JANUARY 12, 1957
NEW YORK—I have just spent three days in Florida, two of them with my uncle, David Gray, in Sarasota.
On the day after my arrival I drove to Tampa to make a speech at a luncheon for the American Association for the United Nations, and on Friday morning I went to Miami for a big meeting, which was preceded by a press conference.
The evening dinner was a gala affair and, I hope, not only brought money into the AAUN's state treasury but created interest in the United Nations among Miami residents as well as the winter visitors.
I am always surprised to find how many people from the North migrate to the South for the winter. But now even more Northerners seem to go to live permanently in Florida. I keep being told by those who have settled there permanently that they have found a pleasant summer climate.
Upon my return to New York I plunged into a series of meetings at our AAUN headquarters with heads of committees for the Board of Governors who have been hard at work developing various enterprises for the association.
It is always a pleasure to have people coming in from different parts of the country, particularly at a time like this when they are deeply interested in the outcome of the President's suggestion on the Near East, since they feel it has a bearing on the development of the U.N.
At a meeting the other day, a young man told me that in making speeches at universities throughout the country he found a great interest on the part of young people in the whole Near East question. I am afraid this is largely because many of them fear that, should a war actually develop in the Near East, they are of an age to be involved. Naturally, all of us are interested in anything which threatens to change our individual lives.
Whatever the reason, I am glad to have young people's interest develop in this whole question of the Near East. They, in turn, will interest their elders and this is good, for I think it is going to require the sustained interest of the people in this country to get this question properly solved.
Taxi drivers and other people I have casually met in the last few days are all asking me, "How will the President's plan really solve our Near Eastern difficulties?"
As a matter of fact, as far as I can see, the President has suggested only what he intends to do in one set of circumstances, namely, if a military threat occurs from international Communism and a nation in the Near East asks our help to repel it, the President would be willing to protect that nation with American men and American force. He also will be willing to aid the economic development of nations in that area.
Some people wonder if these ends could not be achieved better through the U.N. than by asking this organization to support us in doing practically what the United States has condemned Great Britain, France and Israel for doing.
Of course, we are not acting without consultation with the U.N., but we are asking the U.N. to sanction any support we may decide to give without trying to find out whether a peaceful solution could be reached.