FEBRUARY 28, 1957
NEW YORK—Two recent newspaper items interested me very much. One said that the Yugoslav Parliament has passed a bill ordering all arable land not under cultivation to be taken away from its owners temporarily and given to agricultural cooperatives. Compensation would be granted if the owner is unable to work.
Yugoslavia needs to cultivate all the good land that is available, and when I was there some years ago I found that many farms had no men to run them. One out of every nine men in Yugoslavia had been killed in the war.
It was not unusual to find two women running a farm, or one woman alone with her grandchildren, most of them too young to work.
Many of the mountain farms, it seemed to me, would produce only a bare living for their operators, but, of course, the farms of Macedonia would be in a different category.
I wonder if it would not be fairer to compensate those families where the man was killed in war. It is true that by now many farms may have a son old enough to work the farm, but for some reason or another he may well be forced to leave home for another job to supplement the family's farm income.
I wonder whether the government of Yugoslavia has stopped to consider some of these problems which must have a great effect on the well-being of its people.
The other news item that particularly interested me told how "The Family of Man," Edward Steichen's remarkable exhibition of photographs, has broken all attendance records during its exhibition in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.
In 21 days more than 276,000 persons in that city of 500,000 population saw this photographic panorama of human life. The United States Information Service is sponsoring this exhibition in world capitals, and it is interesting to note that it has attracted more persons in Yugoslavia and in Tokyo than in London, Rome or Paris.
Everyone I saw going in or out of United Nations headquarters Monday bore a happier expression. There seemed to be a feeling that some kind of solution in the Near East situation was near. Abba Eban, Israeli ambassador to Washington, had talked with Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and was conferring with U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammerskjold.
The big meeting in Madison Square Garden here Monday night protesting possible sanctions against Israel was impressive. But the real work to bar these sanctions probably has been going on in the U.N., led by the moderate and outstanding Canadian delegate, Lester B. Pearson.