JANUARY 3, 1955
HYDE PARK—Several recent events allow us to face the new year with a feeling of guarded hopefulness. Among them is the French endorsement of German rearmament.
I understand very well the reluctance of the French people to arm Germany as an ally when Germany has always been their enemy and has so often devastated the French countryside. In many ways it must have seemed like a choice between two evils, but they had to come to look at the situation as the Western world viewed it. If Germany were left outside the Western alliance, unarmed and helpless, she would have had little choice but to turn to the East. The Germans had been confident enough in the past to believe that they could join with Russia and control Russia, instead of having Russia control them. It is quite probable that, whatever alliance they are in, they will hope someday to be in control. They are that kind of people, and apparently they have not learned that it is cooperation we want and need in this world and not control over each other.
But I think it will be easier for them to learn this lesson as a part of the Western European system. The troops armed and used within the NATO orbit, and carefully controlled, can be of value in preserving and not endangering the peace of Europe. So the final vote in the French Assembly can give us hope for European peace and development. It is a guarded hope, for all the members of the union must live up to their commitments and accept their responsibilities, and no one must be allowed to dominate in the future.
Another encouraging thing was the plan proposed by Senator Ezio Vanoni, the Italian Minister for the Budget, for full employment in Italy. This is something which has never been achieved in Italy, and many have felt that the only solution is to export a large amount of the population each year. Senator Vanoni, author of a law which requires Italians to declare their income somewhat in the same way as we do in this country, certainly has courage and one must wish him well. A proposal was made by an American citizen, Mr. Cucolo, who has for a long time fed his native village in Italy during the winter months, that our government undertake a similar plan for other villages and thus help keep down the trend toward Communism in Italy. His plan might well be a tide-over, which would be valuable, until a sound economic basis can be established.
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Governor Dewey left Albany on December 30 and the state government changed hands after 12 years of Republican control. Mr. and Mrs. Dewey must have many friends in Albany and leave the city with regret. There is no doubt that many good things have been accomplished during Governor Dewey's time, even though as a Democrat I hope that better things may be accomplished under Mr. Harriman's administration. All of us must wish the outgoing Governor success in what he now does as a private citizen. At the same time we must wish our incoming Governor Averell Harriman health and strength, the cooperation of the people with whom he works, and the vision to do great things for the state, which he will now have as his primary interest and responsibility.