NOVEMBER 3, 1959
HYDE PARK—The labor leaders who met at dinner in San Francisco with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev certainly did manage to get under his skin. Otherwise, he would not be continuing his fight at this late date with them after his return to the Soviet Union.
It must be that he is particularly resentful when the people whom he has counted on to join with him in opposition to the capitalist system turn out to prefer the kind of freedom they have in this country to the type of "security under compulsion" that he offers them in Russia.
After all these many years to cook up the story told by the co-workers of Walter Reuther in the Soviet Union is almost childish! They suddenly remember to resent the man who went and taught them precision-tool making during our depression.
And to find a woman who would make the claim that she had been married to Mr. Reuther was quite an elaborate concoction!
This is obviously a built-up story, but Mr. Khrushchev must have taken a considerable interest in order to accomplish a tale that he felt would do the most harm to his opposition in the United States, for he considers labor his natural ally everywhere. He would not single out the labor leaders for attack if he did not fear them more than he fears anybody else.
This is something that should give us, as a nation, a greater sense of security and should make us grateful to our American labor leaders. But it also shows how thoroughly a dictator in the Soviet Union must follow up in every detail any opposition that he really fears. He must try to destroy the strength of what he knows is the most intelligent labor leadership in this country because he must really feel that labor in his own country may be misled from this source.
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Apparently New York City has won out, and it looks as if the World's Fair of 1964 will be approved for it. There is still a chance, though, that some city in another part of the world may win out over the United States city, and in some ways I cannot help but hope that this may be the case.
Having the World's Fair in a major city like ours does bring interest and variety to the city in the way of visitors from all over the world, but still it does not always mean added comfort to the people who live in our city. Transportation becomes more congested. Hotels and restaurants become more complicated, and even in our own homes we feel some of the effects of the crowding in the city. So, it is a mixed pleasure to hold a world's fair in New York City.
However, there is a group of people who are working to have the buildings for this projected fair put up on a permanent basis in the hope of using them afterward for educational purposes, either as an international university or a graduate university of some kind. It always has been a wasteful performance to put so much money, as governments and industries do, into these exhibitions and then tear the structures down.
If they are planned with an ultimate purpose in mind, we might achieve something really valuable for the future.