FEBRUARY 19, 1957
PHOENIX—Friday night I was in Fresno, California, and I was very much interested to see how this centrally located city is growing, not so much in the city itself as in all its outlying suburbs. We dined in a restaurant called Iran run by a Mr. Rustigan where the Armenian food is as good as that which one gets at Omar Khayyam's in San Francisco. The proprietor was taught by Mr. Mardikian and he certainly gives one a delicious dinner even to the rose petal jelly which I always enjoy.
I learned a little something about the convention business while in Fresno. The city has a convention manager who travels widely to solicit groups to hold their annual conventions in Fresno and to help such groups as come make their conventions successful. There are certainly many attractions to bring conventions to this centrally located city. Their memorial auditorium can accommodate 3,500 people and they have 8 smaller rooms for committee meetings, hotel accommodations are ample, and sightseeing. Yosemite Park is a two hour drive and two other national parks, Sequoia and King's Canyon, are only a little further on. Yosemite is my favorite park and so I was sorry I could not just take off and spend a few hours there.
We returned to San Francisco early Saturday morning and I went at once to listen to the panel in which Senator Lehman and my son, James, were presiding. I heard a very able explanation of the difference between the Democratic loyalty program and the Republican Security program which went into effect under an executive order of the President soon after his inauguration. Few people realize, I think, that under this order practically every department of the government set up its own little Gestapo scheme and was able to suspend or dismiss people for many offenses which had nothing whatsoever to do with loyalty.
I think the most significant things accomplished here by the National Democratic Committee are the endorsement of Paul M. Butler as National Chairman and the approval of the National Advisory Council which will devote itself to policy making. This will mean that the Senate and the House will not be the sole arbiters of what shall be the policy of the Democratic Party on various problems and situations.
In the last day or two every reporter that I have seen asked me what significance I attached to the choice of Gromyko to follow Shepilov as head of the Foreign Ministry of the Soviet Union. I do not think there is any real significance except that Gromyko has spent a good deal of time in this country and ought to understand it better than almost any other Soviet official. I doubt if this appointment means any real change in Soviet policy though I am quite sure that if Gromyko wanted to propitiate the U.S. he would know how to go about it.
The Israelis seem to be the one nation in the Near East that clearly know what they want and are not going to be moved by any promises short of the actual assurances which they feel will guarantee their survival in the Near East. To withdraw from the Gaza Strip and the Aqaba Gulf and have the Egyptians move in would lead to war and not peace and I am sure they cannot see why the rest of us spend our time trying to think up ways to make their withdrawal possible without a promise from Egypt that she will not return to those areas. If we were as firm as the Israelis are that promise might be forthcoming but so far we seem to let Col. Nasser make the decisions and then we try to find ways of having these decisions implemented.