JULY 30, 1956
HYDE PARK—I was glad to see that before its adjournment Congress agreed to the restoration of the full amount of our contribution to the Technical Assistance Fund of the U.N. I hope this change is due to the interest taken by the public in general in what seemed a cut in an area which would seriously affect what could be done for underdeveloped nations throughout the world.
Every now and then when we discuss the subject of foreign aid I receive letters from people in this country who are having a very hard time and who can see no reason for giving any kind of foreign aid. They feel it would be better to help our own citizens to a better standard of living.
One farm woman in Kentucky, for example, writes asking how I think it is possible to feed and clothe a family of nine people on less than $3,000 per year, which is the maximum she and her husband have cleared on their farm in any one year during the past ten years. As she points out, the children had to go to school, had to have clothes, and dental and medical care amounted almost always to $300 or $500 per year. They had to have a car, which is essential to someone living on a farm. Food costs have gone up a great deal—and though she put up chickens in a locker and other meats, and canned over 1000 quarts of produce from her garden, still her family ate a great deal and they were always in debt.
Such families need help and should get it before any foreign nation. They need help, not charity—help to meet the needs of their families and to make a better living. To achieve these ends requires adventurous new thinking. Yet the Republicans have never been known to venture very much along new lines, and I doubt that we will get the new look unless the people decide it is essential and bring about a change in government.
Last Wednesday night at Bard College I attended the yearly institute which meets there of people interested in cooperatives. On Thursday, as chairman of the Mayor's Committee for Hospitality to the United Nations, I had the pleasure of giving a picnic for members of the permanent U.N. delegations. It was a great pleasure to have so many of them come to my cottage and they seemed to enjoy our simple American picnic. Afterward I escorted them over to the library, which some of them wished to visit. Most of them told me they had been up a number of times before to the memorial, but had never before come to the cottages where my son John and I live.
We have now added the eleventh child to our summer group. My granddaughter arrived with two children on Wednesday morning and her husband, Van Seagraves, arrived by car with the oldest boy Thursday in time for the picnic. It is remarkable how easily they all seem to get along together and on the whole how good they are. No place where there are a great many children is ever very tidy. But if you can bear with the untidiness and just strive to keep the house fundamentally clean, then it is not very difficult to get along happily.