OCTOBER 13, 1959
NEW YORK. Monday—Being in Hyde Park on Sunday for my birthday made it a very nice, quiet day.
I want to thank all the many people who were kind enough to think of me on my 75th anniversary and who sent their good wishes by telegraph and letter. I think you will agree that it would be impossible to thank everybody individually, for some people did not give me their addresses. Those who did will probably get a letter from me someday in the future, but I want them to know now, through this column, that it gave me a feeling of great pleasure to realize that I had so many friends and that they wished me well after so many years of living.
Birthdays really have very little meaning except that I think as you grow older they give you a heightened appreciation of what gratitude you should have for every extra day that is granted you. Therefore, you enjoy each day more and you hope that you can bring some joy into the lives of others.
I am grateful for the many opportunities that have been given me and I hope that as long as I live I may be able to use these opportunities usefully.
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The United Nations is getting plenty of appeals these days. Among others, the Dalai Lama has sent his brother to appeal against the Red Chinese aggression in Tibet.
But I cannot help feeling that it might be very useful to hear the Communist Chinese. Having to justify one's actions before a world body must be a salutary thing.
This is one of the reasons why I am beginning to feel very doubtful of the wisdom of not urging the Communist Chinese, through their own allies, to take the actions that might permit them to seek membership in the U.N. Withdrawal of their troops from North Korea and from other areas where they threaten the peace would mean a lessening of tension in those areas and the possibility of application for membership on the ground of real effort to show a desire for peace, which their latest actions have not shown.
Membership might mean that they would think more carefully about their future actions and not show the belligerent attitude that makes it so difficult to believe that they really want peace. It would also give them an opportunity to place their case in the Far East before the peoples of the world and might make a great many of us think more carefully about our own actions.
I know that this would be a difficult change in our and their approach to the whole situation, but I cannot help feeling that we need a change in our thinking in many ways. Perhaps this is one of the areas in which we could begin.
I see that a group of eminent scientists has proposed that a new committee be set up to help solve the technical problems of disarmament. And this may be a sign that we are all thinking that we need new methods of approach to the problems of today.