AUGUST 8, 1957
NEW YORK—An editorial in one of our metropolitan newspapers seems to imply that it would have been better if more young Americans had gone to the Moscow Youth Festival, because a few of those who did go have been rash enough to get up on soap-boxes and read portions of the United Nations' report on Hungary to Russian youths!
They read the report in English, of course, so their words must be translated—but unless our Embassy is giving these young people very careful protection, what they are doing may lead them into really serious trouble.
I am not sure, either, that having accepted the greatly reduced travelling rates and the hospitality that the Soviet government is giving to those attending the Youth Festival, it is really good manners to do what these young people are doing. And I do not believe that their readings will have any actual influence on the young people who are there from other countries, or on the Soviet students themselves.
It may well be that there is discontent among the Soviet students, but I think we will find that it is superficial discontent. Fundamentally, they like belonging to a nation which is feared by other nations, and which they feel has great power. They may realize that what happened in Hungary is not something they wish to see repeated, either in their own country or in any of the satellites.
These young Soviet citizens, however, are receiving their education free, and their subsistence as well, from the government. They will talk, they may even sometimes demonstrate, but they will not make any important changes.
On the whole, I think it was wise for our student organizations to advise their members not to put themselves under a financial obligation to the government of the Soviet Union by attending the Festival.
Nevertheless, I hope those young Americans who did go will receive advice and care from our Embassy, and that when they come home the State Department will hear what they have to say, for they may acquire some information that is valuable. Even though the information may not be too important, the State Department might find it useful in connection with other tourists' reports, all of which should be given some consideration at the present time.
The death of Walter George at the age of 79 brings to mind a long public career. He was a Senator for 34 years, and headed the Foreign Relations Committee. He had earned the respect and confidence of his colleagues, and his family must be proud as they look back over his years of public service, which certainly have been filled with accomplishment.
It is good to read of the voluntary help given by union men in the storm-stricken area near Lake Charles, La. In Cameron, over the weekend, these men took materials provided by the Red Cross and built homes for disaster-sufferers. Nearly 150 members of the Building Trades Union of the AFL-CIO were mobilized in this labor-sponsored recovery plan. Five new homes were erected, complete from foundation to roof, and they will build 25 more in the five weekends to come.
The union men will also contribute their time in repairing houses that were damaged but not destroyed. The Red Cross then will provide the people who move back into these homes with furniture, clothing and food.
One can only hope that nothing as bad as this last disaster will occur in the future, but these people have known many storms and have ridden them out, and these sturdy new homes will help them face the losses they have suffered.