JUNE 9, 1960
NEW YORK—Since 1957 there has been a nonprofit organization formed under an Illinois charter that has been endeavoring to obtain recognition for men in the American merchant marine. It has been trying to get the U.S. Government to grant to merchant seamen the benefits for wartime services as are received by veterans of the military and naval forces. And, once this goal is achieved, the organization will work to maintain such recognition.
These people have never been able to get a national charter, even though the organization has members in some 31 states. And even though President Eisenhower has appointed a fact-finding committee to study comparisons as between the merchant seamen's and G.I.s' pay and allotment differences, etc., the Illinois group has never been able to obtain information on the results of this committee's work.
A bill—S1065—now up before the Senate, has been read twice and referred to the Judiciary Committee.
The merchant marine people have sent in many signed petitions, and they feel very strongly that they have a right to enjoy much the same benefits as those who were in the other services. They ran much the same risks in wartime, and many times greater risks because they were unarmed and usually not able to move as quickly as military vessels, for instance. They were certainly doing patriotic work that needed to be done, and it seems to me unfair that they should not receive recognition.
In some parts of the country there is growing a greater and greater concern as to how to meet the water needs of our communities. An organization called Research and Education Committee for a Free World in Washington, D.C., has sent me a pamphlet on salt-water conversion, which gives some facts about needs and costs and potentialities of salt-water conversion for ordinary use in communities.
About a month ago Senators Lyndon Johnson and Clinton Anderson introduced a bill in the Senate—S3557—which would speed up and put on a continuing basis the Federal government's program of research and development of saline-water conversion. At present the work being done is limited and temporary, but this bill would authorize loans to communities to start work and try out seriously the possibility of using salt water for general community needs.
I think everyone should read Walter Lippmann's article on General de Gaulle, which appeared in a New York newspaper last Tuesday. It gives one food for thought and emphasizes what I have heard from a number of people—that General de Gaulle emerged as the strongest of the leaders from the debacle of the summit conference.
I went up to Hyde Park Tuesday morning with Nannine Joseph and Miss Corr, and we arrived at the library to find the filming for Dore Schary's movie, "Sunrise at Campobello," in full swing.
Mr. and Mrs. Lansdell Christie and their two daughters were to meet us and they soon arrived, and I took them through the house. Then I met with a group of Wellesley and Vassar students who are about to take government jobs in Washington. For an hour or so we sat under a tree and I answered questions. Then we returned to my cottage for lunch and soon the whole movie cast came over to do some filming there.
Wednesday morning I drove to Pittsfield, Mass., to give the commencement address at Miss Hall's School, where my granddaughter Nina was graduated.