DECEMBER 7, 1953
NEW YORK, Sunday—During our trip with the Queen of Greece in New York City last week an amusing incident occurred when, in walking from one of the Henry Street buildings to another, we passed a firehouse. The Queen's lady-in-waiting suggested that the Queen would like to see it, and we went in.
The Queen looked with pleasure at the shining equipment, then noticed the pole down which the firemen slide. She said nothing, but it was evident that she would be interested in a demonstration. One of the men called upstairs and asked a fireman there to please slide down the pole. I saw him come down to the floor above and then transfer to the pole, which suddenly brought him down with lightning speed to land at our feet.
The Queen, delighted, said she had never seen anything appear so quickly. We were also told that one of the firehouses had had a cat as mascot that could come down the pole as fast as the men themselves. I was sorry we could not have produced that demonstration for the Queen.
The Americans for Democratic Action have sent a letter to the President signed by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and James E. Doyle, national co-chairmen of ADA. In this letter they urge the President to appoint a nonpartisan, nonpolitical committee of outstanding citizens, "men and women whose wisdom, honesty and objectivity are above reproach," to study and report on the whole problem of national security and civil liberties.
This is a very timely suggestion, I think. If matters proceed in the way they have been going, not only will the people of the U.S. be confused and divided, but the government of the U.S. will find it difficult to maintain its place of leadership in the world because it is making itself ridiculous.
Of pressing importance to us are two questions: 1) To what extent is the security of the U.S. now threatened because of present Communist espionage activities? and 2) To what extent are the civil liberties on which our republic was founded now threatened by men operating under the banner of anti-Communists?
I think a commission appointed to answer these questions and to make recommendations as to future procedure would be a boon to the American people. The last speech that I heard made by Senator Joseph McCarthy on TV challenged the President, and took the Senator out from the support which a Republican usually gives the titular head of his party. It also practically made the future issue not Senator McCarthy's support of President Eisenhower and the Republican Administration, but the support by the whole party of Senator McCarthy and all he does. This is a challenge that must be faced within the Republican party. But on a nonpartisan basis, the question of the security of our country and the defense of civil liberties is of concern to all of us.