JULY 9, 1959
HYDE PARK—A pamphlet issued by the Democratic Advisory Council entitled "Military Forces We Need and How to Get Them," for which Mr. Acheson, Mr. Paul Nizer and Mr. James King are responsible, is receiving considerable notice from a number of sources and I hope will be very widely read. One point, however, I would like to stress and that is that more attention should be paid to keeping up our conventional armies and weapons.
This is chiefly important, I think, in preventing the temptation, under which the Russians labor, of stirring up small wars where they take no part except to provide the arms. They do this usually in areas where we have some responsibility. It is not advisable to use nuclear weapons, and if we are not sufficiently well equipped to meet this situation with trained soldiers and conventional armaments we are placed at a disadvantage.
The Russians furnish the countries to which they give arms with specialists to train soldiers in their use. We do the same thing where we have military commitments, and we should realize that if we are not prepared to meet such threats it will undoubtedly be one of the ways in which the Soviets will gleefully harrass us.
This is not important anymore in Europe, but it is important in the Near East and Far East, in Africa and in the South and Central American areas.
The gift of cherry trees to New York City from the Japanese people is one which will bring new beauty to the city and joy to many of us who see them. I hope they will be as much of an attraction here every Spring as they have become in Washington. I trust our climate will be congenial to their blooming as beautifully as they do along the shores of the Potomac, and I want to extend my thanks to the government of Japan for making this generous and lasting gift.
I like the way the Soviets announced that they had recovered three animals from outer space. It is a good idea, I think, to wait until you have done something before you talk about it and I congratulate the Soviets on their achievement.
I have very little desire to actually see physical exchanges between human beings established with other planets because I still feel that we have so much to do here before we offer anything to any other planet. Perhaps we had better content ourselves with our own development for a little longer.
An invasion of Mars, for instance, might bring us valuable information but we had better be sure before we launch any such invasions that we have something really worthwhile to offer. Communications between planets seems to me to be a good way to begin our connections, rather than projecting ourselves immediately and physically into those outer space areas—which I suppose, is what we are preparing for when we try to find out what happens to animals who are launched into space.
Eventually, I am sure, we will travel as easily to another planet as we now do when we go to some country on our own planet, but let us wait a little while!