JANUARY 1, 1954
HYDE PARK Thursday—Here we are again facing a new year, and many of us will review the world situation and try to decide whether it is better than it was a year ago.
For the United Nations forces in Korea it certainly is better. The shooting war has come to an end, and for us in the United States the announcement by President Eisenhower that two divisions will be brought home from Korea was encouraging.
We hope that this action might mean that the President feels that there is a reasonable expectation that peace should develop in Korea. But, of course, it might only mean that a decision has been made to change the type of warfare that would be carried on if for any reason no peaceful agreement is reached in that area of the world and the war is resumed. On the other hand, it also might mean that even if no peaceful agreement is reached we feel that the United Nations line can be held by the use of more modern weapons with fewer men employed.
As a whole, the problems of Asia are not resolved and we still see great difficulties ahead. This would be infinitely easier, of course, if we were able in any way to alleviate the conflicts that exist between the United States and the Soviet Union. If it could be felt that the Soviet Union were not a constant menace, that it was not trying to communize the world but devoting itself to the development of those countries where it now holds sway, then the problems of Asia would become more soluble.
In the European picture some encouragement was reflected in a newspaper item published the other day. The United Nations some time ago invested 40 thousand dollars in research to improve the corn seed used in Europe. The result was a hybrid maize which increased Europe's corn crop by 60 percent and in cash value means an increase of 24 million dollars. That certainly was a satisfactory return on a rather small investment made by one of the U.N. specialized agencies. I hope this fact gains wide publicity because the accomplishment can be set forth in dollars and cents. So many improvements are intangibles that cannot be put into such concrete form.
On the whole, I think the outlook for Europe is better. An economic alliance seems hopeful, and I believe that we can look forward to better times in those areas which have for so long suffered. Germany has made a remarkable comeback in the economic picture.
There is still a major problem in Europe that the world sooner or later must solve, and that is the hard core of refugees. These are miserable people, too old or too sick to be accepted as desirable settlers in other countries, who are inadequately housed and inadequately cared for in many camps throughout the continent. Since the United Nations Refugee Organization went out of existence there is no single central agency to care for them.
In our own country each of us must assess his situation according to his own area of the country and his own occupation. And I have an abiding faith in the people of the United States and feel they will always find answers to their problems. We are a young people, energetic and resourceful.
For the new year, I think we must all have a collective wish for a more peaceful world and personally hope that we may in some way contribute to whatever efforts are made for peace throughout the world. All of us will wish for our families greater happiness and greater opportunities for service to our country and the world during the coming year. May 1954 be a year of peaceful development and achievement.