MARCH 21, 1953
NEW YORK, Friday—Back in New York City from the sunny state of Florida, which now seems far distant, my first errand was to try and get my hair presentable again. Swimming in salt water does not preserve one's curl if it is artificial. My whole afternoon on Thursday, was spent at the office of the American Association for the United Nations, where I tried to catch up on mail and also attended an executive committee meeting.
My eldest son, James, flew in from the West Coast, and it is great fun having him stay with me. I hope we will have a weekend at Hyde Park together.
I was shocked on Wednesday to read in a New York City newspaper, which I bought at the Jacksonville, Fla. airport, of the death of Joseph Alsop of Avon, Connecticut. He married my cousin, Corinne Robinson, many years ago, and I have always thought of him as leading such a wonderful country life—busy but not too busy, and doing the kind of things that made his work a pleasure. He was always a useful and honored member of his community and his state.
Somehow old age and death seemed very far away from him and I was saddened to be reminded once again how quickly we can pass from this world into the next. It doesn't seem to matter whether you are young or old. Why, only yesterday I got word also of the very sudden death of one of the finest and sweetest young people I have had close contact with—my young housekeeper, Mrs. Nathaniel Freeman.
She had been in my cottage for 12 years. She took care of anything that was mine as though it belonged to her. Miss Thompson and I were both devoted to her, and we feel we have lost a trusted friend.
It seems somehow all wrong when someone whom you thought of as still so young suddenly makes the last journey that someday we all must make.
I see by the papers that Rep. Daniel A. Reed of New York has decided to give up his fight for immediate House action on his tax-reduction bill. This is in deference to President Eisenhower's insistence that the budget must be balanced before any tax reduction is made.
Representative Reed takes the position that, this being a campaign pledge, taxes should be reduced no matter what happens to our economy or to our defenses. Anyone of us, however, who did not evaluate that campaign promise for just what it was—a campaign promise—were more gullible than I believe the average taxpayer to be.
Most taxpayers are quite cognizant of the fact that as long as Russia will not take steps that would mean a greater sense of security for the rest of the world she holds a whip over us because we have to keep militarily strong. This includes as it must, foreign aid of all kinds because, without it, many areas of the world could not continue their military programs.
Economies can be made. They can be made in certain ways, but balancing the budget certainly is the most we can hope for at the present time. I don't think Representative Reed will find that many people in this country really believe that a campaign promise to reduce taxes was a very realistic promise—nor was it one that, in the sober period of accepting full responsibility for the policies of the nation, could possibly be carried out.