MAY 19, 1960
NEW YORK. —The suggestion made the other day by Adlai Stevenson would, I think, go a long way toward bringing real knowledge to the people about Presidential candidates and their policies.
Mr. Stevenson's suggestion to have a "great debate" on television would be a real step forward in having a rational campaign conducted.
I do not think anything is as good as actually seeing the candidates in person, but if they had this free time on the air and were obliged to engage in a debate with opposition candidates on issues during this time, I think the people would grow accustomed to listening and watching that hour on TV. They would get a far clearer concept of what was at stake and of which was the candidate best equipped by character and knowledge as well as experience to meet the issues of the future.
With the summit conference in Paris ending before it even had a real chance to get started—and in an atmosphere that undoubtedly means that Mr. Khrushchev will now devote himself to thinking of all the ways in which he can embarrass and irritate the West—we are going to need to know what plans the two major parties here have to meet one of the most serious situations that this country has ever been up against.
That was an amusing picture of Mr. Khrushchev attired in overcoat and hat chopping trees in France. Chopping trees is a good occupation to work off steam, and he certainly needs some such work that would do this.
I was amused because I have a photograph of Queen Mary of England during World War II, which she asked me to bring to my husband to show him how interested she was in conservation in spite of the war.
In the picture the Queen is attired in a suit with a fur boa, a hat and a veil and gloves. She has the end of a two-handled saw grasped firmly in both hands, and on the other end is one of her Australian dispatch riders in uniform. Between them they are sawing off a dead limb.
I never expected to see the representative of the Communist idea so closely following in the footsteps of a very fine but very royal lady in Great Britain.
One can only conclude from what has happened in Paris—since of course Mr. Khrushchev knew that President Eisenhower could not apologize any more than he himself could—that Mr. Khrushchev was in some way embarrassed at home, and that fact forced him into making his final absurd demands.
We can look now for complications in the European situation and for every possible irritation during the next few months. We had better do some serious talking with our own allies, so that we may now bring forth some proposals as quickly as possible in the United Nations.
And these proposals must be Allied proposals, for it is important that Mr. Khrushchev, who has already told us in a warning note that he has as much power as the West, know that the West acts together with combined strength.