SEPTEMBER 21, 1954
NEW YORK, Monday—It seems a pity that there should be a contest for the election of president of the United Nations General Assembly between Europe and Asia this year. Both Prince Wan, of Thailand, and the Netherlands Minister of State, Dr. Eelco Van Kleffens, are certainly well entitled to election as president of this or other assemblies. The thing one regrets is that their names should be opposed to each other in the same year.
If I remember rightly, Prince Wan felt that the support of the United States had been practically pledged to him last year when India's Mrs. Pandit became a candidate and our country felt it should give its support to her. Commitments beforehand are always unwise but, it seems to me, it is also unwise for a candidate to press his cause, no matter how much justification he has, when an area of the world has not been represented in the Presidency for a long time and seeks recognition.
I am glad I am not serving on the U.S. delegation because I would want to vote for both the present candidates! I hope, however, that this can be a friendly contest and that we may see these two very fine candidates come to an agreement between themselves. Both of them should certainly head the General Assembly at some time in the near future.
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I was very happy to attend the other day, as a member of the Philip Murray Foundation Board, a luncheon at which the National Council of Churches received a substantial check. This foundation has recognized the fact that Philip Murray was a deeply religious man and it has generously aided Catholic, Jewish and Protestant charities.
Philip Murray was a loyal supporter of his own church, but he was also a man of broad vision and many sympathies. Those who spoke at the luncheon emphasized the fact that he was a statesman as well as a labor leader. I know that the trust and confidence and mutual respect which grew up between my husband and Philip Murray was due to the fact my husband felt that Mr. Murray understood the problems of government, and always considered the welfare of the country and the people as a whole as well as the welfare of the workers whom he represented. This meant that Philip Murray had to have the trust and confidence of the men with whom he worked and who elected him to office. He kept this all his life, and it is good to have him followed in office by a man like Walter Reuther who has integrity, understanding and ability.
One of our metropolitan newspapers has just praised Mr. Reuther for having moved so quickly to crack down on officials who have misused the welfare funds of certain CIO unions.
Human nature is weak and apparently these men have fallen before temptation, but this discovery of misuse of funds may be of real value since it should cause a closer scrutiny by the unions themselves of how funds are invested and controlled, and how their own leaders conform to the ideals of service which are inherent in any leadership.