MARCH 5, 1959
EUGENE, Ore.—I was very much interested to read in a current magazine the appraisal made of the Advisory Council of the Democratic party, which is composed of the Executive Committee members of the Democratic National Committee with Chairman Paul Butler and of various and sundry prominent Democrats, governors of states, Senators and Representatives.
The Democratic leaders in Congress, Majority Leader Sen. Lyndon Johnson and House Speaker Sam Rayburn, stayed aloof at the Advisory Council's inception, but I think they must realize by now that through its public actions and statements this group is giving some real leadership to the Democratic rank and file in the country.
Everyone may not agree with everything the council says. In fact, within the council there are differences of opinion. But this is one place where party strength is not dominated by seniority, and those who represent the parts of the country where Democratic gains have been made feel that here they can freely express themselves.
The council is doing all it can to promote the achievement of platform promises, and what effect it will have on the choice for President at the next national convention is still problematical.
I had a most delightful luncheon and an informative session with the class in journalism at Ricks College, a Mormon school, in Rexburg, Idaho. The authorities are planning to move this college to Idaho Falls and to institute a program of expansion. At Rexburg there is room for only 900 students, and the hope is that the new school will have an enrollment of 3,000.
The institution is supported entirely by the Church of the Latter Day Saints, or Mormons as they are commonly called.
Since members of this religious organization go out as missionaries all over the world, it is interesting to find what foreign contacts will do for them. The journalism professor told me he had gone to Mexico and he felt that having lived with the people there for several years it would be impossible to go to war with them. He is convinced that the program that sends out young Mormon students to all parts of the world has made them more valuable in preserving the peace of the world.
This, of course, is what we hope our international educational exchange of students will do through the Fulbright law. Yet, some of our Representatives and Senators are all for cutting down on these exchanges. They feel it would be one of the good ways to save money.
But it makes no sense to me to pay out money to keep a balance of armaments throughout the world, hoping that strength will discourage an enemy attack, and then not to go on paying for a program that will help to prepare us to live in peace.
More than once I have been asked by young college journalism students here if it is true that our businesses would suffer drastically if our economy had to convert rapidly into a full peacetime economy. They want to know why these interests seem to do everything in their power to keep us not only preparing for war but almost constantly give us the feeling that war is imminent.
I was amazed to find the feeling so prevalent that we are not intelligent enough to operate our economic existence without a great expenditure for war preparation.
If it were true that we are not capable of maintaining a high peacetime economy I think it would be entirely understandable if those nations throughout the world that need economic help were to turn on us and despise us. With all the needs there are in the world our ingenuity should be able to make that transition to peacetime production without an economic catastrophe.