MARCH 18, 1959
TEHRAN, Iran—I have just received a copy of an article written by a Father Ginder. In this piece he gives the impression that anyone in public life or private life who faces the fact that we have to live in the same world as the Russians and who realizes that a third World War is an impossibility as an answer to our problems is in some way betraying the people of the United States. He declares that such people are making others believe that the Russian government does "not intend to be anything other than murderers. Their actions prove this every day."
I would like to say that I think many of us realize only too well that if the Russian government felt it could wipe out all opposition to a Communist world by a military attack it would not hesitate to do this. Fortunately, however, it has not felt that this was possible, and we pray that our preparations will be such that a balance in military power will be kept, so that the Soviet government will be forced to continue to try to win by other means—economic and cultural.
The Soviet Union might very well be laying plans to try to bring about a military situation in which it might hope to win without retaliation, but I think it is up to us to see that that hope does not materialize.
Father Ginder must know that the people of Russia who have had war on their doorstep are no more anxious to have war on their doorstep again than we are.
It is the government of Russia that might like war, not the people.
And if we can keep ourselves sufficiently strong, then we must take every opportunity to let the people know in Communist countries that we are really their friends and not their enemies.
In addition, we must show by our actions how much we care for the individual human being because we believe in a God who gives us all of whatever race or nationality, a dignity as human beings. This is one of the strongest areas of our leadership.
But it is rather foolish to say as Father Ginder does: "The way to settle the Berlin crisis, and the one way that Russia understands, is to move a division or two of troops into West Berlin together with a few dozen tanks and several huge crates clearly marked `Caution: H-bombs."'
For the war will not be fought in Germany. It could be fought here, and before we even know it has come about.
I have a letter from a correspondent in Grand Junction, Colo., who writes of a bill that is scheduled to come up in Congress which will ask for a pension of $100 a month for World War I veterans.
These men are getting older and there are not a great many of them left. One hundred dollars does not go very far in today's markets, and I would hope that in spite of the present drive for economy we might be able to pass this bill.
At the same time some consideration should be given to allowing our surpluses to be used to supplement food which people on pensions and welfare budgets have to buy. These are the people suffering most at present from the high cost of living, and it would help our economy to give them a little break on their food purchases.