FEBRUARY 2, 1957
NEW YORK—There has been a great deal of comment about the fact that the President went to meet King Saud of Saudi Arabia at National Airport in Washington. I wonder if people stop to think that this is in no way exceptional.
When the King of England came here with his wife before World War II, my husband and I went to the station to meet him. The head of a state is entitled to be met formally by the head of another state on his arrival at the capital.
In a democracy, it may be wise for the government to inform its people as to the reasons for the President issuing formal invitations to visitors whom he thinks it important to contact personally. If these reasons are given clearly and are well understood, I think such unfortunate incidents as have occurred in the last few days would be avoided.
There is undoubtedly great feeling in this country against certain policies and practices which have been prevalent in King Saud's kingdom. To many of us, the King does not seem to have exercised his powers to raise the standard of living of his people, to get rid, at this late date, of all slavery in his kingdom, or to have been a factor for reasonable and peaceful solutions in the troubles of the Middle East.
He has traveled enough in the Western world to realize that a nation like Israel, once created by the United Nations and having existed for 10 years, cannot be wiped off the map. He could understand, too, the difficulties of the other Arab states and he might have been a force for peaceful solutions.
All these may be the reasons why President Eisenhower has felt that through personal contact he might accomplish better results. Had the President told us all of his real reasons, I think we would have respected them, even if we might have been doubtful he could achieve the results he hoped for.
Now we come to the expressions of disapproval on the invitation extended to President Tito of Yugoslavia.
I can well understand the religious feeling in this country against President Tito. No one will deny that a Communist regime is not one to arouse enthusiasm in this country. But we may have to live with certain kinds of Communism in different countries, and Tito's pattern of national Communism has led to concepts in other countries behind the Iron Curtain which made them fight for greater freedom.
I think it is good for intelligent people (and no one will deny that President Tito is a highly intelligent individual) to come to the lands of democracy. They will see good and bad, for we are not perfect. But I think we can show more good than bad and seeing this may be helpful to these foreign visitors and to our world.