DECEMBER 27, 1955
HYDE PARK—I wonder if in every house the day after Christmas means trying to sort out the Christmas presents and putting them away for use during the coming year? No one could possibly clean our house within 24 hours after Christmas unwrappings have taken place. The amount of tissue paper and packing materials of various kinds is really quite appalling when there is a large family at the Christmas tree!
We had 20 persons for Christmas dinner and 20 at the Christmas tree afterward. The beautiful record of Christmas carols sung by a group of young German children who traveled in this country was played over and over again. Three of us went to midnight Christmas service and three went to the service on Sunday morning. At dinner I read to them all the Christmas card sent out this year by Mr. Adlai Stevenson. It is a prayer attributed to an unknown Confederate soldier, and Mr. Stevenson said that in these days when all of us need to meet difficult situations and make firm resolutions this prayer might well be one that would appeal to many people. It certainly meant a great deal to me and to those gathered around our Christmas table.
The Christmas weather has been beautiful here, warm and sunny although muddy underfoot. I think the children would far rather have had a heavy snowstorm and coasting down the hill, but I am sure for travelers who are trying to get somewhere and join their loved ones at this season it must have been far better to have had the change from the very cold weather.
Two items interest me very much in this morning's newspapers. For the first time the Soviet writers returning from their trip in the United States have dared to write about achievements such as skyscrapers and tunnels in the United States, as well as about the magnitude of production in such fields as the automobile industry. They naturally could not give us complete praise, so apparently they harp on the tale of the man who blew up the airliner in order to get his mother's life insurance. They call it an example of what the love for wealth in our country will do. We would say that a diseased mind lay back of this particular crime which had nothing to do with obtaining financial success in the world—but I suppose we must expect different constructions to be put on our ways of life! The correspondents' articles probably mean, however, that Russia is increasing her own production of consumer goods. Otherwise she would never have allowed these writers to tell the truth about the comforts here or the things they did see to admire in the United States. At the same time the government may feel that allowing their people to know that these comforts can be achieved will be an incentive to their own production in the USSR.
A far more disturbing item is the one which says that the Soviet deputies are looking for closer ties on a broader basis with Asia and Africa. This has been evident for some time, and here is where the battle between Communism and democracy is going to be clear-cut.