wars have been American wars. All my sons fought in the last war, not having been old enough to fight in 1918, and they fought in dangerous places. I thank God they came home safely, but I well know the suspense and fear that exist for anyone with men at the front. I would only ask these anguished people very gently the question, How else would you have acted, what else would you be doing now?