JUNE 9, 1959
NEW YORK—Mrs. Geraldine Thompson, a friend of mine who lives in Monmouth County, N.J., has a way of telling me that she is a million years old. Yet, she can spark a great many new things, and for energy and flexibility of thought I think she would compare well with many people in what we call today the young group.
In her home in Red Bank the other evening she gathered a group of children's court judges, top educators of the county and state, and institutional heads under whose guidance come many children, and she discussed with them the possibility of a program that might be organized to help the schools care for emotionally disturbed children in the very early stages. By so doing they would not in many cases reach the point where they would have to be committed to institutions.
Mrs. Thompson is now thinking in terms of a pilot project that might spark activity along these lines in many other areas of the country.
I have come to the conclusion that our thinking has to go back and begin at the nursery school and the kindergarten, and I would put much of our money into the all-day neighborhood schools, beginning with the primary grades. And it is interesting to find New Jersey discussing a new idea of this kind. I hope New York will be encouraged to do the same.
It is extremely difficult to make the average person realize that, if for 10 years we put our money to a far greater extent than we now do into improving the life and care of children in the very early formative years, we might save ourselves a great deal in taxes for hospitals, mental institutions and the ever-growing number of reformatories and prisons.
Besides, we might save individuals endless heartbreak, and, as a nation, waste less human material. We can ill afford to waste any human beings, for in the modern world in which we live human material is going to be more and more important.
As a nation, we have been wasteful of our land, of our money, and of our children. But in the struggle against communism we cannot afford to go on in this wasteful manner. The challenge we have to meet is too great, and the democracies must conserve all their resources.
I was very glad to see that President Eisenhower's nomination of Ogden Reid, former publisher of the New York Herald Tribune, to be Ambassador to Israel, had been confirmed.
I understand very well Senator J. William Fulbright's feeling that we should get away from paying political debts by giving appointments in the foreign service to people who have been helpful in political campaigns and in many cases to people whose private means make it possible for them to accept certain posts in countries where it is expensive to represent the U.S. If we are going to have a good foreign service we should compensate all our representatives adequately and make it possible for them to represent us with dignity wherever they may be posted.
But we have not reached the point yet of wiping out all nonservice appointments, and it seems to me that in the case of Mr. Reid we will have a good representative. I am sure he will make every effort to understand the country to which he is assigned. I surmise that he already knows some Hebrew and will know more in a very short time. We need someone in Israel with sensitivity and understanding, and I think Mr. Reid will have both.