MAY 7, 1956
HYDE PARK—In Claremont, California, on April 22, some 2,500 persons attended the Pomona Valley Festival of Faith. It was a service of prayer for peace and for divine guidance to the United Nations. Representatives of six faiths and Dr. K. C. Wu, who is a converted Christian, all placed their hands together to signify the unity of their faiths.
Speaking there, Governor Knight of California said: "We know, here in California, that we have vibrant and positive proof that the people of all colors, all national origins, all political beliefs, all religious denominations and all stratas of material wealth can live peacefully together. I say to you this afternoon that if we can achieve this harmony in one state of the union, and we can achieve it in our more complex social organizations, as represented by other free nations of the world, then it is not too much for mankind to hope and expect that it can be accomplished generally throughout Mother Earth." Then, referring to the beginnings of the United Nations, he added: "If we continue to strive in the spirit which motivated the organization of the United Nations in San Francisco eleven years ago, we have every reason to hope for ultimate peace on earth with good will among all men. We must not expect too much, too soon, from this organization of humans, beset as it is by human frailties."
Every meeting of this kind and every such pronouncement by men in high office is of value in creating public opinion, in making more people conscious of the value of the U.N. and of the fact that if used it will be constantly strengthened. We are seeing that happen today. The Secretary General has taken the first constructive steps toward peace that have so far been achieved in the Near East since Ralph Bunche of the U.N. brought about the first armistice.
The United Nations will be the motivating control over the development of Atoms for Peace, which may well be the greatest force in our country for the use of our new power for the good of human beings. For if we cooperate with the rest of the world in developing the peacetime uses of atomic energy we will of necessity do far more at home than we might otherwise do, since our government has tended to give most of its aid to the development of this power for military purposes.
The news that Victor Riesel, New York labor columnist, has lost his eyesight is a tragic thing. It is unthinkable that the police cannot find his acid-hurling assailant. One begins to feel less and less well protected in New York City; and the more such people get away with cowardly attacks of this kind, the more the temptation to perpetrate such attacks will grow. Every effort should be made to bring the attacker before the bar of justice. Nothing can give back Mr. Riesel's eyesight. It is probable that he can continue on his job, which will be his salvation; but a permanent handicap is a desperately hard thing to face. Everyone will admire his courage and wish him well in the long fight which he now faces.