JULY 24, 1956
HYDE PARK—The Senate vote which finally confirmed Paul G. Hoffman as a United States delegate to the United Nations was an interesting one. It is rather significant that 14 of the Senators who voted against Hoffman were recorded against the Senate decision which two years ago condemned Senator Joseph R. McCarthy (R., Wis.) and the two remaining negative votes were cast by Senator McCarthy himself and Senator Carl T. Curtis (R., Neb.), who was not in the Senate in 1954.
It shows that there still is considerable support for Senator McCarthy's views. This is something we must try to change, for any person who considers a man of Hoffman's background and accomplishments as being "a fellow traveler and dupe of Communism" is, I think, dangerous to freedom of thought and action in this country.
Hoffman's administration of the Marshall Plan in Europe certainly did much to defeat Communism in many European countries, and the attack on him smacks of the same kind of prejudice and lack of responsibility which have marked some of the attacks on the President and Chief Justice Earl Warren.
No democracy can afford to overlook the safeguarding of its freedoms, nor can it be completely lacking in confidence in people who want friendliness and goodwill in the world even though they heartily dislike totalitarianism and dictatorship and do their best to defeat them.
The vote of the Republicans against confirmation of Hoffman, who has been a staunch supporter of the President, indicates a rift in the party which, I imagine, goes rather deep. I wonder on which side of this division the Vice President would stand.
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I spent a few hours in Washington on Friday of last week and listened for a short time to the beginning of the debate in the House on the amendments offered to the President's suggestion of a commission to study violations of civil rights.
Southern members of the House hoped that the bill would be defeated, putting off the final vote on it until this week with the feeling that there would not be time enough after that to pass it.
The bill's defeat would show that the Southerners are afraid of an honest investigation of something which by this time should not need to be investigated in the U.S.
Originally, the investigation covered only complaints on race, religion and national origin. But Mrs. St. George succeeded in passing an amendment which would include any violation of rights on the basis of sex. This does not particularly fit in with the basic idea of the bill, but it was accepted in line with the Southern tactics to load the bill down with impossible amendments so that it inevitably would fail.
I am inclined to think that without this bill the Justice Department, if it really wanted to, probably could do a great deal more than it has in investigating abuses of civil rights.