MARCH 7, 1953
NEW YORK, Friday—Prime Minister Josef Stalin is dead! The man who was absolute ruler over 200,000,000 people for 29 years passed away at the age of 73.
The Russian people have always given their leaders a type of hero worship that attributed to them certain qualities almost amounting to Godliness. The love for the Russian land has given the name of Mother Russia to the country, and I can remember when people looked upon the czar, in spite of all their misery, as being "Little Father."
There is no doubt that Stalin seemed more than just a ruler to the people of Russia. He was the fountain from which flowed everything that improved their lot, and when they had to suffer they turned to him to alleviate their suffering. If he told them sacrifices had to be endured, they accepted his pronouncement in the way a good Christian accepts the sacrifices which his religion teaches him are made necessary in order for him to achieve salvation.
In both cases human beings must believe that chastisement comes from love. So one must feel sorry for the Russian people and yet hope that this change may bring them the benefits that some of the exiled Russians hope for.
I noticed that Countess Alexandra Tolstoy, Alexander Kerensky, and Mrs. Oksana Kasenkina expressed the hope that the passing of Stalin and its effect may be the opportunity from which more freedom and a better life may come to the Russian people.
Stalin was a strong man and a great leader. Many of us feel he did his people great harm, but he will now be judged by the only all-wise judgment. We can safely leave that judgment in the hands of the Almighty.
The United Nations just sent me some rather charming verses. They were written as a note of thanks for my work in the U.N. by someone who signed himself: "Just a Citizen." I would like to tell the author, if he or she reads this column, how much I appreciate the thought and the kindness expressed.
In my speech Wednesday night at the National Democratic Club of New York I urged them to do what I have often thought would be comparatively easy for those living in New York City, namely, to try to make more of the opportunity that lies at the door of all New York City citizens to get to know the rest of the world.
Here we have the permanent delegates from so many nations and we do not use the opportunity to make friends and find out about their countries. I hope that more of us will take advantage of this great opportunity.