JUNE 30, 1947
NEW YORK, Sunday—The General Federation of Women's Clubs has fortunately reversed its stand and approved the Stratton bill providing for the entry of 400,000 displaced persons into this country. In the earlier debate, however, one member gave expression to the view, apparently shared by many people, that displaced persons should remain in their own countries and not be allowed to come here.
Perhaps the member did not realize that these displaced persons have no country. Where they once lived, there is now utter and complete destruction. They have seen their families killed and dispersed, and many of them would be suspect in the countries of their origin. Some of those countries are anxious to have them return, but not always for friendly reasons. They want them back either because they are desperately in need of workers to help rebuild, or because they claim that if displaced persons do not wish to return, they must be Fascist and therefore should be sent back for punishment.
Other people here, of course, think that the displaced persons must be Communist, or at least undesirable. Actually, just the reverse is true. Statistics show that most of the refugees who were fortunate enough to come to this country during the war years are now not only self-supporting, but employers of other people. Not a little of our success in the past has come because we have had new people coming to our country with fresh ideas and fresh determination to succeed.
I am beginning to think, from another action of the Federation, that the membership must be made up of fairly well-to-do ladies, for on Friday I read that they opposed rent controls because, they say, small owners are suffering. That seems difficult to believe. Most of the owners I speak to have been getting very fair rents in spite of controls, and at the same time they have not done any more repair work than was absolutely necessary on their property. If they had to do major repairs, of course, it would be hard now because of high prices. But by and large, nothing for rent goes begging these days. When everything is rented, that is the way small owners get the best returns on their money.
It is rather frightening to see history repeat itself. We are approximating so closely the thoughts and actions which took place after the first World War, that I should not be surprised to see us start before long on that downward path which came after the boom years of the Twenties. Perhaps there are a few boom years still before us. But having become a farmer, I hope we are not going to repeat the foolish actions which took so many farms away from the farmers and put them in the hands of the banks and insurance companies.
I am also sorry to note the cut Congress made in the appropriation for the Department of Agriculture, which reduces the soil conservation program so radically. It will be a bad blow to progress in the long-range plan for safeguarding our soil.