AUGUST 17, 1944
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I think all of us rejoice that the Senate has rescinded a very unfortunately worded provision of the Servicemen's Voting Act. The provision, instead of giving soldiers who may have an opportunity to vote a chance for impartial information, resulted in keeping all but certain specified papers and materials from them.
The provision was very carefully worded, so I do not think Senator Taft's statement that the War Department and the Morale Division of the army can be blamed for their interpretation is entirely fair, especially considering the penalty attached to any violation. The motive behind the original action of Senator Taft and the Congress was, of course, an entirely correct one. No voters should be so restricted that they do not get all possible information before exercising their franchise, and the information certainly should be impartial.
There are two things which are especially interesting in Senator Taft's statement. "The War Department," one part of it reads, "has been so unreasonable that many persons have suggested to me that the course pursued by the War Department and its Morale Division is deliberately intended to discredit Congress in order to affect the election." I had thought that Secretary Stimson's long service to the nation would establish the certainty in everyone's mind that the War Department, under him, would do nothing which was not strictly ethical and impartial.
The next paragraph is even more interesting. "This doubt about the War Department's impartiality is not new. Its representatives cooperated 100 percent with the extreme New Dealers and the CIO Political Action Committee in support of a clearly unconstitutional federal ballot carrying no names except the candidate for President."
That ballot, of course, was only to be used, as I understand it, when state ballots were not available. Therefore, if you cannot vote on a state ballot, it is apparently preferable that you should not vote at all, even though it would seem that it might be fairly important to the people of this nation to have as many as possible vote on who shall head the nation during the next critical years.
I have no way of knowing what the nation wants, and I have no desire whatsoever except that the nation shall have as complete an opportunity as possible for expressing its desires. I am happy that the Senate has had the sense of humor as well as the wisdom to change a situation which must have given a chuckle to many people in this country, and in other countries as well.
Dr. and Mrs. David Levy and another friend spent last night with us, and we listened to Secretary Morgenthau's speech. It sounded pretty grim to me, and as though the things he had seen had made so deep an impression on him that he could only think of our obligation to prevent any recurrence of the present world situation.