JUNE 11, 1951
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I was a little discouraged yesterday to find certain gentlemen in Congress making accusations that there was a plot against General MacArthur, that certain dispatches had not been given in full by the Chiefs of Staff and that a wrong impression had therefore been created.
As an ordinary citizen I sometimes wonder whether in the last few weeks we have not given too much information to the world. Sometimes it looks to me as though we believed that no one except ourselves could hear or read what appears in the press or is broadcast on the radio in our country. We have certainly been handing much information to people of other nations, which may or may not be advisable.
What is more important, we are creating the impression before the world, I think, that we have no one in this country whom we trust. High officials in the Army and Navy are supposed to be non-political, at least as far as their service is concerned; and they are supposed to be loyal to whatever administration is in power, and to their Commander-in-Chief regardless of party. From what I now read in the papers, however, some of our public servants question not only whether that is a proper attitude, but whether these service people are actually worthy of being believed and trusted.
Investigations, disclosures of failures and weaknesses on the part of people in official positions are essential, I suppose. Still, I believe we should see them in perspective. We should keep our general faith in the integrity of our public servants, in both parties, and believe that those who fall short are the exception and not the rule. The emphasis on suspicions, however, has been so great of late that it may well lead to suspicion on the part of other nations. They wonder, I am sure, whether a nation where people mistrust each other so much can be trusted by the world as a whole. It is too good an opportunity not to be exploited by the Soviets. I am sure they are saying to their satellites: The United States can not even trust its own public servants, so why should you believe anything that their representatives tell you? This is far from the impression we would like to encourage in the world as a whole.
I would like to feel that, though we differed with each other as to what our policies should be and how we should carry them out, we still took it for granted that on the whole most of us would be genuinely interested in the welfare of our country and would under all conditions be loyal American citizens, carrying out our duty as we see it. It would be well to remember how carefully everything that happens in the United States is watched by others, and how easily words which are spoken lightly will be reported and used to create a bad impression of conditions in this country and of the ability and integrity of our men in public positions. Above all, we should realize that in everything we do we paint a picture of how democracy functions, and we should constantly remember that we are trying to persuade the rest of the world that democracy has great advantages which they should aspire to achieve.