JUNE 24, 1958
NEW YORK—One cannot help wondering whether, when the Soviets ordered the Hungarians to execute their four political prisoners, they had any idea of what the reaction would be throughout the world, not only in such countries as the United States and Great Britain but in places like India and Africa and South America.
It is probably helpful to have such a spontaneous reaction express itself on a worldwide basis. Public conscience has a way of developing and surprising those who proceed on the supposition that what they did five years ago they can do now.
This happens on every level of public life, and in this particular case it has happened in an international situation. People were shocked at the brutality and cruelty of these executions.
The Soviet Union has been announcing at intervals of late that there had been mistakes made in accusations against various citizens. And as long as these citizens are still alive, it is possible for a mistake to be rectified. But once you execute someone, clearing his memory two or three years later will not bring him back to life.
That is one reason why the reaction against the Hungarian executions has been as prompt and as violent as it has been on a world basis. It will do no good for support of this action to come from other satellite countries. It is the nations that are not yet under Soviet control who are speaking out now while they still remain free.
* * *
The British have certainly made an effort to find a way to straighten out the situation in Cyprus. Taking Greece and Turkey in as future partners seems a fair way to work out this difficult and complicated situation.
The British want to preserve their military bases in Cyprus, but they are willing to make many concessions and to work out the situation to a point when there will be real equality between Greece, Turkey and Great Britain in the area.
* * *
The trip of the United Nations' Secretary General to the Middle East and his meetings with the leaders in Lebanon and the United Arab Republic, as well as the work carried on here by the Lebanese Foreign Minister, Dr. Charles Malik, should bring some results in the difficult Lebanon situation.
Everyone will be watching with eagerness and hoping for a peaceful solution of this small country's difficulties. It is a small country, but to keep it stable and peaceful is important to the whole area.
* * *
I attended briefly last week the annual entertainment given in Harlem for the benefit of the Harlem YMCA.
Unfortunately, I was unable to wait to meet some of the stars that were coming later, but I enjoyed watching the young people dance. It was interesting, too, to attend the last entertainment which will probably be held in the Savoy Ballroom, which is shortly to be torn down. It has been a landmark and a place for many meetings in that part of the city.
* * *
I would like to mention here the visit to New York of Mrs. L.C. Bates and the nine Little Rock students who have just been presented with the Spingarn Medal.
This group has made a very fine impression here. The dignity and gallantry of Mrs. Bates is easy to see, and the young people carried themselves with dignity, too. It is good to know that one of these children graduated from school, making the honor roll for several successive months, and another one won a prize for a biology exhibit.
In looking at the group, you wonder why anyone would have wanted to keep them out of an American school or to do them harm. It is to be hoped that their courage will make it easier for other children to follow in their footsteps.