MAY 25, 1949
NEW YORK, Tuesday—No one can have heard of Mr. Forrestal's death without a feeling of deep tragedy. He was still in the prime of life and one felt that years of activity in business and intermittent public service lay before him.
We, the private citizens, must be grateful to all the men who carried heavy burdens during the war and suffered in consequence. He bore the burdens of the days of the war and those since the war. No man in public life in this country is immune from criticism and Mr. Forrestal had his share. Some of us, however, have learned to weigh a man's achievements, regardless of what may be said about him by his critics during his period of public activity.
The tragedy, of course, is that he could not have been saved from himself until he was well again. But perhaps he felt, that for him, the best years of life had been lived, for as one looks back over one's life I think it is the hardest years that one thinks bring the greatest reward.
To his family we would like to extend our sympathy and express once again an appreciation of a public service well performed.
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New York City yesterday welcomed President Dutra of Brazil, and I am sure that everyone who meets him will express their thanks for the way in which Brazil cooperated with the United States during the years of the war. Anyone who visited northern Brazil, as I did in 1944, will always feel there is a special tie between that country and the United States. We understand some of Brazil's problems; we also know some of the potential strengths that lie ahead as her country is gradually opened up and new settlers come to develop it.
I hope that President Dutra's visit to this country will take him beyond a mere glimpse of Washington and New York City. Too many of our visitors see only these two cities and never really know what this country is like.
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I think it is a good thing that it is part of the American way of life to honor among our citizens those whom we greatly admire. It gives us a chance to tell the young what the qualities are that win for a man recognition and admiration in his old age.
I would have liked to have been at the dinner the other night when the gold medal of the Williamsburg Settlement in Brooklyn was presented to Bernard M. Baruch for service to humanity. This medal is given annually to the person "who best typifies the American way of life and aids the underprivileged."
Mrs. Max Kleinfeld, settlement president, who bestowed the medal on Mr. Baruch, particularly mentioned his work on behalf of war veterans both in the field of physical medicine and in the aid to the deaf. Our congratulations go to Mr. Baruch, though as a matter of fact the Williamsburg Settlement really deserves congratulations for having found such a worthy recipient of their award.
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It is unfortunate that a little more care was not exercised in inquiring whether the scientific students who received scholarship aid from the Atomic Energy Commission had any political views or not. I am afraid, though, that that is the last field in which it would occur to any one to demand to know the political views of students. I am quite sure that in the future scholarships will be granted only to those who have been carefully considered for their loyalty to democratic principles. Judging by the headlines in the paper on the subject, however, it looks as though a few rather unimportant grants are going to create a great furor and take much of the time of some of our busiest members of Congress.