JUNE 25, 1954
NEW YORK, Thursday—All of us should know more about what is happening in the great African continent, but it seems even farther away than Asia, with which we are now so deeply concerned. I was particularly glad, therefore, to receive a publication called "African News," which gives factual information on many different areas in Africa and on many complicated and difficult situations.
This little pamphlet, issued on a nonpartisan basis, makes no endorsement of any particular points of view but does furnish information from experts on Africa—people who have been there and have studied the different aspects of life there. This information can be valuable to businessmen, to government agencies, and to groups that have special interests in different parts of Africa. And I think people in general would like to know more about this faraway continent which, for the most part, has been buried in mystery for so many years.
One statement in this pamphlet is worth our consideration: "The West has a very real responsibility in Africa. For it is the impact on traditional African society of Western economic concepts, Western technology, Western political ideas and history...which has stirred peoples of this great continent to their present state of ferment."
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I've had a most moving appeal from the National Blood Foundation, which is working to conquer diseases of the blood such as leukemia, hemophilia, Hodgkin's disease, and so on. The man who wrote this appeal tells how he became interested in blood diseases when his own child died of leukemia in 18 short days. Of course, any personal experience of this kind brings an individual much closer to a particular ailment and arouses a wish to bring information about it to the public.
There were at one time just isolated groups working on the problems of blood ailments—scientists and doctors working here and there—but they have banded together now under this new National Blood Research Foundation, and it is hoped that they will do much the same kind of work that has been done for infantile paralysis.
Each year we become more aware of the ravages of certain diseases. Heart disease, cancer, blood diseases and, above all, mental illness are among the ailments on which we in this country must concentrate. Research is expensive and requires not only the support of foundations but gifts from the people as a whole—such as they have given so generously to the infantile paralysis fund.
I know many people are anxious to know the results of the mass inoculations against infantile paralysis. I feel very sure that these will turn out well and that soon we will be able to expect much the same results that have been achieved in preventing smallpox and typhoid fever.