JUNE 26, 1957
NEW YORK—The book, "The Price of Power—America Since 1945" by Herbert Agar, is particularly interesting to me as a prelude to what has been happening in the past year.
In various speeches I have been calling attention to the fact that, whether we have known it or not, our foreign policy has put us in the position of one leading nation defending the free world.
Not having prevented the Suez crisis but instead having allowed it to occur, we weakened Great Britain and Western Europe. We took on more prestige but also more responsibility.
We were proud of voting in the United Nations with the Soviets and the Egyptians against the aggression which we felt should not have been committed by Britain, France and Israel. We made no distinction between Israel's situation and that of Great Britain and France.
This was a mistake, I think, for quite evidently Israel was acting under a threat of annihilation. France and Great Britain were acting because of their feeling that the United States never was going to effect an agreement which would safeguard their vital interests and assure the flow of oil through the Suez Canal—oil so vital to the Western world.
I have seen very little evidence, if any, that we made any great effort to prevent this crisis. Such an effort would have been a real accomplishment in statesmanship and would have allowed us to continue a stronger line in developing a policy for a peaceful world.
Now the strength of our allies is impaired and we stand virtually alone, counting only on our own strength and our own wisdom—a very great responsibility.
In view of this new situation, "The Price of Power" is a good preview to prepare us to look with greater understanding at the challenge of our present situation. It also can give our people as a whole a better background for the many evaluations of policy and action they will have to make if they are to share with their government this new position and its worldwide responsibilities.
It is always a triumph for me when I finish a long book because I have so many current pamphlets and reports that have to be read daily and weekly. So books, particularly long ones, are real undertakings.
I read every word, however, of Arthur Schlesinger's first volume, "The Crisis of the Old Order," and I anxiously await the second volume, which I am sure will prove equally interesting. I think it is the best review of events in the period preceeding 1933. It sets the stage for consideration of what came afterward.
Dr. David Gurewitsch kindly showed his pictures of Morocco, India and Bali to the group at the New York House of Detention for Women last week. Many of this group have been attending once a month for the past four months discussions on world affairs which I conducted. They seemed highly interested in these pictures and begged Dr. Gurewitsch to show more of them at a future date.
That evening, with Dr. Gurewitsch's daughter, Gloria, and my grandson, John Boettiger, who was attending the American Association for the United Nations' College Council Institute, I dined at Charles' restaurant in Greenwich Village, which is a pleasure I allow myself only once in a long time.
Afterwards, three of us went to see the Broadway musical, "The Most Happy Fella," and found it a pleasant and entertaining evening. The music was tuneful and the acting excellent, with a story that holds one's attention.