AUGUST 9, 1954
HYDE PARK, Sunday—We have all been reading in the newspapers about food surpluses in the United States and the difficulty that the government finds in disposing of them. George L. Ertz, who lives in Los Angeles, writes me about a bill introduced by Senator George Aiken and another bill introduced into the House by Rep. Lee Metcalf of Montana, that would help solve this problem. He says these bills are referred to as the "National Food Allotment Plan" and that they virtually constitute a reenactment of the food stamp plan used in the early Thirties.
The bills would accomplish two purposes, says Mr. Ertz. First, they would relieve the government, and therefore the taxpayer, of the burdensome cost of storage, which can eat up the profits that might accrue if at some future time the government were able to sell these surpluses. The second is perhaps more important. This surplus food and milk would be made available to the lowest income groups and would raise their dietary standards.
There is of course no real surplus of food in the world. All over the world there is need of every bit of food that we can grow. The difficulty is only in how it can be distributed where it is needed. The easiest place for this distribution is here at home, so it would seem sensible to use what we can here—not forgetting, of course, that there are dire needs in other areas of the world and that we must also try to make food available where it is most needed and will help us most in building friendship with the other people of the world.
I received an interesting communication from the American Council of Learned Societies. They tell me that we should know that the Soviets are not only producing atomic and hydrogen bombs, but are also producing dictionaries in 80 languages. This is a very good example of how one may fight a war for men's minds in many different ways. You cannot afford to neglect any one of the ways or you lose your war.
A study of the list of these dictionaries is very interesting. Where they hope to make inroads on men's minds they publish a dictionary. All 80 dictionaries cost less than one round trip bomber. The American Council of Learned Societies notes that "we are making dictionaries too, three of them so far; and we will start the fourth when we can find the money for it." This is evidently an activity not considered in our country worthy of government interest.