JUNE 28, 1957
NEW YORK—The United States now is proposing to the Soviet Union an exchange of radio and television broadcasts on a regular and uncensored basis. This apparently means that the U.S. and the Soviet Union would exchange film and voice recordings of talks by leaders in government and private life, in cultural, technical, scientific and other fields.
It will be interesting to see whether this proposal evinces any interest. It is hoped that it would develop into something to increase in the Soviet Union the knowledge about the U.S. and its people. In that event, the letter from the Soviet woman the other day would never have been written.
(Editor's Note: Mrs. Roosevelt here refers to a letter from a Russian housewife to the New York Times charging that a war even more horrible than World War II "is being promoted by your capitalists" and calling on American mothers to demand a halt in nuclear weapon tests. A reply to the letter from Mrs. Roosevelt was broadcast to Russia.)
But one of the ways the Soviet Union uses to keep its people contented is to indoctrinate them in the belief that everything they have is superior to that existing in any other country.
So it is hardly conceivable that the Soviet government will allow the broadcast of information which would bring home to its people how much they lag behind the U.S. in comforts that are practically taken for granted in this country and the lack of which is taken for granted in the Soviet Union.
In housing alone, the Soviet people are far less well off. It may well be that before long better housing will be available to the Russian workers, and it could be argued that the government has made up for the delays in providing better housing with superior recreational facilities.
However, the exhibit of a modern American worker's home, with its comforts and many gadgets, drew crowds at the Poznan Fair in Poland day after day. So it is likely that if we sent over films depicting the everyday existence of the American man, woman and child, the Soviet people conceivably might not remain as contented as they have been.
It may be a good gesture to offer these exchanges, but let us not be too much surprised if the offer is refused.
There is great anxiety, particularly in some sections of the East, as to the dangers in the widespread spraying of DDT. Many organizations are concerned about its immediate effect upon wildlife, including native birds, fish ponds and streams and other forms of life in the natural control system of nature.
Many people have been worried over spraying of any kind. One of my sons, Franklin Jr., believes that all artificial sprays are detrimental to plants and to the creatures who eat them, be they human beings or cattle.
This is becoming quite an important controversy. A decision, it seems to me, can be made only by a group of persons appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture who cannot be influenced by special interests.
Such a group could ascertain whether spraying actually can be harmful to animals and humans and whether the food value of anything that has been sprayed really has been injured.