NOVEMBER 24, 1956
HYDE PARK—The little celebration I told you about for Dr. William Heard Kilpatrick, retired professor of Teachers College, Columbia University, was a delightful occasion and I thought Dr. Kilpatrick was remarkable when he got up to respond to all the many delightful things which had been said about him.
It must be a great satisfaction to have led the kind of life which brings you so much gratitude from so many areas of the world and the sense of having contributed to a better understanding of the meaning of education.
Apparently I did not make myself very clear in one of my recent columns.
In the first place, I was writing about Mrs. Anna Kethly, who had come here via Austria from Hungary in an effort to be heard by some members of the United Nations on the Hungarian situation.
In the second place, I said she was a member of the Social Democratic party who had spent a number of years in prison and had only come into the last Nagy government recently.
She is not a Communist, since this government was made up of representatives of various parties. But the difficulty which originally arose in Hungary was between two Communist government factions—one a completely Communist faction in sympathy with greater and more rigid control by the Soviets; the other, on the whole, a Communist government but believing there should be representation from other parties and finally advocating greater national freedom.
I am glad to see Mrs. Kethly has had some success in telling her story to certain people in the U.N.
I know there are some in the U.N. who feel there is little difference between the action taken against Hungary by the Soviet Union and the actions taken by Israel, Great Britain and France in the Suez Canal situation. I am unable to understand this attitude, however, since I feel that the present rigid government of Hungary is an imposed regime not representing the people as a whole.
It has always been said that the Soviet Union's troops and other representatives are in the satellite countries to help them restore order and establish their own governments. Naturally, they hope these governments will be Communistic, but if they do not turn out to be such, there is no reason to use force, subjecting the people to mass armed attack to force them into submission under Soviet rule.
The situation in the Suez Canal is an example of doing something the wrong way and it did not comply with the obligations under the U.N. Charter. Both England and France have agreed, however, to submit to the decisions of the U.N. and there is no such agreement as yet on the part of the Soviet Union.
I agree, of course, that we cannot force a U.N. plebiscite on a sovereign country. But it would be wise for the regime in Hungary, which is under suspicion of being imposed by the Soviets, to invite not only a U.N. peace observation group into Hungary but to agree to a plebiscite in which the people, free of fear, would choose their government. Otherwise, there will always be a feeling that the Hungarians are under duress.