DECEMBER 15, 1958
COLUMBUS, Ohio—In meeting with a group of high school students from Patterson, New Jersey, the other day, I was interested to find that they wanted to know as much as possible about the Soviet Union.
I believe that Russian students coming to this country would get a warm welcome from their contemporaries. There is as much curiosity over here about what the Soviet representatives and the Russian people are like as there is in Russia about the United States. The basic differences between us are of course not very clear to young people; but they should be made to understand, I feel, for they are the ones who are apt to be meeting with their contemporaries before very long, and they should be very clear in their own minds as to the differences between democracy and communism -- and why they prefer democracy.
Twice, at recent lectures, young people have asked me if there was no discrimination in the Soviet Union on account of race or color, and what their reaction there was to our treatment of the Negro minority. I believe many of our young people are troubled about the situation that exists in the U. S. For example, here is a letter that came to me the other day:
"Dear Mrs. Roosevelt: What do you think should be done about the situation in the South? About American children who deserve to get an education? I think we are very fortunate to be able to get one, and I don't think it is right for some to be deprived of this privilege, no matter what color or race. Sincerely, Molly.
"P. S. May you have a very happy Thanksgiving and merry Christmas and may God bless you."
Could it be that our young people are becoming more logical and more flexible than their elders?
I was very glad to see that the directors of New York's Montefiore Hospital accepted the union among their employees and resolved their difficulties. Nevertheless, both the directors and the union must be even more concerned with what the City of New York can do to make their joint desire come true of a more balanced budget for the hospital and higher wages for the employees.
The city does not now give the hospitals the amount of money that the latter spend on city patients. The city says it cannot afford to do it; but neither can the hospitals afford to take care of these patients for the sum paid by the city. This is something which should be gone into at great length. It is possible that the city can find ways of meeting these obligations, but at the same time hospitals should see whether there is any way by which they can reduce costs.
New York City's financial [unclear term marked] is a serious problem at the present time. Merely raising taxes may not be the answer. I have come across a number of things to indicate that in the city's departments there needs to be a reorganization which would cut out certain hidden costs not usually acknowledged, but which add to the running expenses. This is nothing unusual; we know, for instance, that such governments as China in the old days had a perfectly well organized system of extra costs. I am not quite sure, however, that the conscience of the American people would accept these as legitimate in this country.