DECEMBER 24, 1957
NEW YORK—I hope that the NATO conference has accomplished more than the accounts which have come from Europe would lead one to believe. The President was conservative in his estimate of the results when he said: "Conference decisions should make war less likely, peace more sure."
Perhaps the Allies were brought closer together and the plans for future security are on the basis of a real understanding and closer association. If so, I hope this conference may be the prelude to working out some more fundamental plan whereby NATO can undertake negotiations of an economic and social nature with the Soviet Union. That would perhaps allay some of the fears that talking only about military affairs seems to stir up. I think if there is any way that we can begin to work for better economic conditions in Europe and the Near East, it will do more toward relieving tensions than anything else that could happen.
A few nights ago I had the pleasure of being Mr. Harry Belafonte's guest at the Waldorf, where I went with some friends to see his show. When he was several years younger I saw him in a play, but Belafonte has developed very much as an artist since then and I thought the show the other night very exceptional. He much prefers stage to nightclub appearances and I can understand that, for much that he does lends itself better, I think, to a theater than to an after-dinner performance. However, some of his most engaging numbers are closely tied to the audience around him, and the whole ensemble of orchestra and other singers made a varied program to meet a great variety of tastes. I shall hope to hear him again when next he returns to this part of the country. Now he is off to the West and will, I am sure, have a great success wherever he goes, particularly when he goes to Europe next summer.
There are not too many good writers of plays, and it was sad to read last week of the death of John Van Druten. Some of his plays have given me hours of pleasure, and I think he is a real loss to the stage which needs good playwrights as much as it needs good acting. I loved "I Remember Mama," and of course the staging of "The King and I," which he directed and which I saw a great many times, will always remain a real triumph.