APRIL 24, 1954
NEW YORK, Friday—I would like to tell you something about our visit to Huron, South Dakota, this week. Mr. Eichelberger put in the afternoon with local workshop groups, but at six o'clock we went over to the arena for a dinner preceded by a reception. We greeted the 668 people who dined on the floor of a big gymnasium owned by the school board. There was a short program at the end of the dinner at which Mr. Eichelberger spoke and Mr. York Langton explained our hope for national memberships and asked everyone to sign the membership cards that were at the tables.
During the whole dinner the seats on the balcony surrounding the floor began to fill up. High school students had been asked as guests but there were many others and it was finally estimated that for the evening meeting there were between 3,000 and 4,000 present. The population of the city is 14,000 people, so we seemed to have gathered in a fair proportion from Huron as well as from other areas of this state.
There had been an editorial in the local paper welcoming me very kindly but saying that I would be just as welcome if I came to talk on any of the subjects brought up on my magazine page, since most of the people of the area felt that the United Nations was of little value. I was told that this attitude was not peculiar but was an attitude followed by many of the papers of the state.
That was a challenge, for much as I like to be welcomed personally, I do not like people to think that I have come to talk to them about a dead issue. I am firmly convinced that if people know of the work being done by the United Nations they will realize that this organization is very much alive and that its work to create better understanding in the world is going on all the time.
I was on the air for half an hour during my evening speech and later my whole speech was rebroadcast by the Yankee network, so at least some information about the United Nations I hope reached a number of South Dakota citizens and they need not feel so hopeless as their newspapers would indicate. In doing a recording with the women broadcasters from nearby cities I found that they were going to obtain information and furnish some occasional facts on the air during their regular programs.
After the evening meeting was over we had a very good question period and then the first board meeting of the state association was held in Mr. Eichelberger's room in the hotel. I think and hope that the organization in the state will proceed to grow.
Thursday morning, Mr. and Mrs. York Langton, Mr. Eichelberger and Miss Baillargeon and I had breakfast with three ladies who had worked so hard to start the state organization: Mrs. Headley, the state president, and the lady who was in charge of the arrangements of the dinner, and Mrs. Howard who had been at our meeting in Washington.
I am delighted to find that both the Farm Bureau and the Farmers' Union are on the board of the state association and on the way to the plane we were invited to stop and see the headquarters of the Farmers' Union.