AUGUST 18, 1952
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I was interested to see the criticism leveled at Governor Stevenson for visiting the President and for allowing himself to be briefed on the world situation. I wonder if the average person did not feel, as I did, that it was a normal and natural thing for the candidate who happens to be of the same party as the incumbent President to receive this information. The candidate has in no way committed himself to the continuance of the same policy in every detail. But it will be helpful to him and to the nation, should he be elected, for him to know in advance what the situation in the world actually is. One is always hopeful that the many minds working on various plans that have to be constantly reviewed, because of the changes in the world situation, will discover some new approach or some new way of dealing with a situation which has seemed static.
It seems perfectly natural that General Eisenhower would not want to be briefed by this administration, though in the past he has had to work with it. Now, as candidate of the opposition party, he must keep himself as clear as possible of anything that has been done by his opponents in the past. It seems to me equally natural, however, for the candidate of the party in power to acquaint himself as rapidly as possible with every angle of this situation. It is bound to be one he must discuss often and factually during the campaign before he begins actually to make his own plans for dealing with new situations in the future.
As I understand what has been said recently by the top Republican candidates, none of them is going to go back on the attitude of having approved the action taken by the United Nations in resisting aggression in Korea. The attack is apparently to be made on the policies which they feel led up to the final situation in Korea, and which they now feel might have been avoided. Perhaps it might. Hindsight is always better than foresight. That every effort was made by our public men to act wisely in the interests of the United States, however, is something I firmly believe.
In the meantime, I have just been reading an article on the difficulties our negotiators in Spain are now having. When I mentioned this once before in my column, a number of people wrote me very critical letters saying they could not understand why I was opposed to paying whatever Generalissimo Franco asked, since his demands certainly were most reasonable. I wish my correspondents could read the article, which appeared in one of our metropolitan papers. It states what those demands are and the reasons given for making them.
Some of my correspondents said that if we helped Tito we should help Franco. I cannot see that there is any connection. Yugoslavia is a Communist country; Spain is a Fascist country. Both are dictatorships. There the comparison ends. In both cases we are doing what we think will help our own interests, and in both cases it is the interests of the United States which should be paramount in the final decisions we make.