NOVEMBER 22, 1956
HYDE PARK—As we look at the world today, Thanksgiving Day, I think many of us will find our hearts rather heavy.
We can be grateful that we live in the United States and that it is still a free country, but we must be somewhat worried that freedom is being threatened by the constant increase of the Soviets' influence in many parts of the world.
I must say that the other day when I read the report of the questions and answers between Acting Secretary of State Herbert Hoover Jr. and the Democratic group which questioned him about U.S. policies in the Near East and in the Eastern part of Europe, I was rather astonished at the answers.
The panacea for everything, Hoover seemed to feel, was the United Nations. But we must remember that the U.N. does not act by itself. It is made up of sovereign nations, each of whom must be a part of United Nations action.
I am delighted that the big nations have suddenly come to a realization of their need for the U.N., and I am appalled that the U.S. does not realize that in the U.N. it must exert leadership and have patience.
It can only do this by gaining the confidence and respect of the majority of the smaller nations, because the U.S. shows in the stands it takes that while it is naturally interested in the well-being of its own country and people, it looks at the world as a whole, sees our interests in the framework of the world's interests, and can be counted on to consider the interests of others.
When the U.N. Charter was written, it was thought that the five great powers would have to act in unison and that, therefore, they would have the veto. Now when the veto prevents all action, it is circumvented and the leadership of the five great powers depends on how they win the confidence and support of the smaller powers.
On this Thanksgiving Day many of us will pray that our leadership in the U.N. will be of the highest quality, including vision and courage in the State Department where policies are framed, as well as wisdom and understanding on the part of the President.
This is, I think, a day for sober thought, dedication on the part of every American citizen to be as good a citizen as possible. That does not mean blind acquiescence in whatever our government says, but it does mean an effort to study what is said and to make our criticisms as constructive as possible.
It means we should try to keep our own party, if we are Republicans, providing the most enlightened leadership possible. If we are Democrats, it means being as loyal an opposition as possible, offering suggestions of what we consider better whenever we criticize something we think is wrong.
May our prayers for peace be heard on this day. May we be thankful for the love of family and friends and have a deep compassion in our hearts for the sorrows of the world.