FEBRUARY 22, 1961
NEW YORK—On Saturday of last week we arrived in Miami quite comfortably and without any difficulty, but on Sunday morning we read the alarming news that the Flight Engineers International Association had gone on strike, affecting seven air lines. Then I began to worry about getting home, and eventually we were fortunate to get on one of the few flights going north.
My Sunday was a busy one, with a lunch and a dinner in the interest of Bonds for Israel, and a tea for my son James's chief interest, the Eleanor Roosevelt Cancer Foundation. He was supposed to fly down for the tea but was unable to get out of Washington.
It's hard to imagine the difficulties a great number of people must suffer because of a comparatively small group. The flight engineers' association consists of 3,500 members (but not all of whom walked off the job) and they staged their strike protest against the ruling of the National Mediation Board that made the Air Line Pilots Association their bargaining agent.
It is even more difficult for the average person to understand much about the grievances that exist, as among the pilots, the flight engineers, the air lines, the stewards and stewardesses, and the International Association of Machinists. It is hoped that Secretary of Labor Arthur Goldberg will be able to effect a truce so that in future the public will not be as badly inconvenienced as has been the case early this week.
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In reading the Manchester Guardian of Great Britain the other day I came across an interesting article by John Cole, who reports that the Labor party is now demanding that South Africa's membership in the Commonwealth be suspended until it agrees to change its racial policies.
The change of heart on the part of the Labor party has been brought about by the decision in South Africa to declare itself a republic. This question will come up at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference on March 8.
The Labor party urges the British Government and all Commonwealth Prime Ministers to call on the South African Government to "abolish the racial discrimination practiced in its country, bring its policies into conformity with the multi-racial principles of the Commonwealth, and honor its obligations as a member of the U.N. by returning its mandate over South West Africa and by upholding the U.N. Charter of Human Rights."
This seems to be a change in the Labor party attitude and may very well make a change in the attitude of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference. Pressure from the group that makes South Africa strong will have more effect than all the pressure brought to bear by outside influence.
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Also over the weekend I read in the French newspaper, L'Express, an interesting article about the one man who seems to be the possible successful negotiator between various factions in Algeria and also between Algerians and the French Government. He is Ferhat Abbas, and his aim always has been to find solutions without violence.
In the present French-Algerian situation the difficulty has been to find the person who could negotiate. According to this article, that man is M. Abbas and one hopes fervently that he will be used and that negotiations will be successful.