DECEMBER 15, 1954
NEW YORK—I was much interested in reading of a speech made by the Assistant Secretary of Labor, J. Ernest Wilkins. He fears that there may be a breaking up of the world into racial blocks such as "Asia for the Asians, Africa for the Negroes, Europe for the white people and America for whoever can get in."
It is true that in the world today there seems to be a tendency, particularly in areas which have lately become new nations, to be more conscious of a particular race which that area represents and not so conscious of the value of living together in harmony with the rest of the world. I think that one of the reasons the United States has become great is because there is a mixture of people here that have come from other lands seeking new freedoms and new opportunities. This mixture is, I believe, a great strength.
To be sure, certain racial groups, as they settled in this country, stayed together for a time. But, gradually, they scattered, and most of us find that we have a variety of national strains in our background. I think that has made for a strong, virile people.
Those who came to this country were adventurous, with strong convictions and beliefs. This country, in time, does seem to set a stamp upon its people and I suppose there is what is known as a "type." But, by and large, our mixture of background is good, and makes a strong argument for not having any area of the world isolate itself on purely racial lines.
* * *
The concert at the United Nations to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Human Rights Day was a most lovely way to remind people of this particular day.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Charles Munch, played Handel's "Water Music" marvelously. Mr. Munch is a most resourceful director, bringing out all kinds of variations. Then came the treat of hearing Miss Irmgard Seefried, the young Viennese soprano, sing a series of songs, first Haydn's "With Verdure Clad," then four of Richard Strauss' songs. It was altogether delightful and she kindly gave an encore. She is a gracious and charming young woman, and certainly has a beautiful voice. To end the concert the orchestra played Berlioz' "Symphonie Fantastique," OP. 14 A. I had never heard this before but enjoyed it very much.
I think it was a wonderful gesture for everyone to donate their services, including the cooperation of Mr. J.C. Petrillo of the American Federation of Musicians. The concert was on the air and through recordings will be broadcast in many other nations.