JANUARY 22, 1954
NEW YORK, Thursday—Schools are of the utmost importance to us in the United States at the present time. Our population cannot compete numerically with that in many countries of Asia or behind the Iron Curtain, particularly in the Soviet Union. Our strength has always been in better education and a particular inventive and mechanical genius which was peculiar to the U.S.
We have to face the fact that the Soviet Union, according to the statistics I saw lately, is graduating more scientists and giving opportunity for higher education to more of its citizens than we are in the United States. Schools are always the first essential in good education because a good grounding is the only way that one can be sure that higher education can be used to advantage by those who achieve it.
We now give a great many scholarships in colleges and universities and it is possible for really able young people to earn their way and win scholarships so that they can achieve the educational standards needed for the occupations or professions they wish to enter. It may well be, however, that we are not doing enough in the field of higher education, for it always seems a great waste when any of our young people who are really able are denied, because of financial reasons, the opportunity for whatever education they are capable of absorbing and using to advantage.
The future of our country depends on our being able to hold our advantage in the areas of invention and production, since we cannot hope to compete in mere manpower.
A few days ago I received a letter from Mr. Lawrence Mayers telling me about the peace essay contests which he has sponsored for young people between the ages of 16 to 20. He is being urged to continue these contests, so he has written a number of people asking suggestions for this year's theme, since he is particularly anxious to appeal to young people living in countries bordering on the Iron Curtain, such as Yugoslavia, Sweden, West Germany, Iran, Pakistan and Japan. One suggestion that has come in was "What Can the United States Do In Your Region to Promote the Cause of World Peace?"
The public would be interested, I think, in the winning essay for this year which was in the form of a letter to the President of the U.S. on "Peace and How To Achieve It Through the United Nations." You can obtain copies of this by writing to Mr. Lawrence S. Mayers, P.O. Box 77, New York 1, New York.
The more interest the public takes in this type of educational project, the more interest there will be among our young people to compete and do the studying and research that is necessary which provides them with such excellent preparation for more active participation later as citizens.