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Gareth Jones

TODAY millions throughout the world will hear the Goodwill Message from the boys and girls of Wales.

On lonely sheep farms in Australia the radio will boom out words of greeting from children in Welsh valleys. Tough Yankee farmers, worrying about the price of wheat or cattle, will hear the words in Dakota or Idaho. Large-lipped negro boys on cotton plantations in Georgia or Louisiana will wonder slowly where this place Wales is.

Unemployed hobos, lolling, hands in pocket, outside a radio store in New York or Philadelphia will think bitterly and agree when they hear the phrase in the Message: “We do not know why there should be so much sorrow in a world which is so beautiful, and so much want in a world which is so rich.”

In the Welsh colonies in Patagonia and in Utica listeners will be waiting for the reading of the Message, just as in Britain on Christmas Day we waited for the voices coming from all parts of the Empire. 

Welshmen on vessels sailing in different parts of the world will tune in, and in some radio zones, such as the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic, will be able to hear “ We, the children of Wales, once again warmly greet you on Goodwill Day.”

In the schools of Wales thousands of children assembled in their central halls will thus be almost in direct link with sailors and adventurers, workers and pioneers, sportsmen and merchants throughout the world. The Welsh children are taking part in the great adventure of encircling the globe with their Message.

The Welsh children, in calling for “peace between the peoples and peace between the nations,” are not only forwarding this ideal, but they are putting Wales in bright colours on the map.

“Wales is a part of England, like Yorkshire, isn’t it?” How many times have Welsh travellers abroad heard this phrase! And still more frequently Welshmen are met by a look of blank ignorance when the name Wales is mentioned. Mr. Lloyd George, it is true, made Wales known, but he is, nevertheless, nearly always described in foreign books as an Englishman. Nothing is making Wales so famous as the Welsh Children’s Message, and nowhere is this so little realised as in Great Britain.

How, then, does this Message rush round the world on May 1 8, and who are these millions listening to it? Leaping from continent to continent, we shall, like Puck, “put a girdle round the earth in forty minutes,” and find what happens to the words of the Welsh children.

In South Africa the boys and girls will hear in school the Message of Goodwill and will send greetings to Wales. Last year the Secretary of Education, Pretoria, wrote:

“The South African boys and girls have a fellow-feeling with the children of Wales for many reasons. One of the ties we have in common is an unbounded enthusiasm for sport. Our Springboks one and all testify to the wonder­ful hospitality and enthusiastic friendliness which they experienced in Wales during their recent visit overseas. South Africa is eager to recipro­cate, and there are many young budding Springboks who dream already of the day when they can meet their friendly and enthusiastic rivals the Welsh, for whose Rugby prowess they have the greatest admiration.”

The Welsh greeting will be broadcast from Nairobi. Scores of replies have arrived in past years from South Africa, and from Nyasaland, Zululand, and Transvaal.

From the Valley of the Nile letters have travelled across the Mediterranean to Cardiff bringing greetings.

Asia will hear the Message of the Children of Wales, for the powerful wireless station at Bandoeng, Dutch East Indies, will send it over a considerable part of the East. The troubled Pacific, over which the menace of a great war looms, will listen to this appeal to the heart of the Asiatic peoples coming from the Welsh schools.

Last year the first cablegram from Asia, replying to the Message, came from Siam. The Message has been broadcast every year from Tokyo, and a reply has recently been received from Japan in which some children write:

“We must create a world-community in which the morning stars sing and the face of every man and woman on the street shines.”

In China, the Minister of Public Instruction circulates the Message in the schools under his control.

The youth of Persia has already this year sent their warm wishes to the youth of Wales.

Australia has responded well. The children of New South Wales have followed the example of the country after which their home was named, and are sending a world message, pledging them­selves to do all they can to preserve harmony and goodwill among all peoples. Western Australia knows the Message well. New Zealand has broadcast the Message almost from the very beginning.

From America almost every vessel carrying mail brings letters across the Atlantic with replies to the Message. The United States will have a nation-wide broadcast of the Message from its whole range of stations, covering an area 3,000 miles across, with a population of 12,000,000. President Roosevelt is expected to speak on the same occasion. The United States leads the way in the number of replies, and the schools of Utica, where there is a large Welsh population, never fail to reply.

All the Canadian stations have broadcast the Message in the past, while Nova Scotia will broadcast this message: “From amid those apple blossoms and from amid our farms and mines, and out over the rockbound shores of the surrounding sea, we, the boys and girls of Nova Scotia, greet the children of Wales.”

From Patagonia there has been a message in Welsh to the Welsh children.

Europe sends from its many countries numerous replies, and today millions of children will listen to the broadcast of the Message. Holland, Rumania, Finland, and Poland, to mention some of the countries only, will broadcast the Message.

All the Norwegian and Danish stations broadcast it, while Czecho-Slovakia will send it not only in the Czech language, but in the German language—a praiseworthy gesture of tolerance to German minorities. All the French stations broadcast the Message simultaneously.

Last year the President of the Spanish Parliament sent a cable to the Speaker of the House of Commons asking him to convey to the children of Wales the congratulations of the children and Parliament of Spain.

Replies came from Sarajevo, Louvain, and from Mons. Dolls arrive from Greece and other European countries. Italy sends her greetings, while Vienna is the best city for replying. A Luxemburg school has sent a drawing of the Welsh Dragon I

Wales has made Goodwill Day into a great inter­national event. Red Cross organisations throughout the world have also played a big part in this.

For some reason the Welsh Message is less known in England than in almost any other part of the world.

Wales has reached far more millions of people throughout the world than was ever dreamed of in our imagination until Mr. Gwilym Davies had the vision to inspire the Message to the world.

 May 18th, 1933  

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