NOVEMBER 28, 1956
ASHEVILLE, N.C.—It certainly seemed like the middle of the night when I was called for on Monday morning at 5:15. The weather did not look too propitious for flying, but we took off at 7 o'clock from Newark Airport and were only 20 minutes late in reaching the Durham-Raleigh, N.C., airport.
Clark Eichelberger, Miss Patricia Baillargeon and I are taking our first trip this autumn to a state meeting of the American Association for the United Nations and we were met at the airport by Dr. and Mrs. David Smith.
A press conference came immediately after our arrival at the Washington Duke Hotel in Durham. Some high school students attended with the regular press and they expressed great interest in the work of the United Nations. One boy, particularly, explained that they felt they had a vital interest because their future depends upon how well the United Nations succeeds in keeping a peaceful world.
I was asked if I was open to political questions and said "yes." But I did not know until I heard the question if I would answer it or not. One of the first was, "Would I consider that the Administration had done all that it could to give leadership in the question of desegregation."
Suddenly I could visualize the headlines which would focus on this much-argued point in the South as against the real reason for our visit. So I promptly announced that I had come here to talk about the United Nations and I thought that my views on the subject of civil rights were well enough known for me not to discuss them on this particular visit. That saved me from any further difficulties on that score.
I have never forgotten a pamphlet written by a gentleman in answer to some reflection of mine on the civil rights issue and I had no desire to draw attention away from the United Nations, which is of paramount interest at the present time.
Our leadership in the United Nations should be of interest to all our citizens, regardless of whether or not we agree on questions which may be in some way related but are not the only thing involved in foreign policy.
After the press conference we had a pleasant lunch with Mrs. Semans and some of the leaders who are interested in the United Nations. Then we went directly to Chapel Hill, where a forum was held for about an hour and a half, with Dr. Stanley Jones as moderator.
By a little after 4 o'clock we were back in the hotel. We did a little work and then I took a nap, for getting up at 5:15 a.m. meant it would be a long day before we got on the train at about midnight. We had a big evening meeting in Durham at Duke University.
The train we took Monday night reached Asheville about 9 a.m., and I will tell you about our day here in a later column.
On the whole, I think Mr. Eichelberger and I felt that our organization was growing in this state, and I was particularly glad to find our state chairman, Dan Edwards, had been General Robert L. Eichelberger's aide in Australia.
I looked at him, at first wondering where I had seen him, perfectly sure I had known him somewhere quite well but still not being able to recall the exact place.
Then he told me General Eichelberger was living in Asheville and I might see him today, adding that he had been his aide in Australia. At once I realized that, though uniforms do make a difference, I could still recognize him as the young aide of 13 years ago.