JUNE 29, 1949
SOUTH HADLEY, Mass., Tuesday—I came to Mt. Holyoke College yesterday to speak last evening on Human Rights at the opening of the school's Institute on the United Nations.
Mt. Holyoke is offering four weeks of really remarkable conferences and speeches, which should be of much benefit to all those who are able to attend. A number of colleges are conducting these international institutes and in doing so are performing a public service in creating a keener interest in international affairs.
These programs make it possible for people who come here from other countries to meet a great many more citizens of the United States and it gives them a chance to speak and tell us the things which we need to know if we are to understand the way these citizens of other countries feel and the conditions under which they live.
The value, I think, of not just having speeches made, but of allowing for conferences and discussion periods, is demonstrated more clearly each year as these institutes and their methods become more familiar to us all. Naturally, those attending the institutes are all adults, many of them with trained minds and mature thinkers. But this method of acquiring knowledge is also being used to great advantage by teachers in groups of younger students today. Where it is not being used—particularly in the teaching of history, literature and economics—there is a great loss to the pupils.
I enjoyed my visit to Mt. Holyoke, as I always do, and on Wednesday night I shall fly to Atlantic City to speak to the American Red Cross Convention.
The Red Cross, of course, has a special place as an organization in our country. It is semi-official and it has always been headed by individuals who have been recognized for their enlightened leadership and their devotion to the cause of humanity.
During the war the volunteer efforts of women were greatly expanded, and at all times I think the work of the women in the Red Cross is of paramount importance. Frequently, their heroic efforts do not receive as much recognition and publicity as other work undertaken by the Red Cross. But the job they do could not be accomplished if it were not for their faithfulness and charity.
The Red Cross, it seems to me, has always been concerned with human rights. If it did not have a deep interest in the plight of the individual and feeling that the individual was worth preserving, it would not put all of its resources into the mitigating of human suffering wherever it is to be found.
I am glad that I shall be at the convention for one night, but when this speech is over I am going back to Hyde Park and I hope to remain in my own locality for July and August with as few excursions as possible even to New York City.