Philadelphia Record, March 5, 1945
The City of Brotherly Love should be the permanent home of the United Nations.
Independence Hall, recognized throughout the world as the birthplace of political liberty and democracy, is the shrine around which the United Nations Council buildings should be grouped.
Modern air travel neutralizes geographic position. Since all parts of the world are within 60 hours of each other, we need no longer choose a location because of travel convenience.
Freed from space consideration, this modern world can give due weight to spiritual values.
Philadelphia, more than any other city in the world, embodies those spiritual values which would inspire and strengthen the United Nations Council.
Its very name is an inspiration as are the ideals of its founder, William Penn, a pioneer in liberalism and tolerance. Its most illustrious statesman, Benjamin Franklin, was America’s first “Citizen of the World,” who was almost as familiar a figure in Paris and London as on Chestnut st.
Because we live so close to Independence Hall, we may not fully appreciate its significance to the rest of the world. In this building was formulated the most effective Constitution in the history of the world, as well as the principles of national freedom and individual rights. These must be the fundamentals of an organization designed to preserve world peace.
It is most fortunate that this building is so beautiful from an architectural standpoint. Its fine proportions and quiet dignity have impressed the thousands of pilgrims from all parts of the globe who have visited the New World’s shrine of liberty.
It is easy to visualize Independence Hall as the center of a group of buildings designed to house a world organization. Already the Independence Hall Association has planned and advocated removing all buildings in front of Independence Hall between Fifth and Sixth and extending a great mall northward to the Delaware River Bridge Plaza.
Enlarging this project somewhat, plenty of room would be provided for the United Nations establishment in a section of the city which is largely obsolescent. From a mere materialistic standpoint, Philadelphia could well afford to donate all necessary land for such a development as well as to extend broad and convenient boulevards to appropriate airfields and seaplane bases.
Just as when distinguished company is coming for dinner, the home is spruced up, so Philadelphia would be awakened from its lethargy to clean up the rivers and streets, remove the Chinese Wall, beautify the approaches to the city and improve other areas which we have allowed to deteriorate.
There are so many reasons why the United Nations should not move into the buildings of the League of Nations in Geneva. Not only would such a connection with a dismal failure in world relations be a bad beginning, but Europe, storm center of the world, is not the logical place for the peace center of a new world.
We believe the peoples of this earth have greater confidence in America’s strict adherence to its professed ideals and principles than they have in any other country. The pessimists see the greatest danger to future peace in the rivalry of Great Britain and Russia for dominance in Europe. While in past ages the high mountains of Switzerland immunized it from European conflict, the development of the airplane has leveled those mountains so that today, politically speaking, Switzerland is in the center of a dangerous plateau.
This reasoning would appeal not only to France and smaller European countries, but to the peoples of Asia, Australia and Africa. The only objection might come from South American republics, some of which are still jealous of their great northern neighbor.
Thanks to the inspired leadership of President Roosevelt, this nation has won a dominant position in world affairs. Its generous treatment of its Allies entitles it to prime consideration in choosing a location for world headquarters.
The greatest democracy in world history, it has developed an enlightened attitude towards smaller nations as evidenced by granting independence to the Philippines, and its “good neighbor” policy in South America.
Therefore it is most fitting that the home of the United Nations should be within our borders. It is most fitting that the men and women who administer the world organization should gain daily inspiration from the shrine where the ideals of modern government were born. It is peculiarly appropriate that the organization dedicated to world peace should make its home in this great city whose founder dedicated it by name to the highest ethical concept,–the universal brotherhood of man.
The Record calls upon the good citizens of Philadelphia to take immediate steps to present the claim of Philadelphia to its just heritage.
Copies of this editorial are being sent to the appropriate officials, including the Mayor of Philadelphia, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, our representatives in the United States Senate and House of Representatives, as well as to the President of the United States.