My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Sunday—I cannot help being a little sad over what occurred in Washington in regard to Newbold Morris and Attorney General McGrath. I have complete confidence in Mr. Morris' personal integrity and I am sure, had he been allowed to do so, that he would have carried out efficiently and well the job the President gave him.

The accusations made against his firm do not, I think, have any bearing on his personal honesty, though it is possible that, as so often happens, he should have been more careful in watching what was being done by those connected with him. I know, however, that it is possible for things which at the time seem perfectly proper to do, to develop into situations which afterward look highly questionable. Every man in business or in professional life has to watch for such situations constantly.

What developed between Mr. Morris and Mr. McGrath, as to the procedure to be followed in ferreting out wrongdoing, seems to me altogether deplorable. It should be possible for two men, both equally determined to uncover wrongdoing, to agree on the proper methods to use. Heat and vituperation are never the ways in which teamwork is achieved.

All of us believe in personal liberty and fundamental rights not only for employees of the Federal government, but for all the people. It seems to me, however, that where there is a question of either loyalty or honesty, an investigator is entitled to ask any questions he thinks pertinent, and one should be glad to answer in order to establish the facts. These answers need not be made public unless wrongdoing were found. If it were found, it should be made public and should be looked into carefully.

It strikes me the Attorney General is more troubled about defending the rights of Federal employees, in this particular case, than he has been troubled about seeing that people accused of disloyalty were either cleared or convicted. Many people accused by Senator McCarthy and the Un-American Activities Committee have been cleared, yet nobody knows what has happened to them and they are still often under the cloud of having been accused without anything decisive having been done. This seems to me a right that should be defended with even more vigor than the right for whose defense the Attorney General is now suffering.

The sad part of the whole thing is that probably both the Attorney General and Mr. Morris feel they are entirely right and that somehow injustice has been done both of them. I grieve over this, for a little calmness and goodwill might have found methods which would have obtained the results actually needed to give the administration better standing before the public and therefore to clear the good name of Democratic officials. The results at the moment seem to be simply that the general public will feel these officials are unwilling to answer a questionnaire which might prove them guilty of misbehavior.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL