APRIL 5, 1960
NEW YORK—I was very much surprised the other day to be sent a clipping from a March 25 newspaper saying that "the Army asked Congress today to approve an increase in its budget next year for stepped-up development work on the chemical and biological weapons of wax."
In World War II it was my understanding that by mutual consent germ warfare was ruled out, but now we see by this clipping that Major General Robert J. Wood, deputy chief of the Army's research and development program, says that the Army feels it necessary to develop germ and gas warfare systems "which can complement the nuclear deterrent."
This seems to me unthinkable. We are becoming less and less civilized every day and also totally impractical. Spending large sums of money on a horrible type of warfare when already we have the certainty that bombs will bring complete destruction seems hardly necessary.
Must we create more and more ways of destroying human beings? Is it really necessary to "complement the nuclear deterrent," which can already give us complete annihilation and cannot deter anything?
Now let us turn to something a little more constructive. The National Association for Mental Health will launch its campaign for funds sometime between April 15 and May 31. And this year the association will focus attention on doing away with mental illness.
One person out of every 10, or some 18,000,000 in all, according to the association, need psychiatric care of some kind. To combat this situation the national association has 800 affiliates in 43 states and more than a million members and volunteers.
This organization is determined to fight the mental illness problem through research and treatment, and it feels that much can be done in the way of prevention if the public would be better informed on how it could help those who are threatened.
MAY will be "Mental Health Month" and the national association will be asking us for our support—and I hope we will recognize the importance of this campaign.
On Sunday I spent a little time in the afternoon at a cancer fund benefit given by the Francois de Paris hairdressing salon. This was a gay party, showing new hair styles, John Frederick's hats, Trefari jewels and featuring door prizes of every kind.
The whole affair was beautifully planned and managed, but it must have been a great deal of trouble for Mrs. Francois Laurence, our hostess. I'm sure both the American Cancer Fund and the Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, which will profit from the proceeds, will express their thanks for a citizen's interest in this field of research.