SEPTEMBER 19, 1951
NEW YORK, Tuesday—There was a ceremony on Monday in the Library of Congress marking a birthday gift to the Constitution of the United States, which is 164 years old this year. It was an unusual gift and what promises to be a lasting one.
Research has been carried on by the Bureau of Standards in cooperation with Thermopene technicians in the Libby-Owens-Ford Glass Company, and it took them four years to perfect what they were after. Now they have developed a process by which the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence will be preserved in glass and bronze cases in their usual places in the Library. These cases will prevent deterioration of any kind over an indefinite period of time.
I am very glad to know that these precious documents, which should be seen by every citizen, will be carefully guarded from now on and still be available to all those who wish to see them.
We left Hyde Park very early on Monday morning for New York City and we will be there for several days, doing a few of the many things that the autumn always presses upon me.
We had an interesting discussion on Sunday with guests who came to lunch with us. As is almost inevitable in any talk that arises on today's world situation, the question of the Soviet Union and the United States came up. Little by little, as I talk to one person after another, I am beginning to think that we in the United States are too apt to believe that all the difficulties in the world lie within us.
Looked at reasonably, it would seem fairly certain that Russia must have as many difficulties as we have, if not more. She can exact great sacrifices from her people and, as their living standards have never been very high, they will not be asked to give up as much as we are asked to do.
But if Tito finds it necessary to tell the Yugoslavs, as he did the other day, that they must have a little more patience and they will begin to see in their daily lives some of the results that his Communist regime will bring about, isn't it likely that the Soviet Union will hear from its people also? And how about the satellites, some of which have known higher standards in the past?
It may be possible for Russia to get all the recruits in her armed forces that she needs, otherwise they might be refused work, but I don't think families in Russia like separations any better than we do here.
We know that one of the important arguments for lending money to Franco's government in Spain, for instance, is that his transportation system is inadequate and in order to improve it, which is to our interest if Spain is to be on our side, we must immediately send him these great sums of money.
How about the transportation system in the Soviet Union? The Russians surely haven't built an adequate transportation system since World War II, and without one how will they move their supplies? And their troops and their civilians throughout their vast domain under almost impossible climatic conditions?
Their ally in Asia, China, certainly has an inadequate transportation system. Yet, in spite of all these quite obvious difficulties, we still tremble and take it for granted that Russia can launch an all-out attack that would effectively wipe out the free world.
It doesn't make sense to me and I think we should begin by taking the initiative away from the Soviet Union and offering plans that would be a realistic approach toward the solution of the question: "What can we do if we don't go to war?"