NOVEMBER 23, 1957
NEW YORK—I understand that I have been taken to task by the Soviet Union press and radio for what they feel was an insult when, in telling of my trip to Russia, I said I did not see well-dressed people in the streets of Moscow and that I had not heard older people laugh while there.
I did not mean to be insulting. I was reporting factually the impression that had been made upon me.
But since the press and the radio in the U.S.S.R. can say only what the government wishes them to say, I imagine it is natural not to want people to have impressions which are contrary to the one the government wishes to create. I can understand, too, that any government wants outsiders to feel that everybody is happy and jovial under existing conditions for which it is responsible.
I am sorry I cannot apologize for an impression, but I can say that I hope the day will come when the people of the Soviet Union will not have to work so hard nor look so anxious and will have the time and the inclination for many of the luxuries and frivolities of life.
Now I would like to say that I would prefer to see our newspapers here at home stop being so concerned about military matters. Certainly we will go ahead and do the things that we feel necessary to keep a balance of military power in the world so that no nation will be tempted to start an atomic war. But beyond keeping the balance of power and doing it without publicity or boasting, I would like to see us turn our attention to ways of keeping the peace and serving the good of mankind.
I liked the gesture by Israel in offering the traditional Arab feast of forgiveness to an Arab village where a regrettable incident occurred which caused the murder of 47 Arabs and the wounding of 14 others.
The original incident was probably largely a mistake, and Israel expressed deep regrets at the time. But this observing, as nearly as Israel could, of an ancient Arab custom should go far to convince those who suffered there of the sincerity of Israel's regrets.
Many people were grieved to note the death of Gerard Swope, former president of the General Electric Company and one time chairman of the New York City Housing Authority. He was 84 years old, so he had a long full life, and few men have used their lives for better purposes.
As far back as 1931, when we were going through such a difficult economic period in this country, Mr. Swope offered the "Swope Plan" for stabilizing industry. This emphasized the responsibility of industry for preventing unemployment and included a provision for unemployment insurance.
Mr. Swope received many honors during his lifetime, but I think his children will treasure most the trust that people had in his integrity and fair-mindedness. No one over doubted his real interest in the well-being of all his fellow men.
His friends will feel his loss deeply, for even at 84 he was an active influence for good in his community and among those who knew him.