JANUARY 30, 1959
HYDE PARK—On Monday night last week I went to a very interesting meeting in Newark, N.J. for the American Association for the United Nations. It was their celebration for the 10th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and they arranged to have their local Collegiate Council of the AAUN to take part by marching in with all the U.N. flags. It was a very colorful ceremony.
Mr. Harry Belafonte was to have been there to read the preamble of the Declaration, but he was unfortunately laid low by a virus infection. His place, however, was taken by a very charming young man who read well.
The Masterwork Chorus, conducted by Mr. David Dandolph, gave two delightful selections from Bach's Weinachts Oratorio. After the speeches by Mr. Clark Eichelberger and myself the meeting came to an end with the whole audience joining the chorus in singing the "Ode to Joy," from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, to which the words have been written of a world anthem. I particularly like the last four lines:
None shall let another fall,
Work beside me, O my brother,
All for one and one for all!
I think this was one of the best arranged programs I have ever attended. Not only was it well conducted, but the program chairman, Mrs. Philip Josephson, and the president of the New Jersey Association, Mr. Robert R. Beckwith, somehow managed to have the ceremonies end on time and we left Newark a little after 10 o'clock.
I was sent a copy the other day of a letter addressed to Speaker Sam Rayburn in the House of Representatives. It must have caused the veteran lawmaker a little anxiety because his friend was complaining about the continuation of the House Un-American Activities Committee and said rather forcefully that it was "more un-American than a lot of individuals it has investigated and helped to blacklist."
The writer then went on to say what a good many of us have been feeling about "who has ever known of Liberty's suffering because people talk as they please and believe as they please? The House Un-American Activities Committee charged Johnny Faulk of having been a member of the Southern Conference on Human Welfare. What of it? I have been a member of that organization myself and maybe still am. I have never heard of its trying to overthrow the government.
"If Congress is going to keep on having a committee to investigate individuals who don't think as Congressman Walter (Rep. Francis E. Walter of Pennsylvania) thinks, then let us have several other committees. Let us have one to investigate hypocrites who use religion to promote their political ambitions."
This is an amusing suggestion. I doubt that the Speaker will take it seriously, but I hope the Congress does consider seriously whether we need to go on forever with an Un-American Activities Committee. It may have been necessary in time of war, but certainly we do not need it in time of peace.