JUNE 7, 1954
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I went to Philadelphia on Thursday for a few hours, and drove back over the new turnpike which makes it almost as quick to reach Philadelphia by car as by train. Perhaps in heavy traffic it would be exasperating, but in the middle of the night it was a wonderful way to come home. I was very grateful to Sam Kenin for arranging the trip in his car.
A new press award committee, called "The William the Silent Award Committee," has sent me information about this year's awards. This is a Dutch award, as the name implies, and is given to Americans writing on foreign affairs. The money for it was raised in Holland by popular donation as a tribute to the American press after 14 American journalists died in a plane crash on July 3, 1949, while returning from a fact-finding trip in Indonesia. First prize this year went to Stuart Noyes, foreign correspondent of the Washington (D.C.) Star. The remaining prize money was evenly divided between Rodney L. Odell of the Passaic, N.J., News, and Wade Jones of the NEA Service, Oberlin, Ohio.
The opening address by the chairman of the executive committee, Albert Balink, contained several observations which seemed to me most significant. "No bombs explode by themselves," said Mr. Balink. "They must first explode in someone's mind." He then went on to show that the essential requirement to stop these explosions is knowledge about each other, and real understanding. Newspaper correspondents all over the world, he noted, are carrying a great responsibility to achieve a broadening of our interest and of our understanding.
"The press of the Western world, in which the American press so ably assumes a major responsibility," he concludes, "is one of humanity's best defenses against atomic fear. Plato once declared: 'Democracy passes into despotism.' But today, wherever the free press can penetrate, despotism passes into democracy."
We should be very grateful to the Netherlands for having a conception of the value of this interchange of ideas and for doing its generous share to encourage it.
The summer is upon us and people will soon be traveling by car in many parts of the country. I have just received a book which I think will be invaluable to the motor tourist. It is called "The Handbook of Auto Camping and Motorists Guide to Public Campgrounds," by George and Iris Wells, and contains information about every part of our great country. If you like to camp, this should be an excellent addition to your library.