OCTOBER 22, 1951
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Nine members of the United States delegation to the U.N. General Assembly were confirmed by the Senate last Friday. The usual process would have been for the subcommittee's report to have gone before the Foreign Relations Committee and then be reported to the full Senate, but because of the adjournment set for Saturday a special request was made to by-pass the Foreign Relations Committee and confirm the nine delegates. I am very glad that this was done. Without confirmation by the Senate, the members of the delegation would carry little weight in the forthcoming meeting because the USSR would properly say that under our form of government the delegation had not been given the approval of the representatives of the people. That danger has now been eliminated.
One member of the delegation, Dr. Philip C. Jessup, was neither approved nor disapproved. The subcommittee divided three to two against his ratification as a member of the delegation. His name was not approved or disapproved by the Senate as a whole. The charges brought against him by Senator McCarthy and Mr. Stassen were charges of dishonesty, disloyalty and affiliation with Communist causes. All of these charges were disproved, and I read with care the statements of two of the Senators who voted against his confirmation in the subcommittee—Senator Smith, Republican of New Jersey, and Senator Gillette, Democrat of Iowa. Both these gentlemen stated that they had high regard for the ability of Dr. Jessup and were convinced of his integrity and loyalty.
Senator Gillette said, however, that it was unwise to vote for Dr. Jessup as a delegate to the U.N. General Assembly because, the Senator believed, Dr. Jessup had lost in public confidence as a result of the charges leveled against him. That seems to me a highly dangerous reason for rejecting someone in the public service who is nominated as a delegate to the General Assembly, or who is up for any public office. The virtual result of this reasoning is that those who wish to smear public servants now know that it makes no difference whether what they say is true or false. If they say it often enough and loud enough so that it reaches only an infinitesimal number of people, then the man has lost the public's confidence and should not be appointed to office. From my point of view, this gives Senator McCarthy what he wants with an aura of respectability wound around it, and I think that highly dangerous.
In addition, I wonder how people judge about the lack of public confidence. Only one out of ten people whom I asked in three different places in the last two days has been able to tell me who Dr. Jessup is. I am afraid it isn't a loss of public confidence. It is a simple lack of knowledge on the part of the public as to most of the people who serve them in the United Nations, in diplomatic posts, or even in the departments in Washington. But I suppose if you don't want to antagonize a fellow Senator, this lack of public confidence is as good an excuse as any other.
In another column I shall discuss the reasoning, and the results of such reasoning, as appeared in Senator Smith's statement.