FEBRUARY 17, 1958
BERKELEY, Calif.—To our surprise as we boarded the plane Thursday morning, my son James and Mr. George Jessel suddenly appeared. They were getting off a plane coming in from Sacramento. When they spotted us getting on, they dashed across to say "Hello." A traveling family such as ours will sometimes meet unexpectedly, and it was a great pleasure. I think James takes his trips as easily as I do, for he looked very well.
In Northern California the rain has fallen steadily for a good many days. The result, as you look down from the air, is to see all the rivers swollen and flood conditions apparently everywhere. They have suffered so much from floods in Northern California that one wonders why comprehensive plans for storing this water and controlling these unruly rivers have not been worked out long ago. The government always seems to be so loath to spend money to prevent destruction. Once the destruction occurs it is forced to spend money to remedy it, but the imagination necessary to prevent it seems totally lacking both in the localities themselves and in Washington.
It was interesting to have the lecture Thursday night sponsored by the Democratic County Committee and to have them choose the subject, "Russia and Its People Today." This was quite evidently no campaign speech, though Representative Clare Engle presided at the meeting and will be the nominee for Senator this fall. I feel so strongly that Republicans and Democrats alike as Americans need to know about the Soviet Union that I was glad to find our Democratic party forward-looking enough to seek information about it. Neither did they want their information restricted on a party basis. It should not be, for the challenge of the Soviet Union is to the American people and both parties should be equally concerned in meeting it. Regardless of whether we are Republicans or Democrats, we want freedom. To have freedom we must attract the uncommitted nations of the world to our forms of government and our ways of life, and whichever party is in power will have this responsibility.
I wonder how many of my readers listened to Mike Wallace's interview with the Nobel Prize winners. I would like to remind you of what Lord Boyd Orr said. He wanted the U. S. and Russia to cut their military budgets by 10 percent, and he thought the other nations of the world should be asked to do the same. Five percent, he suggested, could be retained within a country to reduce taxation. The other five percent should go into a U. N. international fund to be administered by business men and applied to develop the enormous potential resources of the world. This, he felt, would help relieve poverty in Algeria and the tension between that country and France. It would also reduce hunger, poverty and disease in many areas of the world. He suggests this might be a way to begin disarmament. I wonder if we would be willing.