OCTOBER 2, 1954
LARAMIE, Wyo., Friday—The state of Montana, which is one of the largest in the country, has only about 600,000 people living in it—which was a surprise to me. Billings has grown to be the city with the largest population in the state, Great Falls is second, and Butte is third.
Our meeting in Helena, the capital of Montana, was held in the very large Shrine Auditorium. I was relieved when we reached there because weather in this area seems to behave rather peculiarly. They tell me it is not unusual to have a snowstorm at this time of year and then have a return to nice autumn weather for several weeks. Towards noon on Tuesday the clouds began to look like snow clouds at Billings, although I couldn't believe that this was possible. However, we got word that the plane we expected to take was grounded further east, and we would have to take a plane on Western Airlines to Great Falls, where we could change and arrive somewhat later than we had expected in Helena. As we flew towards Great Falls we saw snow all over the ground beneath us and it was really snowing when we reached Great Falls.
We were an hour in the Great Falls airport and I had the pleasure of meeting the chairman of the Montana Democratic Central Committee who came, with two other very nice gentlemen, to meet me. I make every effort on these trips to make it clear that I am talking on a completely nonpartisan subject because I feel that the United Nations is important to the people of the United States, regardless of party. It is very pleasant, however, to have an opportunity to talk to the representatives of my own political party when they are kind enough to come to see me.
I was much interested in hearing of the plans that are being made in this state for the mentally ill, the aged, and the crippled children.
They are conscious in Montana, evidently, that it is not enough to provide a hospital for the mentally ill; efforts must be directed to keeping people from becoming mentally ill, and they have travelling clinics to serve these purposes. They realize too that bricks and mortar are not the answer to the care of mentally ill people. It is doctors with good training, nurses, and attendants, and research, which all enter into preventing the constant increase in mental illness that is becoming one of the great problems of the country.
We reached Helena about an hour before our meeting and had a full half hour to dress. There were about 1,300 people present, I was told. It was difficult to elicit the first question after my talk—but we had plenty of questions once the ice was broken. They wanted to know about the genocide convention; they wanted to know about the Soviet use of the veto; and what had been done about minimizing the effect of this abuse of the veto power. They wanted to know if any change in the Soviet attitude could be discovered.
After the meeting we returned to the hotel. We were grateful that a day of real work had been accomplished without any insurmountable obstacles created by the weather. On Wednesday morning there still seemed to be a little sleet and uncertainty as to what the weather would do, but our morning was well filled. A press conference at 9:30 a.m., a talk at the high school at 10 a.m., and a lunch for the general public at noon.