DECEMBER 10, 1954
LOS ANGELES—It was a great pleasure to have Chilean Ambassador Santa Cruz and his wife lunch with me on Tuesday. He has been a faithful worker in the United Nations and has promoted ardently consideration of economic aid for the smaller nations of the world.
Tuesday afternoon I flew out here to speak Wednesday morning at the CIO National convention.
The report of their president, Walter Reuther, was a most interesting one, touching on many sides of labor questions as well as showing where those questions must of necessity touch government. The great advance we have made in the treatment of social conditions in this country is in the field of handling certain situations as a concern of government and trying to find the proper solutions in combining the work of government with that of citizens and organizations.
We no longer believe that private charities can meet all the misfortunes that may come to individuals in a complicated civilization, and we consider certain types of legislative action to be essential. Today, citizens in a democracy feel that they have a right to expect their government to handle with foresight and imagination some of the problems touching their lives which they cannot solve themselves.
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In the next few years we will be approaching a new development in economic life. Our President has suggested that we develop the peacetime uses of atomic energy on an economic scale. We have been through all the intermediate stages of industrial revolution and rapid development of mechanization. We should be better prepared to plan ahead.
I have always been sorry that we did not maintain one organization in the government which constantly examined our natural resources, considered their use and prevented their abuse. The National Resources Board at one time tried to do just this but it was never quite successful in winning the support of Congress.
Now, it seems to me the need is greater than ever because we will have greater preparation for the new era and also greater responsibility for the areas of the world which are not so well prepared. To jump from primitive conditions into conditions where atomic power is used is a considerable jump, and may take some preparation in leadership of those who are going to try to help people meet these new conditions.
All this is new to our thinking and the methods which we will use are still rather vague. They must be explored and we must not come unprepared to a situation which everybody acknowledges is imminent. Just the other day our newspapers noted that the General Electric Company expected that by 1976 half the plants built would be using atomic energy.