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UNITED NATIONS: The Four-Year-Olds

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Forty children, each four years old, last week assembled in the delegates’ dining room at Lake Success to celebrate U.N.’s fourth anniversary. They were children of U.N. staffers and diplomats; under the watchful eyes of Mrs. Carlos Romulo, Mrs. Warren Austin and other U.N. wives, they cavorted in native costumes, ate ice cream & cake, and, in the words of the New York Herald Tribune, “declined to comment on international affairs.”

At another U.N. birthday party last week, a group of less restrained celebrators commented at length, but scarcely said any more. Just four years after the signing of the San Francisco Charter, the U.N.’s General Assembly met in special open-air session at the site of the new U.N. building at the East River foot of Manhattan’s 42nd Street, to watch the cornerstone laid for U.N.’s imposing new headquarters. As President Truman arrived at the 42nd Street site, the combined New York Police, Fire & Sanitation Department bands struck up The Sidewalks of New York, better known by its first line: “East side, West side . . .” The song was being played at the insistence of U.N. Secretary General Trygve Lie, who had decided that no national anthems would be played on this international celebration. His ruling was: either all 59 or none.

The new buildings that were going up, said the President, were the most important in the world, “for they are the center of man’s hope . . . They signify that the peoples of the world are of one mind in their determination to solve their common problems . . .” He also called for adoption of the U.S. plan for international atomic energy control, which Russia has been blocking. It was a nice celebration, and deserved the world’s earnest best wishes; it would need them.

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