AUGUST 18, 1956
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands—I sat up far into the morning in Chicago on Wednesday until I knew the civil rights plank had been adopted. It seemed to me so important that there should be no real fight on the floor over the platform as it was presented.
On the whole, I think anyone who reads the platform will concede that the labor plank is a good one. The first paragraph in the plank on education covers what I think is essential. The civil rights plank does not say everything I would like it to say. On the other hand, I think our Southern delegation leaders on the platform committee came a very long way from what they would have liked to see in the platform.
The one overridingly important point, namely, that the Democratic party recognizes the need for a change which would permit, after due discussion in the House or Senate, a vote on any subject, was reaffirmed.
Platforms actually are the background which a President can use if he really intends to live up to the principles enunciated by his party. This platform is not everything that the liberals of the North want, and it is very far from being what some of the Southerners want, but I think it is possible to use it as a background for doing what is really necessary.
I want to congratulate John W. McCormack and his patient co-workers who, through so many hours, tried to get something which would let the North and South work together in the same party. The South realizes that eventually a world trend cannot be held back. And there is more and more travel from the South to the rest of the world because the South's economic situation has greatly improved in the last few years.
A knowledge of the world, particularly of the Asiatic and African worlds, will be a great help in unifying our country. The influence of Communism and the result of its spread will become more and more apparent as people travel and see world conditions, finding out how other people in the world feel. This will make for far greater understanding of our home situation in its relation to world problems.
Eventually there will come the realization that one fact overriding every other is that we have to preserve a free world. We can only do this by example, and that is why the conditions in our own country are so important in their effect on our future freedom from Communist slavery.
On Thursday I took an 8 a.m. train to Saybrook to see my old friend, Miss Esther Lape, in her Westbrook, Conn., home. I could not bear to go away without having spent a few hours with her and we had a very pleasant time looking at her garden, enjoying her roses and seeing how the damage done from last year's hurricanes had been repaired.
People who lost their houses, or practically lost them, in those storms have rebuilt in exactly the same place. I only hope that they have rebuilt much more strongly than ever before so they will not go through the same loss a second time, since we seem to be doomed to endure these storms every year.
In Chicago, I had a little last-minute talk with some of the people at the convention and before I left I heard Senator John Kennedy nominate Adlai Stevenson in a very good speech, extremely well delivered. I was delighted that the reception was so enthusiastic, which seemed to foreshadow unmistakably a nomination on the first ballot.