MAY 28, 1957
HYDE PARK—It is encouraging to note that in high places of government the United States evidently has considered seriously the Soviet offer made in the London disarmament conference.
It has been reported that Harold E. Stassen, the President's assistant on disarmament, returned to London armed with a flexible bargaining authority. He has been instructed, of course, to guard the interests of the free world, but he will be allowed to come to an agreement on Soviet proposals that do not seem to be injurious to the U.S.
There also seems to be a real interest in putting a limit on atomic arms. This, it seems to me, would include limiting, or at least reducing, tests of atomic bombs. Such restrictions certainly would relieve the minds of a great many people.
A group of graduate students from International House came up to Hyde Park for a picnic over the weekend. We talked for about an hour, after which they went over to the Memorial Library, and I went over to have lunch with them.
I think my women readers will be amused to hear that I spent most of last Saturday afternoon moving around the furniture in the house. I felt I could arrange it more advantageously! That should make my men readers groan, for I know how most of them hate a change in the house!
I was tired, too, of putting things away in the attic where nobody uses them. So I found somebody who could use some of these things, at least as a loan, and this delighted me.
My guests were willing beasts of burden, helping lift, carry and otherwise move the furniture, until we decided we had done a fairly good afternoon's work. Then we got into the car and drove to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Morgenthau's, there enjoying a well-organized house and peaceful evening.
At the Morgenthaus' we met a French newspaper editor who is spending 40 days in this country to determine the reactions of the American people to recent international events, particularly those concerning France and Great Britain and the Near East situation.
Forty days is not a long time for such a job, but this editor has been in the U.S. before and is an observant young man with a full understanding that he must see people in every walk of life to make his visit fruitful.
I was much interested in talking with him, and I sensed that when the discussion touched on North Africa and Algeria he was at once on the defensive. He was eager to explain that Algeria is no separate nation and never has been one, that the people are no national group and, therefore, what is happening in Algeria is not a national uprising.
But whatever Algeria's status, its people do not wish to remain under control of the French government and that area is enflamed with a full-scale war requiring more French soldiers in Morocco and Algeria than in many years.
This costs France much hard-earned cash, and I sometimes wonder whether the job of statesmanship is not to work out an economic agreement on the Sahara Desert's oil resources and a political agreement that would permit the three North African Arab countries a close treaty relationship with France and, therefore, with the West.