AUGUST 31, 1954
HYDE PARK, Monday—French Premier Pierre Mendes-France is gaining support for the reform program in North Africa. This may lead to a more peaceful period in these French possessions that have been in ferment over the past few years. The Premier has promised to negotiate with Tunisian officials a program which will give that protectorate self-government within their own country. He has said that he would invite all shades of opinion in Morocco to study reform plans there, since sufficient calm seems to have been restored.
The protectorates of Morocco and Tunis are considered by France almost as part of the homeland itself and a great many French people have settled there. Unfortunately, it has been felt by the natives that more attention has been given to the settlers from France than to the native population. This is not an unnatural situation but it does require, if a peaceful atmosphere is to prevail, some real consideration.
I cannot help hoping that something satisfactory can be worked out as I believe that if a just and equitable French protection can be maintained, it will help the people of the area to develop a good and stable internal government. They are certainly not prepared to protect themselves in a military way or to deal with their foreign affairs where there is conflict with other nations. The same kind of commonwealth arrangement which Great Britain has been able to make successful is probably the best pattern, with modifications, for other nations to follow.
There are really only two safeguards for weak and underdeveloped nations. One is the fair, just backing which comes with belonging in a group of nations. The other is the strengthening of the United Nations and the assurance that all member nations are in full agreement that they will not permit aggression anywhere in the world. If this is thoroughly understood the weaker nations can have a sense of protection and security given by the combined strength of all the member nations in the U.N.
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During this month of August, my immediate surroundings have been dominated by children. Eight children can create quite an atmosphere and I shall be very sorry when the first of the month comes. Then there will be no more children in my house, for they will be going off on that day to their homes and schools.
The past week was one of much excitement, for on Wednesday Johnny's youngest had her two-year-old birthday party and on Sunday, the third boy in Mr. and Mrs. Edward Elliott's family had his eighth birthday.
I find that birthday parties, to be successful for the young, require much imagination on the part of their elders. My daughter-in-law, Anne, hid peanuts all over the garden and the children had a wonderful time finding them. When it came to thinking about a variation for Lauren's birthday party, we decided to make a web and give each child a string and have him untangle it all over the garden, and find at the end of it a lolly-pop. It seemed to be a good idea because everybody had something they could eat. When you are young, taking an interest in the birthday child's presents without anything for yourself is not always easy!