JUNE 16, 1955
NEW YORK—Last week I received a copy of the Congressional Record along with a statement by Rep. Frank Thompson Jr. of New Jersey on the appropriation for the Division of the Exchange of Persons in the Department of State.
The House had made a cut of $10,000,000 in the budget request, but the Senate restored the full amount of $22,000,000 when it voted on the bill last week. Now it will have to come up again in the House, and I think the people should tell their Congressmen how they feel on this subject. They should be frank to say whether they are anxious to see this program carried through in its full amount of $22,000,000 or even increased, if possible.
Everyone will acknowledge that the way to better understanding is by meeting people from other countries, so it is well to consider what would happen to this program for the exchange of people if $10,000,000 of the estimated appropriations fund were lopped off.
First of all, this change would entirely cancel the proposed expansion of the program in the Middle East, Far East, Southeast Asia, and Africa. New programs planned for Formosa and Korea also would be wiped out. These areas of the world where we need to understand conditions and people far better than we do, and where they need to understand us, would have no exchange at all except perhaps in Egypt where we might have a small program left.
President Eisenhower has asked Congress for $40,000,000,000 for our own and foreign military defense in 1956. If we refuse to put any emphasis on our cultural exchange between people, how can we answer the charge that the Soviets make against us when they say that we rely far too much on military power for defending freedom and for increasing understanding in the world?
Young Mr. William Randolph Hearst, in a speech before the Press Club in February in Washington after his return from Russia, stated that in Russia and the satellite countries sports, ballet, the theatre and literature are all shaped toward aiding communism's long-range scheme of world domination. And he added:
"Preparedness alone will not win for us the battle of coexistence. The Western program of building armed strength should be widened into a more flexible and imaginative strategy for competitive coexistence with the Communists in every field and on every front."
This is a challenge which, I think, should make our people suggest to their representatives in the House that an acceptance of the $22,000,000 appropriation voted by the Senate on May 31 would be in the best interests of our country. It would be in the interest of peace, and that is the aim of all the exchange of persons and our main objective at the present time.