SEPTEMBER 26, 1959
EN ROUTE TO LOS ANGELES—Our Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson took off the other day on a tour of Europe, with his first stop in Yugoslavia and a later visit to the Soviet Union.
I don't know, of course, how much he plans to see in the various countries, but I hope he will see in Yugoslavia some of the little mountain farms run by women who lost husbands and fathers in World War II. I vaguely remember hearing that Yugoslavia lost one out of every 10 men during the war, and that fact brought home to me strongly what this meant to the number of women I found running farms alone.
In that mountainous area farming is completely different from what it is in the United States. And I think another valuable thing our Secretary of Agriculture can learn is the great differences that exist in the world in the supply of food.
The Soviet Union, of course, is trying its best to copy us in the use of machinery and type of farming, and it has vast regions which make this possible.
Much could be learned by the Secretary on this trip, but he should extend it into Asia and Africa, and then he should stop for a long talk at the Food and Agriculture Organization headquarters in Rome. This specialized agency of the United Nations could furnish him with facts on the world food supply which might make it possible for Mr. Benson to change our whole agricultural policy and to do it on the basis of the real needs in the world.
I am still hopeful that someday we will buckle down to the problem of the proper use of our productive capacity in agriculture.
On last Tuesday evening I had one of the most rewarding evenings I have spent in the theatre in a long time. We went to see John Gielgud in "Much Ado About Nothing" and, arriving a few minutes late we came in upon the charming opening scene.
Mr. Gielgud has accomplished something utterly delightful in his presentation of this Shakespeare play. It is staged beautifully, the costumes are charming, and he and Margaret Leighton give a wonderful performance.
I had not read the play for many years and I found myself judging it as though it were a new play and thinking how clever the lines were and how important it was not to miss anything that was said.
The controversy over whether Shakespeare or Francis Bacon really was the author of the Shakespeare plays has never excited me greatly. But the fact that one or the other was the writer comes out in all that was written, for "Much Ado About Nothing" is as appropriate and entertaining today as it was in the days when it was written.
Human nature is still human nature, and the author created his characters with masterful skill. I am sure the theatre will be sold out for the entire run in New York City and that everyone will come away with a sense of having spent a rewarding evening.
I don't have too many opportunities to go to the theatre, and so I always resent it when I waste an evening. But there was no question on this particular evening of not enjoying every minute of the time spent in the theatre.