FEBRUARY 27, 1953
NEW YORK, Thursday—We certainly were shocked yesterday morning to read of the death by suicide of ex-Senator Robert M. La Follette Jr. I remember him as one of the remarkably alert and intelligent Senators, a liberal as was his father before him and as also was once upon a time the state of Wisconsin.
Senator La Follette was defeated by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and I have never understood what made the voters of Wisconsin turn from such an able, honest man as Senator La Follette to a person such as Senator McCarthy. However, I suppose it was just wanting a change.
As one reads the story of the late Senator's suicide one feels ill health was one cause. But perhaps general discouragement at the trend of affairs in our country in an area that he would feel particularly keenly about was one of the major causes that brought about his depression.
The story last week of the interview between India's Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlu, chairman of the All-India Peace Council, and Premier Stalin is of great interest to all of us because Dr. Kitchlu seems to feel that matters can soon be settled by reasonable conversations with the Kremlin.
Dr. Kitchlu feels that in the conversation he discerned the possibility of an understanding. There is no doubt that we would all welcome any solution, which India or any other country brings forth, that would be acceptable to the Soviets and ourselves. Otherwise, the present session of the General Assembly of the U.N. would appear to be a fruitless one.
On Tuesday night I went to the Town Hall to a perfectly delightful concert, at which the entire performance was devoted to the songs and choral works of Mary Howe (Mrs. Walter Howe of Washington, D.C.). Katharine Hansel was the soprano and I particularly enjoyed her rendition of Shelley's two verses called "Music When Soft Voices Die."
Miss Hansel's voice seemed delightfully well suited to these songs. And the Howard University Choir, under the direction of Warner Lawson with Henry Kindlam at the piano, was to me a great joy.
I was delighted to have the opportunity to hear this concert, but I was distressed that the house was a very small one. This could have been due to the fact that few people were actually aware of how good this evening of music would be.
I hope the whole group may be sung again in New York City when it would be better advertised and more people would know of the opportunity for enjoyment that is open to them. All around me everybody had a delightful time.
Talking of art, Williamstown, Mass., seems to be confronted with quite a problem. Williams College loaned two Chinese paintings for the art gallery in Winnepeg, Canada. When they were being returned the college was told that to import Chinese art one must have a permit. But, having possessed the paintings since 1941 and knowing that they had been in this country some time before that, the college didn't know that it needed a permit. And, since it had none, the puzzle was to find out what to do about getting its paintings back.