AUGUST 12, 1954
NEW YORK, Wednesday—It is interesting to see Premier Mendes-France trying to change certain business practices that have gone on for a long time in France. These changes would go far towards stabilizing French economy.
French people complain a great deal about taxes but they pay little by comparison with Great Britain and the United States, and it is going to be hard for them to accept the type of economic revolution that Mendes-France is evidently trying to put across. Somewhere I saw that it resembled the New Deal in the U.S., but no country is exactly like any other country and no remedy will be exactly the same for the difficulties with which a country is brought face to face.
The industrial ills of France and her people have been building up for a long time. One of the reasons communism has flourished there is because changes benefitting the people as a whole have been so slow in coming.
The powers voted to Mendes-France by the French National Assembly run only until March 31st, which does not give him a very long time to achieve the economic reforms he must achieve for real success. In addition, he has many difficult political situations to solve.
France has great riches in her soil and is able not only largely to feed her own people but to sell her surplus of food to other nations of Europe. But like all colonial powers, the French have a feeling that colonies are what make them a powerful nation, particularly those colonies which are represented by deputies in the French parliament and which they feel have become an integral part of the country.
I sometimes wonder if today colonial nations would not be better off and carry less of a burden financially if they allowed dependencies complete freedom—if they created a federation and permitted those who wished to be members of the federation to join voluntarily, thereby gaining certain advantages through preferential economic treatment.
These questions, however, are all part of the problems facing the modern world. They are not just France's problems. They are Great Britain's problems and Belgium's problems, and those of many other countries.
The more communication and transportation improve, the more these problems bedevil us. People learn about freedom and they want it, even if they are ill prepared to administer a government and to cope with the problems of freedom. This is an area in which the United Nations is proving vastly useful through its Trusteeship Council and through the aid which it is prepared to give, first to develop nations and then to help them when they are starting their governments.