DECEMBER 20, 1955
NEW YORK—I have just received a resolution which was forwarded to me by the First Congregational Church of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The people at this church are deeply disturbed because so little has been said and done about the riots that occurred in Istanbul on September 6. During this uprising many Christian churches were pillaged as were cemeteries, graves, stores, and homes of Greeks and Americans by Turkish mobs.
The church group's petition says: "We recommend to members of our church and other like-minded people that we seek to overcome this evil by goodwill, specifically by liberal support of Church World Service in its 'SOS' appeal, which will send our surplus food supplies, donated by the U.S. government, and administered and shipped by the contributions of our churches."
And it was only during that past few days that our newspapers announced this plan of donation of many of our surplus foods, which are to be distributed in areas of the world where they are really needed. They will help to prevent occurrences such as happened in Turkey.
It will depend on our people, however, throughout the country as to how good a job is done, for we will have to contribute through our churches toward the transportation and distribution costs. Nothing brings about tension between people so quickly as real hunger, and I hope there will be a generous response to the appeal which the churches will be making.
* * *
It was a great pleasure to greet my son, Elliott, and his wife last week. They arrived for the holidays, and the family at Hyde Park is going to be larger than usual though we will not have so many children as all of us would like to have.
One night last week I drove out to Teaneck, N.J., for a speech and found that Mrs. Jean Singer was another guest. It is not often that I run into some of the old U.S. Mission people with whom I worked for many years and it is always a pleasure.
Mrs. Singer has been working for some time now with Mr. Richard Winslow on a possible plan instituted by the Carnegie Endowment and the Foreign Policy Association for an information center on foreign affairs. Such an information service as they contemplate would be of great value to all the organizations working in the field of improving international relations and I hope it will be possible to set it up before too long.
* * *
There was a little ceremony at the United Nations on Thursday when the Obernkirchen Children's Choir from Germany—35 boys and girls who have been touring the U.S. for about two months—sang carols during their visit before their return home for Christmas.
It was a surprise to have the pleasure of hearing these youngsters and I was particularly touched to have them present me with a bunch of roses. The charming young girl who presented them made a short speech in perfect English. She said, "On our journey through this wonderful country where we have been given so much love and friendship there could be nothing happier for us than to meet you, Mrs. Roosevelt, here in the U.N. We are so glad to see you and would like to sing a song for you."
Joseph Schildkraut and his wife, who were with me, were as much interested in this group as I was, and enjoyed their singing as much as I did. It was a great pleasure for me to lunch with them, for I have long admired this artist. His performance this year in "The Diary of Anne Frank" is, I think, a very great achievement.