JULY 28, 1955
HYDE PARK—I was amused to read in the newspaper on Monday morning that the Vice-President had banned umbrellas to protect the President and Mrs. Eisenhower from a heavy shower on their return to Washington from Geneva. The story attributed this banishment of the umbrella to the association with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's umbrella when he returned from his famous trip to Munich. This seemed to me a bit far-fetched for the lowly umbrella was hardly responsible for Mr. Chamberlain's weakness.
The President on his trip to Geneva may not have gained any concrete results but he has certainly changed the atmosphere. And since no one was expecting any one of the great nations to sign on the dotted line and accept each other's proposals on the spot, I do not think that this conference will ever be looked upon as an appeasement conference.
We certainly have given nothing away and neither has any of the other countries involved. We have, however, begun to talk without as much bitterness as in the past, and that in itself is a gain.
It was interesting to read, too, that right after Senator Walter F. George of Georgia called for a conference with the Communist Chinese a meeting was arranged to begin next Monday in Geneva. Whether anything more will be done in a Chinese conference than was accomplished by the Big Four is debatable, but here again one is faced with the question of the value of negotiation.
Some of the correspondents home from Geneva feel that the Russian policy which seemed to emerge from the Geneva Conference is simply one of hoping that peace will come but for which they are not willing to pay any price. At home in Moscow where they may think over what occurred in Geneva the Reds may have to revise this attitude. Everything worth having has a price and the Soviets, who are realists, may decide that the price asked by the Western powers for peace in Europe is not too high.
But that decision is not likely to come until after they are convinced that they cannot hoodwink or bluff the Western powers into giving them peace without paying any price.
From Jefferson, Iowa, comes the news that six of the visiting Russian farmers who were staying in homes in that small town attended the tiny Presbyterian church with their hosts on Sunday.
Three Waterloo, Iowa women questioned one of the visitors about their religious feeling and received an answer that fitted in with the Golden Rule but which was evasive as to any religious affiliation. Even in an unfamiliar language the Russians are able to be evasive.