MARCH 26, 1953
NEW YORK, Wednesday—It is with sorrow that I read of Queen Mary's death.
She was a woman with a high sense of duty, completely devoted to carrying out the mission she felt she must fill—first as a Queen, supporting her husband in all he did; then as the Queen Mother after her husband's death; and finally as the Dowager Queen. Eighty-five years is a long time to live, and sleeping away peacefully was, I am sure, a welcome release.
Her passing has cast gloom over the nation, for she was well loved, but she has strengthened the royal family. I am sure someone with her sense of duty had the feeling that having brought strength to an institution which she believed in with all her heart was in itself a great reward. She loved England and in all ways wanted to lead the people in serving their country.
One of her last accomplishments was giving the beautiful carpet that she had made with her own hands, thousands and thousands of stitches representing hours and hours of work, to be sold for the benefit of England. She knew it would encourage the women in the Women's Voluntary Service to do more work for the same purpose.
The sympathy of the people of the United States will go to the people of Great Britain and to the Queen in this hour of sorrow for a personage whose great dignity and high sense of duty will remain an inspiration to her.
That is an exciting story of how four determined people commandeered an air liner over Czechoslovakia and landed it at the American Rhine-Main Air Base near Frankfort, Germany, after being assured of asylum in the West. There were 25 passengers aboard, two of whom also asked for asylum after landing, while the remaining 23 requested that they be returned to Czechoslovakia. It must have taken a good deal of calm to put through this plan.
There is no question that there must be much anxiety in the Soviet Union about the people who escape from the satellite countries because the Kremlin knows full well that these people are going to give a truthful report about what goes on behind the Iron Curtain. While the authorities can attempt to hide these defections from the people both in the satellite countries and in the Soviet Union, it soon becomes known that there is an escape route and that life in the West may be happier. I only hope that some way will be found to give sufficient aid to these people so they can go to countries where they can reestablish themselves and start life anew, with their immediate needs taken care of by the committees aiding refugees.
I am delighted to see that Senator Taft spurned Senator McCarthy's request to subject Charles E. Bohlen to a lie-detector test. Such a test would have been the crowning insult.
It is a strange situation, in this particular case at least, in which the Administration is not having any difficulty with the Democrats but is having to face great difficulty within its own party. Sometimes the President must wonder whether his support comes mainly from his Republican brethren or from the Democrats.
At the moment the situation is getting so muddy that I think it will be difficult to explain to any young man how it is possible for him to stay in the diplomatic service and serve his country even though the party in power may change. Yet that concept has existed in all diplomatic services for many years.