DECEMBER 11, 1952
NEW YORK, Wednesday—I was amused by the following excerpt from a column written out of Washington:
"Weeks (Secretary of Commerce-designate Sinclair Weeks) will also have the job of trying to cement a permanent political alliance between the Republican businessmen of the North and the Democratic businessmen of the South, on national issues and candidates. Coalition of this kind would permit the Southerners to adhere to their traditional Democratic party ties on matters of local and sectional moment."
This amuses me because when I returned from my trip to Chile a few days after election, a very noted Republican asked me if I had been in the South trying to win back some of those who had left the Democratic party. Since then occasionally the gentleman remembers to ask me whether I had yet won back these Southerners who came out for General Eisenhower! Now to find that a gentleman of Cabinet rank is actually going to try to tie these Southerners up permanently on national issues, through the businessmen of the North and of the South, is very interesting.
Senator Byrd of Virginia is both a politician and a businessman so there Mr. Weeks should find his job easy, and he certainly will have no difficulty with Governor Byrnes of South Carolina as well as some of the Texas gentlemen.
The South should be a place where a realignment of parties actually will present no difficulties. In every part of our country both major political parties should function. For many years election in the primaries in the South was tantamount to election to office.
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I am getting a considerable number of letters, all Communist-inspired so far as I can see, from people urging me to do something to prevent the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg who are slated to die around January 12. They were found guilty of being members of an atom-bomb espionage ring.
This Communist-inspired campaign is certainly going to do the Rosenbergs more harm than good. Some of the writers try to make it appear that this sentence was imposed on the Rosenbergs because they are Jews and is intended to start anti-Jewish activities in this country. That is utter nonsense.
The question of civil liberties in this case has been carefully watched. It is odd that the Soviets should harp on this when they themselves have come out openly in an anti-Semitic campaign. Nevertheless, they have tried everything, as can be seen in the letters that are coming to my desk.
I don't believe in capital punishment, but we do have capital punishment in our country. I don't know if putting the Rosenbergs to death will do us more good than if they were under a sentence of life imprisonment, but this country operates under law and as long as we have laws we must live up to them, making sure that the law is fairly administrated.
Without question, the authorities in our country have given careful consideration as to whether the security of the United States would be benefitted by death or life imprisonment. Punishment of this kind is used as a deterrent for others who might be tempted to do likewise and that also must have been given careful consideration.