JULY 1, 1957
HYDE PARK—As far as one can tell from the news coming out of Washington, a struggle seems to be going on behind the scenes as to whether it is desirable to limit armaments at all.
The President and Harold Stassen seem to be in agreement that if some arrangement to limit arms can be reached which is enforceable, then we should accept it in order to make a beginning. But apparently there is strong feeling against this in certain Administration quarters. It comes from people who believe that ultimately there must be a war and that therefore we had better trust to going forward and arming ourselves as strongly as possible, which puts one immediately on the side of more nuclear tests and the building up of every type of armament.
Some of those who seem to be on this side will not go quite to the point of building up all our armed forces, however. They would devote themselves to such things as they feel are the most modern weapons and cost us less to produce. If this means nuclear weapons alone, then I think we run the risk of finding ourselves forced to use nuclear weapons simply because whatever enemy faces us is stronger in other weapons. And once we start a nuclear war, we are responsible for a very serious situation which may mean the wiping out of civilization as we know it.
It looks to me as though we run a certain amount of risk whatever course we take. I can see no sure way of meeting all the dangers that lie before us, and I am therefore inclined to go along with those who would take the risk of trying to get an enforceable agreement and disarming all along the line in conjunction with the Soviet Union. We may find it impossible to be sure that the agreement we enter into is enforced, but I would like to see these two alternatives widely discussed in this country. The only thing that really worries me at the present time is that I do not think our people on the whole are aware of the position in which we stand in the international world of today, and I even think we are unaware of some of our dangers at home.
The other evening I went to see an off-Broadway show called "Simply Heavenly," which is based on a novel by Langston Hughes called "Simple Takes A Wife." It is a folk comedy with music, and I found it entertaining. I was glad to hear they hoped to move the show to Broadway, where an air-conditioned theatre may be available.