JANUARY 30, 1951
NEW YORK, Monday—I wonder how many people noticed that a new cut in the British meat ration has been ordered. This means a 60 percent cut imposed in the last two months on what was already a very small ration.
The New York Times printed a picture showing a weekly ration for two persons in England today, and the weekly ration for one. The piece of steak and the piece of corned beef are minute, indeed. Each would have to do for one meal. That would leave five days on which people must eat fish, fowl, eggs. This is a meat ration far below what the British had even during the war. There are comments in the papers that people are somewhat resentful against their government, but what else can the government do?
England has adopted a rearmament budget that, per capita, is as heavy an undertaking as we have taken on in this country. Since the war Britain has been under the handicap of rebuilding the greater part of some of its towns and villages. Much of London was destroyed and had to be rebuilt. Many factories and many of the homes of rich and poor alike were wiped out during the last war. This has impaired England's ability to produce, and while we may complain that the Britons have been slow in adopting modern methods we still cannot say that they have not had to assume very heavy burdens, which, fortunately for us, did not fall to our lot.
All this means, I think, that we cannot complain that England is not facing up to its responsibility in the struggle against communism. I personally feel that the people have been gallantly led during these years of austerity. From top to bottom everyone has accepted the same rules—whether it was food rationing, clothes rationing, household wares or anything else that would have made life easier and pleasanter.
We have given help through the Marshall Plan, but we have asked that all the European nations in the North Atlantic pact show their willingness to defend themselves in case of attack. They now are asking help from us in the way of essential materials which they themselves cannot produce. I wonder if we could not make these present hardships a little bit easier by some person-to-person gestures of friendship.
Could we perhaps, who have friends or relatives in England, provide them, week by week, with a stated amount of meat saved from our own usual consumption? I do not mean that we should buy more. I mean that perhaps one day a week we should eat less and see to it that what we would have eaten finds its way to some friends in Great Britain. We can do it through CARE, or we can do it directly. There are many shops that send packages overseas and know how it can be done to the best advantage.
Somewhere I read a comparison between the yearly consumption of meat in our country and the yearly consumption of meat in some of the other countries of the world. I wish all of us here could see that little item of news. But I would feel ashamed if it was read elsewhere in the world.