JULY 3, 1959
HYDE PARK—On Tuesday evening of this week I attended a rather interesting dinner where there were gathered representatives of fraternal organizations throughout the country. These people had already made their purchases of Bonds for Israel, but they were there to show their enthusiasm and to strengthen their own dedication to the cause of Israel.
The speeches were interesting, and I was presented with a drawing made from a photograph of myself by a well-known artist who also has painted portraits of Prime Minister Nehru of India and former Premier U Nu of Burma. I hope the library here will be pleased with this gift, for the people there know I am one of those peculiar persons who has a determination not to sit for portraits!
After the dinner I took a night plane to Washington and attended a breakfast arranged by Representative William H. Meyer of Vermont for some of his colleagues. After the breakfast was over, a few of the Congressmen, primarily from the Middle Western agricultural states, stayed a little while and asked me to do two recordings.
Then my son, James, who had accepted for breakfast, appeared. He apologized for his tardiness, but explained that during the night's thunderstorm his house had been damaged by lightning. Luckily, the only damage was a small hole in the roof, which was being repaired. But what he was equally concerned about was his beloved cat, who was almost frightened to death during the storm. James said he had to spend most of the morning trying to quiet him down.
Shortly, James took me to the plane and we had a good chance to talk together, and I was back in New York by 1:30 in the afternoon.
I was impressed by the interest these Congressmen are taking in matters that I think are not too well understood in the country as a whole today.
For instance, they are really troubled about the agreements that our country has executed with certain foreign powers to release atomic energy equipment for military purposes. The Congress, of course, may object to these agreements within two months of their submission, and if Congress with a concurrent resolution disapproves of them, that action will have the effect of voiding them.
These agreements were signed in May with Great Britain, France, Canada, Germany, Greece, Holland and Turkey. A group of Congressmen called the attention of their colleagues to the fact that the waiting period is going by with very little interest or discussion.
"There are many of us here," they say, "who are convinced that it will be a tragic mistake to spread this nuclear weaponry around the world, that it will involve additional risks without commensurate advantages. In the case of Germany, at the very least, it offers only the certainty of more severe conflicts with the Iron Curtain countries at a time when we should be seeking ways to ease the tensions that exist."
I am glad that our representatives have questions such as this brought before them, but I wish they could be more vividly brought before the people of the country for these decisions are very vital.