JULY 11, 1955
HYDE PARK—What a delightful picture that was in the newspapers the other day of New York's Mayor Wagner and his wife being greeted on their return from Europe by their son, Duncan! I am sure that this tour of seven countries has given the Mayor many new ideas on the subject of how to meet the problems that occur in New York City. But it must also be encouraging to know that he is not the only person to be confronted with difficulties. All men in public office must have times when they feel that they alone face the most serious problems, and have to bear more burdens than any other human being.
Secretary Dulles has told the Congress that he feels the Soviet Union "is over-extended at the present time," particularly in its economic commitments. He feels that keeping up with the free world has meant denying to the Soviet people what we would consider elemental necessities; and since our economy has not collapsed, as they fervently hoped it would, the Soviets are now obliged to seek ways of improving living conditions for their people. It is on this basis that Mr. Dulles explains their changed actions.
For a very great churchman, it seems to me strange that Mr. Dulles never emphasizes the fact that the spiritual lack in the Soviet philosophy is a very serious drawback. They have tried to substitute materialism and love of state for a spiritual belief and a love of God, and they are finding it is not the same. It was interesting to me in reading the speeches from San Francisco during the U.N. celebration to see how much more emphasis the delegate from Lebanon, Charles Malik, and the delegate from India, Krishna Menon, gave to the spiritual side in their approach to world conditions today. One would think that the President and his Secretary of State would realize that the prayers of our people would have to be very fervent in order to make us win as we engage during the next few months in the type of war which is not a war.
Stewart Alsop, in a recent column from Moscow, seems to have developed a real feeling of sympathy for the Russian ladies, who have so often hoped for extra things—such as wearing apparel—and so often been disappointed. Some of them probably do need this sympathy. But I have a feeling some of them are made to feel that whatever they endure is a gift to their country and therefore they take this gift with a great deal of calm.
We are still suffering from the heat wave, but I must say it was very pleasant and cool in the country when I got back from New York the other evening. We stayed in New York for a late train in order to see one of the first foreign films made in Poland and shown before the jury of award that makes its decision every autumn. This Polish film I found remarkable in that Poland has developed such good actors and such excellent film technique in so short a time. But the picture itself seemed to me purely a propaganda film and therefore of very little value. It is probably considered a good education film for the Communists.