FEBRUARY 16, 1960
HYDE PARK—What I feared would happen in Geneva on the nuclear test situation did happen—the Soviets accused the West of a conspiracy to bring about a resumption of testing of nuclear weapons.
I do not understand the United States position. Why would we agree to give up all tests except certain underground tests? The only explanation of this would seem to be that we felt these tests could not be detected; therefore, there would be no way of being sure if the Soviets continued them without telling anyone about it.
I still feel that in spite of this uncertainty there is the hope that we will discover some mechanical way to detect even underground tests of all kinds before any treaty goes into actual operation. Not to have a treaty seems to me a greater risk than the one we take if we sign one without being sure that the Soviets will live up to it in every detail.
The Soviets seem to be doing a good job of finding ways to furnish such countries as are unable to buy goods from other countries with what they need—on a barter basis.
Cuba has been anxious to buy military aircraft, and Deputy Prime Minister Anastas I. Mikoyan on his recent visit stepped into the breach and offered to sell them military aircraft. I feel fairly sure that some method of payment on a barter basis will be worked out, because I see that Cuba asked whether the Soviet Union was willing to buy a specified amount of sugar from Cuba every year and pay a higher price than the world market price, as does the United States.
The cagey gentleman replied that the Soviet policy was to trade with everyone and to pay world market prices.
Many of us would like to ask our government why we give this bonus to Cuba and make our people pay. This sale of military aircraft will certainly not be looked upon with favor in the U.S., but in the present climate that exists between the Cubans and ourselves we must expect such things to occur quite frequently.
Now let us turn to something that is of great domestic interest.
The Grand Street Boys' Foundation of New York City held a luncheon on January 16 last to honor 100 dedicated public school teachers. The only speaker at the affair was the president of the College of the City of New York, Buell Gallagher, and he presented to each one a particularly sweet and delicious apple, together with a scroll. But to the top 10 teachers he gave a more substantial award—checks for $500 each.
Statistics tell us that over the country there are more children in schools than ever before, and fewer teachers.
Why should the average young college student go into teaching?
The pay is lower than in other professions and the recognition given is not so great, and yet teachers are among the most important people in our country.
This is no New York State problem. It is a problem that covers the country as a whole. Everywhere there is a shortage of teachers. Everywhere they are poorly paid and get scant recognition.
I was struck by this in visiting a school in the West a short time ago. We are not teaching our children the most elementary good manners, and without good manners there can be really no true discipline.
I am told that children are no longer expected to rise when their teacher enters the classroom. This undermines respect for the teacher. Such a small act of courtesy is an elementary lesson in good manners that every child should learn at home. It shows an older person respect, and no one is more deserving of it than the school-teacher.
This gesture on the part of the Grand Street Boys will, I hope, be followed throughout the country to accentuate the importance of the teacher.