DECEMBER 21, 1959
NEW YORK—On Friday morning I had the pleasure of having a talk with the Hon. Chester Bowles. He appeared for breakfast and was as stimulating and exciting to talk with as ever. He has more ideas than most of the people one usually meets, and in talking with him it is easy to understand why the young people in his family are so interested in the world and so alive to ideas.
I saw the other day that his daughter Cynthia was going back to be a nurse in Madras—this, of course, because of the interest and affection she has had for India ever since her stay there when her father was our ambassador. His son, aged 20, has passed up some interesting opportunities in order to go and teach high school, for a year at least, in Nigeria. This boy speaks Russian well and has visited Russia twice. He says there is no difficulty at all for young Americans to talk to young Russians. We older people may find a difficulty, but they can talk with ease.
The younger Bowles girl is still at Smith and wants to do things in politics. When we have young people of this kind growing up, no one need be gloomy about the future of this country. These young people will know more and understand more than the older generation.
I sat up late one night last week reading pages and pages of a letter sent me from China by Anna Louise Strong, author, teacher and one of the first American correspondents in Soviet Russia. Here is a woman who lived in Russia many years, was finally imprisoned as a spy and, when released, came home for protection. Yet as soon as it was safe for her to do so, she returned to the Communists. When she was here, I understand, she told people she was not a Communist; but I have always thought she was an honest person and I rather imagine that she has just kept quiet here, for there is no question in my mind but that she is ideologically a Marxist. She has always found excuses for the Communists, and in this letter she explains why they entered Tibet to "free the people." She also gives a history of U. S. intentions everywhere in the world which is totally unfamiliar to me. According to her, we are supposed to have done things from motives which I think would surprise many American citizens.
Now, it may well be that we have been completely hoodwinked. But I am not at all convinced by what she writes, and I am more than ever appalled by the closed-mind attitude of the really convinced Communist. There seems to me to be no real point in argument, because these people have made perfectly good explanations for themselves for anything that happens, quite aside from the facts as most of us see them.
One should not be surprised at Mr. Hulan Jack's explanation of a "loan." By now Mayor Wagner must have discovered that wherever he turns he is going to find public servants who have become accustomed to doing what might be called "borderline" things which can be explained, though sometimes the explanation is hard to believe. This does not trouble them at all because what they did is being done by practically everybody in their group of politicians. This is a state of mind, and we need to be shaken up by reform in our city.