APRIL 29, 1958
BUFFALO, N.Y.—I have just received a letter from President James Symes of the Pennsylvania Railroad—a remarkably fine answer to my remarks in this column recently concerning the use of the word "colored" on passes issued to Negro railroad employes as a means of identification.
"I was somewhat surprised to see this trip pass," Mr. Symes wrote, "because it was my understanding that, while many years ago such passes were marked `colored,' that practice had long been discontinued."
He went on to explain that this practice was continued in only one area because instructions had not been received on the local level to discontinue it. And he said:
"For many years the Pennsylvania Railroad has been opposed to discrimination in any form."
The Pennsylvania Railroad's record in employment practices apparently is extremely good. And although the written orders from the top have been good, this incident shows how carefully they must be followed through.
I am happy to apologize to Mr. Symes for calling attention to this matter in the press as well as by letter, and I hope all companies throughout the country at the top level are as alert in the matter of good employment practices as is his company. Perhaps this will serve as a reminder to others to make sure there is cooperation with orders all the way down the line.
* * *
A representative of the State Department brought four visiting housing experts from the Soviet Union to my small New York apartment Saturday afternoon.
The only woman in the delegation had been taken ill and was unable to be with the others. She may have to miss part of the trip through the country unless the delegation is able to rearrange its schedule to permit her to accompany them to Chicago.
But governments are the same everywhere. Once having made a schedule, they seem to find it difficult to change.
I was amused by the young State Department representative as he tried to reassure the delegation on the request for a change in schedule, telling them that their request would be considered but not giving them too much hope it would be granted.
Their feelings reminded me of mine when I was in Moscow, waiting to know whether Nikita S. Khrushchev would see me or not. I thought then that red tape was a nuisance, and I am sure they feel the same. I hope the day will come when citizens of Russia and the U.S. will be able to move about in each other's country with less difficulty.
* * *
I had the great pleasure the other night of seeing a performance of the Moiseyev Dance Company at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.
This is no traditional ballet group, but rather folk dancing of the highest order—a little formalized but truly representative of dances from various parts of the Soviet Union.
I am happy to say that Americans do appreciate excellence and that when they find it, they show their approval unreservedly, as audiences have been doing ever since the Russians dancers' stay at the Metropolitan began.
Their success is, of course, a source of great pride to all their compatriots in this country, from the ambassadors in Washington and at the United Nations down to the visitors here for only a short time.