MAY 5, 1961
HYDE PARK—It seems fitting that President Kennedy's first trip outside of the United States while in office should be to our Canadian neighbors. In visiting the Province of Quebec, Mrs. Kennedy will find her gift for languages a great asset, for that French province is always glad to have an official visitor who can speak its language.
I remember when my husband and Prime Minister Winston Churchill met in Quebec and Mrs. Churchill and I were asked to speak on a radio program, partly in French and partly in English. It was most amusing and I have often wondered whether we made much sense in trying to please both language groups.
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The President's ability to do so well on his minimum wage bill was encouraging. The House's version of the bill was better than many people expected, and the final compromise of $1.25 covered 3,624,000 workers.
This may mean additional wages for those in the higher wage brackets because when the low-wage workers' pay is raised, the wage differential is usually expected to be preserved. So benefits may come to a great many more people than appears on the face of the law's provisions.
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The visit of President Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia with President Kennedy in Washington may have some interesting results, for Tunisia has managed to win its freedom and establish satisfactory cooperation with France.
There has been a feeling for some time that if similar arrangements are worked out with Algiers, the influence of Morocco and Tunis would be felt and serve as a bridge between the Arab states and the West.
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Our Ambassador in Paris, James Gavin, must have had more than one opportunity in the last few days to employ skillful diplomacy. The newspapers report that at one lunch two guests almost came to blows and that it was only the Ambassador's persuasion that kept one of them from leaving the party.
I suppose it is natural that there should be suspicion of our intelligence operation in every uprising, and we will be blamed no matter in what part of the world trouble breaks out. But fortunately Ambassador Gavin seems to have stated in no uncertain terms that we were not involved in the Algerian army rebellion, and he has exerted a peaceful influence on a situation that might well have been distorted badly and resulted in demonstrations against this country.
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It is with regret that I noted former President Eisenhower's decision not to visit Japan, but I can well understand that there is no obligation upon him to do anything that might possibly bring about an unpleasant situation.
In fact, he may feel that he does not want to take a chance of creating any more difficulties in the foreign policy field than President Kennedy already has.
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Reaction to Premier Fidel Castro's speech abrogating elections and creating in Cuba a "socialist state"—which, in his vocabulary, means a "Communist state"—has at this point been unfavorable.
At least that was the tone of Brazil's reaction, and it appears that the speech may prompt a close consultation of South and Latin American states on their actions in the future.
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Spring has been slow in arriving here this year, but for some days now driving across the park has been a real joy. The magnolia blossoms have given me a feeling of spring even when the wind has been cold and the rain equally chilling.
In many areas of New England there are still no signs of spring, and even a few miles up the Hudson River comparatively few trees have broken out of their buds, though the weeping willows are doing their best to do it here and there.