AUGUST 17, 1957
HYDE PARK—I read with interest an editorial in one of our metropolitan newspapers on the young Americans in Russia who were invited to go to Red China. I entirely agree with the writer of this editorial that to go to Communist China at the expense of the Soviet government is a very serious mistake in the face of the attitude now held by the United States government.
Whether this U.S. position is right, I seriously question. But I cannot help feeling that the good these young people might accomplish on such a jaunt is not sufficiently important for them to risk their futures.
It is more important that the negotiations between the State Department and this country's newspapers on permitting American reporters to visit Red China continue and that some orderly procedure for travel and knowledge about China be worked out.
I resent, as a U.S. citizen, having my right to travel anywhere curtailed, but I think when I travel and accept another nation's hospitality, it should be a nation my government can trust, since hospitality received should also be returned.
I have a relative who, though no longer very young, writes to me periodically from the state of Maine. He bewails the fact that this country does not realize what an unhealthy economic situation we have at the present time.
I am no economist, but I realize that some of the things troubling him have been on the minds of many a long time. Inflation is always a dangerous situation, and when you start to examine the problems in trying to stop it, practically no one wants to pay the price.
A recent newspaper column described the economic situation in France just now. The present government is trying with courage to meet the various difficulties confronting the French economy and the young Finance Minister, Felix Giallard, has done some rather drastic things. The franc, in relation to the American dollar, has been reduced 20 percent in value.
Giallard is encouraging exports in every possible way and taxing imports heavily in the hope of making the people realize they must get along with less from abroad and increase production at home so that more may be sent to other countries.
Measures have been taken that probably will lead to price controls and pressures are being applied to keep wages at present levels. The budget is being cut, credit restricted and taxes raised.
All of this will mean an understanding by the French people that they really are facing a financial crisis and a willingness to pull in their belts and exert a great deal of self-discipline. France's industries are doing well, there is very little unemployment and, in spite of that, her economy is going on the rocks.
We in the U.S. would do well to watch this development. We are stronger economically, but not necessarily strong enough to pay no attention to trends similar to those that have shown up in France in the past. It is well for people to stop, look and listen before disaster befalls them.