DECEMBER 10, 1957
NEW YORK—I understand that the U.S.A. was the subject of a good deal of wit and humor in the U.N. last Friday. At first there was dismay when the news came that our much-heralded missile had blown up on the ground, and then a broad smile spread over everybody's face at the opportunity this gave them to make fun at the expense of the United States.
If we must talk so much about things before we really do them, we must learn to take the amusement of other nations also. There is always a certain satisfaction in somebody else's lack of success, even though on second thought you may be a little troubled by the failure since you are counting on that particular somebody else to do a good deal for you in one way or another. A good many people are counting for protection and for help in various economic ways on the U.S.A.'s ability to succeed in technical development, and in the long run it is to everybody's interest that we go quietly about our business of development and announce what we do and where we are when we have sufficiently experimented to know that we have a success. I don't know what has happened to us, but it seems to me we have become even more talkative in the last weeks whereas I think it would be wise to be less so.
And now we have an accusation from Mr. Khrushchev that we are hiding the carrier rocket of Sputnik I which, he says, fell in the U.S. on Sunday a week ago. A number of responsible people have already said that we know of no such landing, and of course we have not as yet been told how the Soviets know that this rocket carrier did land on our territory.
There are vast areas of this country where I suppose a rocket of this kind might land and be lost forever. The Soviets also have vast areas where this might happen to them. Hence their promise to return any rocket fired by us which lands on their shores might not be as easy for them to keep as they seem to think. However, let's successfully fire one before we make any deal with them about returning it, and let's stop talking until we have actually accomplished something!
I want to tell the New York Newspaper Women again how grateful I am to have received their citation for my series of articles on the Soviet Union. Actually I feel that I owe this honor to the New York Post and specifically to Mrs. Dorothy Schiff and Mr. James Wechsler, who suggested that I take this trip. They had the vision to see that we needed some information and they were not afraid to ask if I would try to obtain it. I could not have gathered the information so successfully if it had not been for my two companions on this trip, Dr. David Gurewitsch and Miss Maureen Corr. Three pairs of eyes and three reactions are better than one, and they contributed greatly to my understanding of the things that we saw.