JULY 26, 1956
HYDE PARK—The New York Times is running a series of articles entitled "Eisenhower's Four Years." These are particularly interesting because of the man that is emerging as you read them—a good man with standards of integrity and fine natural instincts. A man who likes people and gets along well with them. A man who, in spite of being a General, does not like particularly the kind of political battles that most Presidents have had to undertake.
The articles depict a man who inspires devotion and great affection, but because of being more than willing to let others do the disagreeable things that must be done in any Administration, has succeeded in escaping the hates which usually come to the men in the Presidency, even to those who have been much loved.
As you read these articles, you wonder if this man, because his experience has not been great in the economic world and the political world, does not have too much awe of those who have been successful in these two fields, thereby tending to be ruled by them rather than using what they give him and being the one to make the final decision himself.
These articles are of a great deal of interest because they will help us decide what qualities we really want in a President. We have had men of all types in the Presidency and, in different ways, all have made their contribution. Some, of course, greater than others.
As the years go by, the Presidency assumes greater and greater importance because of the leadership which our nation has had to accept in the free world. I do not think this means that the duties of a President have become any more complicated than they were before. Nor do I think it impossible to plan the details so that they can be accomplished by any normally well human being.
But the thinking of a President is going to be more intensive and require more general knowledge of the world as our participation in the world's problems increases.
As we look around we see the world growing day by day and we realize the need for greater understanding of other peoples and greater communication between the men who carry comparable burdens for their countries, large or small, even though their leadership may be on a more limited scale than ours.
I begin to think that this communication and understanding of peoples and their leaders on top levels is among the most important attributes of a President today.
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It is interesting to read of the projects centering around the development of New York City's Lincoln Square. The planners seem to envision a great cultural center. This apparently will cover three blocks of the 18 blocks being redeveloped in the slum clearance project announced by Robert Moses on May 28.
The drawings of the projected opera house, which would be the main axis of the cultural center, seem to promise great beauty and this might well become the first and greatest symbol of American culture in our country.