JANUARY 5, 1955
NEW YORK—I was interested to read the other day that Dr. Edith Summerskill, chairman of the Labor party and Member of Parliament, is on a one-woman mission to the Near East at the invitation of the Israeli government. Dr. Summerskill has friends in the Arab countries as well as in Israel and she said that she would visit in Jordan and Israel.
The more frequently that visitors who have some understanding of the differences of the Near Eastern peoples can go to these countries to try to promote a spirit of cooperation and help to eliminate the constant state of antagonism, the better it may be for all the world in the future.
Dr. Summerskill said, on leaving England, that she would like to help her friends on both sides come to some kind of understanding and that she wanted to examine the status of women and the condition of the peoples as a whole.
I shall be most anxious to hear what she finds and also to see whether she succeeds in bringing together some of the people who are responsible for policies in these countries. It seems so obvious that it would benefit the whole Near East if there could be peaceful cooperation instead of constant friction and threats of aggression.
There is, of course, a great difference in the status of women in some of the Arab countries and Israel, but the conditions of all people need improvement in these countries. Here, again, a spirit of cooperation would help in improving these conditions and with it the status of women would change, too, to a great extent—and for the better, I'm sure.
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There were two very encouraging reports in the Monday newspapers—one by the American Civil Liberties Union and the other by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People—citing great gains in civil rights.
Foremost, according to the union report, were the decision against segregation made by the U.S. Supreme Court, the condemnation by the special Senate committee of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, and "the counterattack" by educational groups against efforts to "dictate educational content and method and personnel."
Of course, there is still a great deal to be done, as the report points out, but it is good to be able to be proud of some progress. We agree with the report that there were some "conspicuous defeats," notably the dismissal of John Paton Davies Jr. from the State Department and the action of the Atomic Energy Commission in denying Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer access to atomic information.
The legal branch of the NAACP cited gains made in the courts for tolerance during the past year and said "significant progress" had been achieved. For this many of us must be deeply grateful.