AUGUST 12, 1959
HYDE PARK—On Monday afternoon I got back from my little jaunt up to Maine. On the way back, in spite of the rain, I stopped for a delightful evening meal with Mr. and Mrs. Robert Magidoff at Squam Lake. They have a lovely hideaway house, most of it done with their own hands, right on the lake and deep in the woods. To get to it you follow a dirt road over what seemed to me almost a mile, and they have no telephone!
This seclusion should give Robert Magidoff and Nila a chance for peace and quiet after their busy school and teaching year at Ann Arbor, Mich. They must return to that routine again in September, and I think they will go rested and prepared for another busy year.
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I'd like to put down some impressions about economic conditions in the northeastern part of our country.
There are still little pockets of that section where it looks to me as though people live under rather minimum standards, but there are many more houses than there used to be, and more of them are painted.
The fishing this year has been fairly good, though no fisherman will ever tell you he is really satisfied with the way the fish are running.
The factory run by Mr. Harry Mattin in Eastport, which uses fish scales for lipstick, nail polish, costume jewelry and other items, does give steady employment all year round to a number of people. But the one thing in that area that seems to me to be wasted is the village outside of Eastport, which was built for the National Youth Administration years ago and for which some use should certainly be found. It is too good a plant to allow to go to waste.
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I have been reading with some interest the reports and comments on Vice-President Richard Nixon's trip to the Soviet Union. The consensus seems to be that Mr. Nixon did some very good Presidential campaigning. On the whole, everyone seems to feel that while his encounters with Premier Khrushchev did not prove him to be a brilliant man, given his position and the rather delicate job that he was doing, he did as well as could be expected.
Of course, 1960 is still some time off and the strange thing about politics is that nothing ever remains static. The way people think can change a great deal in a very short time.
Mr. Nixon is a good politician, however, and every gain will be made to count as much as possible. When you try to assess what he did with the Russians for the United States, you find yourself much more uncertain, particularly if you know the Russians. They want peace very badly, just as much as we do, and they have been told that their government wants peace and that we are the only people who stand in the way.
Therefore, we must be impressed on every possible occasion of the great desire the Russian people have for peace, so they took this opportunity to show our Vice-President how much they long for peace. He kept assuring them we were just as anxious for peace as they were, and so have all American citizens who have been in the Soviet Union. Because of their own government's constant propaganda, the Russian people are a little unbelieving of our assurances and so we never really can be sure how much we have convinced them.
As far as the heads of the government in the Kremlin are concerned, we know they will believe just what they want to believe. But bringing them over here does have some value, because something of the real situation and the spirit of the people of the United States may sink in—and that is the greatest safeguard we have against war.