JULY 17, 1954
HYDE PARK, Friday—Mr. Frank Freidel, who is writing a 6-volume biography of my husband, is working at the Memorial Library, and he came over to have lunch with us the other day. He is a very delightful young man and very anxious to reach all the objective sources possible. He has seen Mr. Herbert Hoover, but Mr. Hoover's papers are not yet ready to be used as source material. However, I am sure that Mr. Freidel will get the widest coverage he can of the years when my husband was Governor of New York. These are the years the next volume will cover.
After lunch I took Mr. Freidel back to the Library and greeted a large group of social workers, many of them Indians and other Asians, who had attended an international conference in Canada.
I had the pleasure of meeting a young Indian couple who are visiting in a farm area in Indiana. They and other Indians are there in connection with a project which is partly financed by the Ford Foundation and which, I gather, has been a great success in creating better international understanding. A similar project is being carried on in Georgia.
Farmers of Indiana and Georgia are gaining a real understanding of India's problems, while the Indians gain an understanding of farm conditions in the United States. Real friendships between the people of the community and their Indian guests have developed in both states. These seem to me to be valuable projects and I wish that all over the country we were bringing people, farmers particularly, from other parts of the world to live and work for a period in some of our communities.
I even wish we could get the Soviet Government to permit some of their farmers from the big collective farms to come over and see what happens on some of our big Middle Western farms. I have always felt that actual experience teaches more than many words. And an understanding of what we mean by social security and freedom for the individual in this country would, I think, be valuable to natives of the areas behind the Iron Curtain.
I doubt that citizens of the Soviet Union could persuade any of our Middle Western farmers to adopt communism, and I think it might be well if some of our farmers visited the Soviet farm communities. If we believe strongly enough in our own way of life, we will not be afraid of comparison and I think that is one of the ways to spread a belief in our democracy.
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The other day, we celebrated my daughter-in-law Anne's birthday. All the older children were allowed to stay up for dinner. The younger ones had supper in my house and then came over to Johnny's and Anne's house to enjoy the birthday cake with the rest of us. My birthday present for Anne had arrived several days in advance, so my cousin and I found a number of silly little things which we wrapped up to make it look as though she were getting a large number of presents.