JUNE 15, 1960
HARTFORD. Conn.—I know that everybody shares my anxiety about the President's trip to Tokyo.
Not all the police and all the soldiers in the world can really guard anyone if there is a desire to harm that person and a disregard of whatever punishment may follow. I shall be saying prayers for the President's safety and will certainly be relieved when he leaves Japan.
I have been told, of course, that if he had cancelled his trip the United States would have "lost face" in Asian countries. I do not feel that this would be so.
It may well be that part of the feeling that is being expressed in Japan against the U.S. is because of the internal displeasure at the way the Japanese government made its agreement with our country. I have been told that the people feel that the agreement was passed in an undemocratic way and did not allow for full discussion of opposing points of view. Out of that, it is said, has grown the resentment against the whole situation.
Basically, I am not at all sure that there is much point in an agreement of this kind for mutual defense, with so many students and young people opposed to it.
It is easy to say whenever we run into difficulties of this kind that the difficulties are all inspired by something the Communists are doing. My observation is that the Communists exploit any situation in which we have made a mistake. They may try to initiate situations, but I doubt if they are often successful. Their greatest successes seem to come where basically we are in some way at fault.
I do not think that doing the sensible thing or the thing that is considerate of the feelings of the people ever means that a government "loses face." Instead, we are in greater danger of being considered arrogant and dictatorial. And the situation that would ensue, if anything were really to happen to the President, would be so much more serious than anything else that could possibly happen that I would have liked to see us avoid the possibility of such a situation.
I have a very sad little letter today from a Latvian who loves his country, its history and its folk songs, and who feels that the folk songs have kept the identity of the Latvian people together, even when they were under German and Russian control.
Now, of course, Russia looks upon Latvia as part of its country and even though, as we are told, the central government wants to see the various Russian republics keep their own identity as expressed in language and literature, my correspondent feels that the language is rapidly disappearing. And when a language disappears, he says, the whole of a European folklore suffers a loss.
He is anxious, therefore, to revive and translate some of the old folk songs and keep them alive both in Latvia and in other countries as well, and I hope he will be able to do so.
I am sure there is great rejoicing not only along New York's Broadway but throughout the country at the reopening of the legitimate theatres, following the settlement of the disagreement between the producers and the performers. I am sure the actors and actresses are glad to be back at work, and the public is certainly glad. For New York without the theatre is a strange place, indeed.