APRIL 16, 1957
NEW YORK—I was in Hyde Park as usual on the 12th and at noon attended the simple ceremonies in the Rose Garden in memory of my husband's death. Over the weekend I flew to Los Angeles, where the American Association for the United Nations held a regional conference, and on Sunday night took a plane back to New York. My son Elliott and his wife are expected to arrive in New York today after spending the last few weeks in Southern Spain.
The newspapers report that there is some hope of action on the Niagara River power project in New York State. The difficulty has been a Federal preference clause introduced by the Democrats. Under this clause, power could be withdrawn from the regular private contractors to satisfy unlimited public power needs. Public power needs would include guaranteeing power rights to municipalities, to rural electric cooperatives, consumers and government installations. The Republicans have now introduced a compromise, and there is a chance that these negotiations will enable the plan to move forward. This would mean a good deal to the economy of the area and would provide employment in new industries for many tens of thousands of workers.
I was very much disturbed last week to see that in spite of our conciliatory attitude toward Saudi Arabia in accepting a clause forbidding some of our citizens to be employed on American installations in that country, Saudi Arabia is now making more trouble for Israel and insisting that they will bar Israel from use of the Gulf of Aqaba. This only goes to prove, I think, that a weak attitude will increase our difficulties rather than lessen them, and this holds for the United Nations as well as for the United States.
As the days go by, I wish more and more that the United States would make the effort to come to an agreement with the Soviet Union by which neither of these two countries would provide any arms to Near Eastern countries. This would remove all question of attempts on either side to control these nations, and we could leave the inspection to the United Nations' forces so that we would be sure no arms were coming in surreptitiously.
These nations could then proceed to receive economic aid from either the Soviet Union or the United States for projects to improve the standard of living of the people of their countries. Whatever they obtained in the way of arms they would buy from other countries not controlled by the USSR and we could be pretty sure that it would be a small amount. It seems a very short-sighted policy to tie our economic aid always to military aid. I hope this incident with Saudi Arabia will teach us that we have no friends in countries like this and can only hope for respect—and respect is not gained through weakness.