APRIL 23, 1954
EAU CLAIRE, Wis., Thursday—Our time in Detroit seemed very short. We had a really good meeting with people who wanted to work and increase the membership of the American Association for the United Nations to get information across. I had an hour to write my column and enjoyed a little time to visit with my niece, Mrs. Edward Elliott. Then there was a luncheon in the Veterans Memorial which is the first building in the new civic center actually to be completed.
I was very pleased to see this development along the river and I think in time as the old buildings go and the new ones are erected this will be one of the most charming sites in the whole country. Mr. Lee Barrett, our new state chairman, was one of the original backers of this idea and he is hopeful that someday across the river there will be another civic center facing the one in Detroit, which would certainly make it an even more charming outlook. A river with all its traffic is always fascinating to watch.
The luncheon was attended by 400 people and Mr. John Coleman, who had only just arrived back in town, came to introduce me. I did not have much opportunity to talk to him about the work he is doing to try to bring leading industrialists of Europe together with ours, but it seemed to me one of the most important things that can be done at the present time because trade can be a great aid to world peace. He expects before very long to have a meeting in Holland, and I was interested to hear that Prince Bernhard is taking an interest in these activities.
In the late afternoon we took the train to Chicago and rain accompanied us most of the way. It looked almost at the point of flood in some places. In Chicago we just changed stations and took the train for Eau Claire.
To my surprise, and I confess a little dismay, we were met not only by one or two men, but by a whole committee of ladies. I felt guilty at making them get up so early—six a.m.—but when we reached the hotel and all went into breakfast I began to feel that this was the normal hour for everyone to get up and we had a very pleasant meal, after which we had three hours before our daily schedule began at 10 o'clock.
I had been in Eau Claire many years ago but I did not expect anyone to remember it. One lady, however, told me that it was about 20 years ago and she remembered some hecklers in the back of the hall and the worry about them, and her relief when she found that I was apparently undisturbed by them and was able to answer their questions.
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I have just been reading through a suggested plan for peace in the Middle East which 19 American leaders have proposed to both the Secretary General of the United Nations and to the President. They suggest this plan as a basis for United States policy, but they want to carry it out with the United Nations. They give a very good summary of conditions in the Near East and I think it is a very fair one which is not partial either to the Arab states or to Israel but sees the whole picture and sees it in relation to the rest of the world. It is a critical analysis but it also is constructive.
The difficulty, I fear, will be that the Arab states will never consent to the real rehabilitation which would start their people on the road not only to better standards of living but to more power in their own government. If this could be brought about, however, I think the cost would be repaid a thousand times over in the value of the security which would be produced for freedom and justice and a democratic way of life in that whole area.
The backers of the plan are hopeful that a program such as they suggest cannot be indefinitely fought against by the Arab states in the face of firmness by the United Nations. I hope that they are right and that the powers that can move in this direction for world peace will at least give the plan serious thought in making an effort to carry it out.