NOVEMBER 27, 1961
SAN FRANCISCO—Premier Khrushchev's bitter speech on West Germany, the other day, again underscores the problems we have inherited from the recent past. It is entirely true, as we feel strongly, that the integration of West Germany with the Western powers and the Common Market in Europe gives a better balance to the European situation. At the same time, no one can ignore the fact that Germany started two world wars, that she devastated a good many countries in Europe, and that her occupation of France and several other countries left no very pleasant memories behind.
It cannot be expected that people as suspicious as the Russians will forget this past history, even though they have succeeded in dividing Germany and, in so doing, have probably created one of the things which will keep this tension going in a part of Central Europe for a long while. When we come to negotiate the situation in West Berlin the past will undoubtedly be in everybody's mind; and the present economic strength of West Germany, which makes her the strongest country economically in Central Europe, will not be overlooked. Neither will the fact that many of the old Nazis have been reinstated in government positions—even though they were obviously the ones who knew their jobs and new incumbents could not be found to fill them satisfactorily. West Germany would like to have the world forget the Hitler period, but neither we nor the Soviets can be expected to do that.
Hitler's madness set off World War II and in a way laid the basis which later gave Russia control of a number of satellite states. Russia probably expects that in time all of her satellites will feel it is safer to belong in the orbit of a strong power than to be a small free power. The rest of the world probably hopes that in the future it will be safer, and accepted by all, that such small powers as wish to be free and independent may have the right and the protection of the U.N. and can follow their own desires. Negotiations for the present, however, must be carried on in the framework of world suspicion. Negotiations are not satisfactory nor do the results bring about any lasting effects unless both sides are fairly well content with the new situation which is created, and this is going to be difficult to accomplish.
Some people in our country are going to feel that any kind of negotiation is appeasement. This will be unfortunate, because we cannot do away with the use of force unless we have negotiations. If people are unwilling to look upon this as a method of settling disputes, then we are going to be further and further away from learning to live under the rule of law and without the use of force.
* * *
I hope many people had a restful and peaceful Thanksgiving weekend, with friends and relatives gathered around them to give thanks for the blessings that we in this country enjoy in such abundance.
Thanksgiving Day was for me an enjoyable time, though the weather turned against us in the afternoon and continued cold and wet all of Friday. But Saturday gave us the most beautiful clear sky and a warm enough day to make walking in the woods a joy. This is the time of year to rejoice in the smell of burning leaves, to regret the loss of the color which is now completely departed from the trees, but to admire the lacy silhouette that the bare branches make against the sky. I am one of those who enjoy the changes of season, finding in each of them many things of great beauty, and I could not help thinking as I walked in the woods how foolish we are, poor human beings, to want to destroy such a beautiful world.
* * *
Many will regret to see news of the death of James A. Haggerty, Sr. He had a long and full life, and from 1920 to his retirement in 1954 he was a political reporter on the New York Times who was revered by all. As I read about him, I remembered Louis Howe speaking of him years ago in the highest terms, and I also remembered his friendship for Edward J. Flynn. I am sure many of the great will recall incidents in which this newspaper reporter of ability and great integrity played a real part. To his widow and son all of us extend our deepest sympathy.