DECEMBER 30, 1958
NEW YORK—I returned to New York City on Monday morning, after a long and pleasant vacation in Hyde Park. There were so many young people and so much going on up there, but I think everyone got some rest and it is wonderful to return to the city and find that one can buy newspapers again.
Many of us have never experienced a period in New York—such as the past few weeks during the newspaper strike—without news except through radio and TV, and we did not find it a pleasant experience. The really serious side, of course, was the effect this strike had on advertising, which affected business, kept people from going to theatres and meant that a great many public and even social affairs could not be publicized.
There are many countries throughout the world where you can be for weeks and have no news of the outside world, but to have it happen to you in New York is unexpected and unpleasant—even if it was not a complete blackout—and it certainly did not make good feeling either between the newspapers and their employees or between the different kinds of employees on the papers, many of whom were thrown out of work at a time when they could least afford to be out of work.
If labor leaders are wise, I think they will look into this strike with great care and try to avoid anything of the kind again. I realize that some of their leaders must have thought they had a better chance of winning their points if they struck at a time when it would be most inconvenient and damaging to their employers.
As a matter of fact, I think they succeeded only in rousing the public to resentment. Whatever gains they made, when the cost is passed on to the public, as it surely will be, will not be accepted with complacency.
I am sure that there must be better ways of settling real disagreements than the costly and stupid method adopted by the newspaper union that caused the suspension of publication. If we here at home—talking the same language and having the same interests—cannot find better ways of meeting our problems than this type of fight, how on earth can we ever expect to find ways of settling differences between countries?
This is, to me, the discouraging aspect always of not being able to find agreements on our own difficulties. They are bound to occur, but we must find better ways of settlement.
I shall read with interest the chronology of events that occurred during the strike period, which has been published in the newspapers, but so far I have only had time to look at Sunday's happenings.
I should think that the new European money policy might help trade considerably, and what President de Gaulle has dared to say to the French people probably needed saying sometime ago. So far as I know, the French have never been very good at paying up, tax-wise, and President de Gaulle's edict will require considerable revision in their financial habits, I imagine.
Over the weekend I read a little book by James Ralph Johnson, called "The Last Passenger." The passengers were a kind of dove that once flew over this country in tremendous numbers, and this is the story of how they were brought to extinction. Anyone who want only kills animal life of any kind should read this story. It will make him think seriously of conservation and its advantages.