MAY 10, 1954
NEW YORK, Sunday—No one I am sure can help but feel that the fall of Dienbienphu was inevitable, yet writes a history of great courage and devotion on the part of both the French and the Indo-Chinese national troops.
To sacrifice men in that way, however, must be bitter to the French nation. The loss of both the gallant General De Castries and the devoted nurse, Lt. Genevieve de Galard–Terraube, makes us proud that human beings can be so courageous, but also sad that such fine spirits have to be sacrificed. It does not, of course, mean the end of the fight for freedom, and we must hope for ultimate victory in that area. But it does make it more difficult and requires an even firmer position on the part of all those who oppose the threat of Communist control spreading to any new area in Asia.
I read Secretary Dulles' speech Saturday morning, not having been able to listen to it on the radio. It is a clear exposition of the situation as it is. Yet I wonder whether if this whole situation had long ago been taken up within the U.N., we would not have had more unity. The free Asiatic powers might like to feel that they were being consulted, and that they had a part in the final decisions on what can be done to keep Communism from spreading further in Asia.
To turn from a story of the glories of the human spirit to one which is anything but glorious, I am glad of the weekend recess in the hearings being carried on under Senator Mundt's chairmanship. One needed a rest from the endless stupidity that is going on. I cannot see that anyone is really benefiting from this long drawn-out investigation. It must of course go on to a conclusion, because one side cannot be left with all the advantage when obviously there should be no kudos accruing to anyone.
I certainly could not blame Secretary Stevens for the attitude he followed in his relations with the Senate investigating committee, for it was the attitude of the Administration which he represented. When you are afraid of someone and try to keep him quiet by being conciliatory, you are naturally led into doing things that on later examination are sometimes shockingly subservient. Mr. Stevens is not responsible for this fear that has been permitted to grow by the Administration, since it was the attitude of the whole Administration and has been for months.
Now, of course, it comes out into the open through the endless questions that go on day after day, and it is shocking. If the attitude changes, however, and some courage and backbone are shown by the Senate, I think certain methods which have given great anxiety to many people may not be pursued by Congressional investigating committees in the future. That is the only really good thing I can see emerging from this whole lengthy investigation.