NOVEMBER 21, 1955
HYDE PARK—I was interested to see that Governor Stevenson has felt it necessary to say that if the President should run again he would not make his health an issue in the campaign. It seems superfluous to me that he should have to suggest even that he might do such a thing, because I think he has proved in his previous campaign that he will never act in a way which will be unfair—and, needless to say, dragging this in would certainly be unfair.
I am glad that the pre-convention campaign for Governor Stevenson can now go forward. No one knows what the outcome in the Democratic convention will be, any more than one knows what the outcome in the Republican convention will be. But we can be quite sure that if Stevenson is nominated the policy he has announced of "no deals" which commit him to anything before he knows the circumstances in which he will find himself, will be lived up to. We can also be sure that there will be no underhand, below-the-belt kind of campaigning. The type of smear which we have grown to expect from certain people will not be acceptable to Adlai Stevenson.
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I do not think it correct for the newspapers to say that the parley in Geneva which has just come to an end is a failure. The mere fact that high officials meet and talk has value, I think. If nothing else has happened, we have all of us gained a clearer concept of what the Soviets really feel. Some people may have been confused by their actions into thinking that changed tactics really meant a change of heart. The meeting should clear this up. The Soviet objectives remain exactly what they have always been. They hope for a day when the United States will have a financial cataclysm and when the Soviet propaganda will have been so successful that the world will rise to Communism. Therefore, in anything like the unification of Germany, they are not going to change their main desire—which is the control of Germany as a Communist country.
We had better grow accustomed to this idea and hope that the constant and continued contacts with the West will prove educational. If we are as convinced as the Russians of our beliefs, we may not convince them completely but we may at some time make them feel it is wise to accept our beliefs to a greater extent than they have. We can learn by constant contact with the delegates from the Soviet Union something about them as well, and it may lead to greater understanding. Somehow we have to become accustomed not to expect too much out of each meeting, but to go on with the meetings simply because each one may bring some tiny increase in understanding. Thereby we may move forward just a little toward convincing the Soviet Union that they cannot have a Communist world and that they had better learn how to live in a world which has two different ideologies and two different concepts of government and of everyday life.