This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Commissioner Robert Moses speaks about plans for the upcoming World's Fair. He speaks specifically about the presence of foreign nations at the Fair. He also talks about how the world has changed since WWII - notably the creation of new nations. Moses speaks very highly of former New York Governor Charles Poletti, who worked on the International Area of the Fair.
Poletti speaks of the excellent staff who have visited many countries to develop the International Area. He states that he believes that more countries will be represented at this fair than at any other international exhibition. He speaks about the goals of the Fair: to learn more about the other people of the world.
He makes reference to countries that are not participating in the Fair because they are members of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE). In the case of some of these nations they will be represented by private companies, essentially serving as a substitution for their governments (countries that did not participate include Canada, Australia, most of the major European nations and the Soviet Union, as well as many countries of Latin America). Poletti states passionately that he believes it is a mistake for these countries to not participate.
Questions and Answers follow.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 70495
Municipal archives id: T238
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
And now it's my great pleasure to welcome to our Overseas Press Club weekly luncheon one of the men who has made. A contribution to the brighter and up a more modern life that we are all enjoying here in New York in a fashion that the very few others in our time and it could have dreamed of equally. It is a very great pleasure indeed for me to ask Mr Moses to speak to us. The other day over a playoff walled off they have a. A.T.O. birthday celebration for Rube Goldberg the cartoonist I don't know who the speakers were going to be and I had a vague notion that I might be roped in to be one of them and I really didn't have anything to say excepting of we all love brood but I found that the principal speaker was to be Bishop Sheen. I made the remark that if you're going to be on the platform with Bishop Sheen be sure to speak before he speaks I feel the same way about Bill a second off. I don't want to chew off a lot of time talking about the affair generally because you really want to hear from Governor Polani because he's in full charge of the international section. You're all familiar with theme and the themes of World's Fairs are always the same and gets started to play shades of semantics. Where all aiming at peace through international friendship The question is how do you how do you get out how do you implement. A more. Simpler more homely. Metaphor. Is afforded by the Olympic Games and I like to use that for the Olympic Games. From the early days of the order of an opportunity for people of all kinds and breeds to bring their best athletes the best performers. To some central place they all compete they're on equal terms. They're all supposed to be have the amateur spirit of police. And. That is what we're aiming at at the World's Fair we tell our industries bring your best products we tell the farm people to bring the best day out and they this show will not be rigged in favor of any particular. American or otherwise and. That in the nature of things leads to all sorts of friendships and understanding and in the end we hope will. Do a job on to the interest of peace. And a great deal as happened only. Far in field as you know better than we do in the last in the years of State of the Second World War. One of the astonishing things of course has been the emergence of. New nations new Republicans. It's not for me to say whether they can accomplish what they have in mind of the time of the play of set aside now I have some skepticism and doubt about that. I recall something which our boys in the fair talk about a good deal of. It has to do with a representative of one of the small countries copped out of the Sahara Desert and under French auspices and influence for many years. The man who represented them here the connection with a up a video affair. Talked about Heroes program for some two million two and a half million people and now I said to him I don't want to be. Impudent. Now I want to ask you of. A leading question. How many educated people all are in your country. And well he tried to duck that a little bit and he said do it all depends on what you mean by educated well I said all right I'll simplify that. How many graduates of colleges and universities all I've said that's not necessarily a badge or symbol of education in my book but anyhow it's a kind of a simple rule of thumb and he said there I think there are about eleven. Oh you we realize what what a problem it is to make a republic with only the relatively small number of people who are as yet gaited prepared to take over. How we have devoted. Some of our banking interests financial people people watch. The gate but I think there's been a disproportionate amount of time energy and money to these foreign countries and we haven't felt that way about it or. We have felt that this was not for to intervene to. See what we could do to get as many of these new countries as possible out of Flushing Meadows and frankly we've been more interested in lap and we have been and. Some of the older ones and even some of the people who have abstained or stayed out of whatever you want to call it. We get along without them. We've gone far out of our way and sending distinguished people abroad. To bring in as many of the foreign countries as possible and preferably as many of the of the new nations as we could get. Most of them. Are ambitious. They are intelligent. And far sighted they lack experience and they lack money. And one of the our tasks is jolly political to tell you it's time to try to persuade them that it isn't the size of the exhibit isn't the amount of money to spend on it it's the amount of imagination. That goes into it that will come in the long run and have a small exhibit. That will be. Tracked as many people as let's say General Motors will order the pricing for the big American industrial concerns that have the know how have the money that are able to put their best foot forward and don't have to have to save all warry about foreign exchange and all things that Bob these smaller countries. Are spot on I have to say. Except one thing and that is the government quality has been the ideal man to. Analyst particular job he's been all over the world he's visited these people at home he's made friends with them he knew would many of them already he had an immense amount of experience abroad particularly after the war. Particularly as governor of Italy of Sicily. He speaks languages he mixes them up something. I've heard him in the Spain talk combination of Latin. The Thai am I'm Spanish. And. I think Esperanto was somehow or all the thing always went over they always seem to understand him and he's never been inhibited about it. With those introductory MUP remarks I would like the present government a lot of. New. Ways to present. And present York World's Fair. Ladies and gentlemen I'm very happy to. Have this opportunity of. Answering whatever questions you may have about the international area. Of the New York World's Fair. But I will nonetheless take up a little time in presenting if you observations about the international area at the outset I want to thank Mr Moses for his gracious and generous remarks. All I can say is that I've had a wonderful time. I've enjoyed it immensely and I wish somebody could think up another will spare and persuade the new group to ask plenty to work on the international area that a new fair. It's been a great experience. For all of us to the work in the international area and I say all of us because we've had an excellent staff. Working with us full time and in addition we've had the help of soup verb people men and women Americans who have come with us to various parts of the world