MARCH 23, 1953
HYDE PARK, Sunday—On Friday night in New York City I attended the dinner given in honor of Senator Herbert Lehman by the Reunion of Old Timers. This organization unpretentiously goes about helping old acquaintances and old neighbors, doing little things to make life brighter for them. They may supplement a pension check by a weekly grant, provide a wheelchair or some little comfort that is needed, or help pay for an operation or for medical care that would otherwise be unavailable. Once a year they give a dinner at which a scroll is presented in recognition of someone's public service.
In the case of Senator Lehman this recognition was well earned. All of the speeches were given with feeling and affection, and one felt proud to be associated with the junior Senator from New York State. I felt honored to be allowed to give him the scroll, and was happy to be at a dinner which must have meant a great deal to him and to Mrs. Lehman, who shared in the recognition of his public service. He, himself, said that she had never held him back from doing anything they both thought was the right thing to do, no matter what the cost might be. Younger men said they had gained from him inspiration and strength and that they counted on his vigor, courage and integrity. It was an evening in which everyone was happy to have a share.
I have just received through the mail a copy of one of the most outrageous documents I have seen in a long time. It is a two-page pamphlet issued by an organization called The Christian Nationalist Crusade, with a post-office address in St. Louis, Missouri. The pamphlet rehashes an old anti-Semitic story published by some groups a number of years ago who wanted to whitewash Hitler and Fascism and to make people believe that the Jews were plotting secretly to control the world. The story was proved at the time to be completely untrue, but apparently this group is sure that people can be fooled again.
The pamphlet has an additional touch in the form of a map of Mexico purporting to show the location of a "super-palatial hideout" that was supposed to have been built for my husband. The map, they say, was published originally in a California newspaper in 1951, along with a story about this "secret hideout." The writers of the pamphlet at least have the grace to add that it is only a "logical guess" to deduce from this story that the "palace" might have been intended as a "super-capital of the Western hemisphere."
It is an impossible story, but people who do not know that the whole pamphlet is a gross misrepresentation of fact might be led to believe that a palace really had been built for my husband in Mexico. Of course, there never was—and I am quite sure the Mexican government would confirm this if anybody bothered to ask. But this type of lie is always written on the supposition that no one is going to try to run down the truth. The thing that troubles me is that we are seeing a resurgence of all these old prejudices. If they are not anti-Jewish they are anti-Catholic, and in this instance you would think that my husband was still actively campaigning against whatever the forces are that back the Christian Nationalist Crusade.