JUNE 21, 1948
HYDE PARK, Sunday—One of our most eminent columnists made what I thought was a rather rash calculation a few days ago when he wrote that in six months, when we came to vote the second ERP payment, there would be a careful adding up of how far the European countries had actually made good on their plans.
I think it might well take more than six months before one could see any tangible results whatsoever from the initiation of this plan. Moreover, I would think the people best able to judge whether a real effort toward success was being made would be those working in the field within the different countries. They might send back reports for consideration at the end of a year. But to hold such a threat over the European countries, it seems to me, might result in paralyzing their efforts.
The people of Europe have been through a tremendously long strain. Nearly all of the countries scheduled to receive aid from us have had war on their own doorsteps. One cannot be surprised if it takes these people a considerable length of time before they are able to make the required effort toward success, which would for us only be a normal effort. Neither can one be surprised if they are abnormally suspicious of the motives of other people who have not suffered as they have.
It is important to us today that we welcome visitors from Western Europe. We must remember that we are asking them to believe that our motives are above suspicion, that we are giving them aid in rehabilitation because it will benefit us in the long run, but that we are also giving it primarily because we want human beings to prosper in the world as whole. That is an attitude that most of the nations of the world have not come in contact with before. They are suspicious of it—and deeds, not words, will have to persuade them of our sincerity. People generally are not grateful when they are on the receiving end of a program such as now must function for the rehabilitation of Europe. But the recipient nations can be made to acknowledge the intrinsic worth of Uncle Sam and his people if we improve our democracy and live up to our principles.
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Last Friday evening at 7:20 we ended this session of the Human Rights Commission at Lake Success. I was certainly glad to reach the end. Six weeks of arguing over the weight of each word put down, as well as the legal meaning of every phrase, is not so easy for me, who am somewhat impatient of the things which I do not recognize at first blush as being really important. I have had to learn a great deal in this last session and it has been good discipline, and I am sure my lawyer friends will be pleased to know that I have come to hold a proper respect for their legalistic turn of mind.