AUGUST 5, 1959
HYDE PARK—It amused me to see all the publicity given to young Steven Rockefeller's engagement to a young girl from Norway who served as a maid in the Rockefeller house for some time.
As soon as this girl learned the language she went on to other jobs and accomplished what she came to do—learn the language and something about our country. This has been a custom among the Norwegian and Swedish people for a long time.
When I was a young woman, I had a young, charming, pretty and well-educated girl—I think she was from Norway, though she may have been from Sweden—living with me until she learned the language. She did maid's work, but everyone knew that she came from an educated family and was trying to get more educational advantages than her parents at that time perhaps could afford.
It is fortunate that in the Scandinavian countries people can serve in domestic positions without a loss of prestige. This is perhaps the case because, from royalty down, there is a tradition of often having the children cared for by young people from well-educated families who are treated as friends of the family because of the responsibility and confidence placed in them.
Governor Rockefeller was quite right in saying he would not object to this marriage. I am quite sure he will have a well-educated, charming and well brought up daughter-in-law. So there really is nothing very unusual about this. All we need do is congratulate the young man on having good taste and wish both young people the best of luck in the future.
I have a letter from a gentleman who is much excited because I mentioned only the Republican and Democratic parties when I wrote of the method of financing campaigns. I did this because, while we do have a great many parties on our ballots, a great majority of voters vote for either one of the major parties.
This gentleman said in his letter: "I, for one, do not want my taxes or, for that matter, my portion of the air used exclusively for the two major parties."
I think he should be assured that his taxes and his portion of the air should go equally to whatever parties are on the ballot, in proportion to the number of votes each received in the last election.
It is evident that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev felt that the only chance to get a Big Four summit meeting was to have no decisions reached at the foreign ministers' conference in Geneva. So the Geneva Conference is just as well adjourned.
Since Mr. Khrushchev will visit this country next month, he will have an opportunity to learn more about American resources and the temper of the American people before going on to a summit meeting, if one should be held. This certainly is advisable, because this knowledge should be important to him in making decisions at a summit meeting.
A summit meeting is dangerous, but something must be done about Berlin and the overall European situation. A stalemate cannot last forever. If it is to be broken, it is best that Mr. Khrushchev go to the summit with as few false impressions about this country as possible.