and or gone themselves on follow up trips follow up trips that includes not only pastors businessmen bankers newspaper men your own president Mr Luther was good enough to join one of our delegations and visited several countries and not be have so we've had a pretty astounding amount of cooperation. And collaboration and I think on the whole as I was saying to someone who asked me just before the luncheon I think we have been fairly successful I think that we're going to have at the New York World's Fair representation. Of more countries and I think it ever been assembled at any International Exposition. Course that in all fairness must be taken against the history we have many more countries now here we had in one thousand thirty nine and one nine hundred forty so we're way up to one hundred ten countries I think that we will have at the fair at the international area representation from about sixty to sixty five countries and not that many provisions because some of our provision is a joint and will be representing more than one country but in all of it we will have about I believe a good cross-section of the world which should enable us to present to the seventy or eighty million visitors that will come to the fair during the two years an opportunity to learn more about other peoples Now that's what we're after where. After a presentation at Flushing Meadow all of the best of these countries their culture their tradition their needs and their hopes and aspirations so that those of us who will have the chance to go to Flushing many better will come back a little. More knowledgeable about the other peoples of the world none of us naive enough that we think that by having the New York World's Fair we're going to achieve peace I don't think even able Harriman was over in Moscow on our kids himself about that but we're we think they're going to push the ball forward in the direction that we want to go by giving the American people a chance to learn more about other people and that brings me to this splendid occasion. In which I can express my appreciation and the appreciation of the international division and the appreciation of the executive committee to all those who. Are going to have pavilions we know it hasn't been easy for any participant to organize a pavilion it's been a hard job. Most countries including the United States have to be worried about their balance of payments and shortage of Foreign Exchange Commission Moses referred to that it's hard to find a foreign exchange the cost of putting up a pavilion and operating it of mine is no use kidding ourselves price levels in New York City are high so that it's been a sacrifice for any nation that's going to participate we want to thank the representatives of those nations that are here and also the nations people of them got representatives here we want to thank them sincerely and profoundly for all that they have done to bring about the participation of those countries. And also on I see here representatives of business groups who have organized pavilions in countries where we couldn't deal with the government officially because they are members of this well known Bureau and the nurse you know they expose these you know and those people have had even a harder job of bringing commercial and industrial and financial interest together and have them put up a pavilion in effect substituting for what their government ought to be doing but we're grateful to those people and all of them that are putting up their money these companies to have a pavilions because they all if you will give the American people who will come to this fair or not but to nitty to learn more about those countries I think of countries where it's been very hard like Sweden in Austria and Denmark in Switzerland where businessmen have gotten together and a putting up pavilions representing those countries now at the same time I think it it's only fair not only to commanders all these days and business and commercial groups who are putting up billions to say something about those who haven't made plans to participate I think it's. Necessary To be frank I have been in the past. We're not happy about certain nations not participating we think they ought to participate we think some of those nations ought to be here and at some sacrifice to present a provision to give the American people like a chance to learn about them. Among those groups are some of the countries of Latin America every time you meet a Latin American it seems he's always criticizing the United States but we're accustomed to that I heard about it even during the war when our boys were dying to liberate some of the countries so we're accustomed as Americans to be criticized by other people but they always say well you Americans don't make any effort to find out about Latin America. When my retort is one way in which we can find out about Latin America is percent of those Latin American countries to have put billions here at the New York World's Fair and show what they have and what they can do and what they have done but they have not participating some of them have legitimate reasons others in my opinion don't have legitimate reasons I regret very much that they're not going to participate I think they're doing a disservice to their country they certainly are not helping what we're trying to achieve in the New York World's Fair and that is to give I repeat the American people a chance to learn more about the peoples of other countries also think of countries. Like Italy and Germany. Italy and Germany which are members of the B I E but the businessmen of those countries haven't participated to do what Sweden Denmark Austria switchin and other countries have done I go to Germany and I'm told in Germany that by the businessmen that the poor all the poor they don't have any money but it's difficult for me as an American Mind you members of the overseas press go on talking as Charlie politely Personally I'm not talking on behalf of the New York World's Fair when I'm making these observations I'm giving my own observations after three years of beating around the world I'm not impressed when a German industrialist start shedding tears about how poor he is I have said openly to the German representatives that I think it's good for them to show the American people the new Germany that a lot of people in the United States still remember Germany as being controlled by the Nazis and we didn't like it and if there's a new Germany this is a wonderful forum for Germany to present its new democracy while the business manager only can find the opportunity to be present when there are other countries countries like the U.K. in which in my opinion were not of the way to be unfriendly to us at the New York World's Fair I regret it as an American I regret it is an American that has been honored by the British Empire for the declaration I think it's a mistake for the British to take that point of view new generations grow up while some of us may know a lot about Great Britain our children are coming along and millions of people want to know about these other countries so I say that I'm sorry. That some of these countries have seen fit not to participate I think they're doing a disservice to their own countries and they're not helping in one state to mold and formulate a public opinion pinion and sensitive and knowledgeable about this small world that's getting smaller every day we're going to have on the positive side wonderful pavilions. I've got here all kinds of information about each pavilion I'm not going to take up your time we're going to have some fascinating pavilions going to have just to name countries like Thailand is going to give us one of the pavilion Japan is going to have three people billions there Indonesia is going to have one of the nicest pavilions not happy to see you here representing Indonesia where very happy that you're here. We're going to have a pavilions of India and Pakistan. Spain is going to have one of the greatest appropriators with some extraordinary art and in addition some from a good dances in the restaurant that has some fun in