FEBRUARY 6, 1960
NEW YORK—It was encouraging to read that the Senate passed a $1,834,000,000 public elementary and high school grant bill. This is to cover both building construction and funds to raise teachers' salaries.
There is, of course, a chance that the President will veto the bill, since it gives more money for building and raising teachers' salaries than was suggested by the Administration. But it is very much to be hoped that the President will realize the need for improvement in our schools and, though this is only a two-year plan, it should mean great improvement.
I note that the Un-American Activities Committee has heard two young people (not really very young) admit that the Vienna Festival of last summer had been Moscow-directed and that the American delegation was Communist-controlled.
It must not be forgotten that in this particular case the State Department did suggest that young Americans go to this conference and observe what was going on. These people should not, therefore, be called to Washington as criminals for having gone.
The State Department must have known that some of those to whom it granted visas were young Communists, and presumably it warned the others.
I do not think there was any reason why all of them should not be asked to go to Washington to testify, if the committee is trying to ascertain whether any useful purpose was served by the attendance of our young people at this type of conference. It may well be that there was. I am not prepared to say. But if the State Department permits young people to go and even encourages them, as in the case of the Vienna Festival, they should not be under a cloud on their return for having gone.
If some of these people are members of a young Communist group, or in the past have shown sympathy for such groups, perhaps the State Department was wrong in letting them go in the first place. Or perhaps it should have screened more carefully the make-up of the group as a whole.
Certainly, no stigma should be attached to those who now appear before the committee and testify honestly that, having no tie with Communist groups, they went with a sincere desire to improve the situation between young people throughout the world.
I have a letter from a gentleman who takes me to task for not having written anything about a matter that is very close to his interests as well as to that of a great many other people in the country.
He feels that there should be much more public education on heart disease, and he says he has been carrying on a one-man crusade on this subject.
He insists that "today modern medicine enables the average cardiac patient to lead a normal life. Depending on the degree of his illness, certain restrictions will be advised by the physician." In other words, people should be allowed to work and to obtain insurance policies so long as they take the kind of work they can do and obey the doctor's orders.
Understanding is what he pleads for—not sympathy.