My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

HYDE PARK, Wednesday—August 25th will be an interesting day when Mr. Alger Hiss and Mr. Whittaker Chambers meet. Both of them may have changed somewhat since the spy-ring days when Mr. Chambers says he knew Mr. Hiss so well and went to his house so often. It seems to me that the committee must begin to see how funny this whole situation is when they sit in secret sessions for several hours with each man and then have to say that "from the testimony, it is impossible to tell which one is telling the truth."

I have begun to wonder what the point of all this is. The self-confessed people who worked for the Soviet government during the war are now known. They have accused a number of others as being people who worked with them either consciously or unconsciously. It is well, of course, to find out whether people have been spies because they might be spies again, but it would seem that the FBI is the proper agency to find that out. I wonder if all this extracurricular Congressional activity isn't making it more difficult for the FBI to do its job well. The only thing that really seems important to me at the present time is to know first, whether those who confessed they were once spies for the Russians are trustworthy today or not. Second, if they actually have proof that certain people now in or out of government positions, are untrustworthy. That should be checked, since it is well to know just where they stand. The best people to do this would be the FBI.

The third important thing to know is whether the Soviet government is continuing to try to use Russians in this country, in one capacity or another, for work which is not described in their passports. Next, whether they are still organizing a group of American citizens in or out of the government to keep them informed of things which they want to know.

I am sure that both Mr. Hiss and Mr. Laughlin Currie are about as far from being Communists as is possible—and that they can fight their own battles. I can't help wondering, however, whether the gentlemen on the Congressional investigating committee who sneered at Mr. White because he said he had had a heart attack and asked for a few minutes rest in a private note, are not feeling just a trifle uncomfortable since Mr. White died yesterday of a heart attack.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL