JULY 29, 1954
CAMPOBELLO, New Brunswick, Wednesday—Here I am back on Campobello Island, staying for a short while with Mr. and Mrs. Victor Hammer, who bought our old cottage on this island. They have made it much more comfortable and have put in many modern conveniences.
I am happy to find that they enjoy it just as we enjoyed it for so many years. It was a godsend, when our children were little, to take them out of the heat of Washington or even the heat of Hyde Park to the cool of this island, to which my husband and his mother and father had come in the summer for all the years of his childhood and youth.
There is little change in the island or in the people whom we have always known. Children have grown up and their elders are growing older, but so are we all.
This is a beautiful spot and it has one advantage which I think I did not fully appreciate when my children were young. No one ever has hay fever here. Nowadays, I see my son John, during long summer periods, with apparently the worst kind of a head cold in spite of the fact that he takes injections. Never as a child did he show any sign of these difficulties. Could it be because we spent a blessed two months and a half on this island, where something seems to keep people from having such troubles?
The island is just across the border—in Canada. Communication with the great world is not too easy even now, so one does get a sense of being aloof from the many pressing world problems.
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I've been reading some clippings from the British Manchester Guardian. These clippings are dated June 28th and June 30th but I fear that what they say has not been changed much during July. They reflect the kind of thinking about our foreign policy which is rather serious among our allies, I think. Here are some quotations:
"Only the United States can lead the rest of the world, and it is no longer doing so. Only the United States has (or had) the resources, vigor and idealism for the task. Its leadership is failing for two reasons: weakness within the Administration and an honest divergence of view between America and the other Western nations..."
"What is its policy? Is it to find means of 'getting along' with the Communists in Asia (as President Eisenhower says) or to reject all negotiations as worthless (as Senator Knowland insists)? Is it to send troops to Indo-China (Mr. Nixon on April 16th) or to keep out of Indo-China (Mr. Nixon on April 20th)? Is it to help small nations with all possible speed (Mr. Lodge on Siam's appeal to the United Nations) or to let them stew in their own juice (Mr. Lodge on Guatemala's appeal to the U.N.)? True, more public discussion precedes the forming of policy within the United States than in any other country and that is healthy, but now we have the discussion without the policy..."
"The divergence of American and other views was especially evident at Geneva. The United States (both its Government and apparently most of its people) believes that negotiation with the Communists is a dangerous waste of time. This view is shared by no other major Government in the West."
I have given you these quotations because in a subsequent column I would like to discuss whether we as a people have really reached the point where we do not believe negotiation is possible.