AUGUST 7, 1957
HYDE PARK—There is a suggestion in some of the newspaper accounts I have read that should the civil rights bill pass with the jury trial amendment about which the President is so disturbed, the President might veto the bill.
If that should happen, I think many people would feel that perhaps there had never been any real intention of passing a civil rights bill at all. I understand the arguments for the amendment, and I think many of the men who voted for it did so out of real conviction. It is one of those difficult situations in which you know that the way you are voting may possibly injure the objective you are trying to attain, but the method seems to be so dangerous that you decide on a partial achievement of the objective.
This is never very satisfactory, but I think the civil rights bill with the amendment would be a small step forward and I hope it will become law.
Not entirely unexpectedly, the Soviets do not seem to like the West's plans for arms checks, and are annoyed because our Secretary of State, Mr. John Foster Dulles, included no statement about suspending tests of nuclear bombs—which the Soviets seem particularly anxious to have done. To a mere outsider, it looks as though nobody was making a great effort to find proposals that would be accepted, but at least they are still talking to each other. Perhaps some common ground will be found.
The President does seem to be having trouble with his political appointees to diplomatic positions. I suppose that when you appoint people, not because of their training but because of their political work, you cannot expect them to be conversant with diplomatic usage or even to know a great deal about the countries to which they are appointed.
The latest example is that of our Ambassador to Cuba, Mr. Earl T. Smith, who seems to have been very energetic in studying since his appointment, but who chose an unfortunate time to remark that "any sort of excessive police action is abhorrent to me."
It may not be this remark alone that brought a formal protest from the Cuban Ambassador to our State Department, but it was an unwise remark for an ambassador. But how can you expect people with no training to become ambassadors, with a knowledge of diplomatic traditions, overnight?
Last Saturday afternoon I motored to New York and, after a family dinner at my apartment, went to see my youngest son, John, and his wife and three children off on a cruise to Greece. The "Queen Fredericka" was sailing with a large group of American Mayors, who were going over on a goodwill tour.
My family hopes to stop over in Greece and visit Turkey also, returning on the "Queen Fredericka" in about six weeks. This is a great opportunity for the children. I hope they are going to enjoy Greece as much as I did. I have begged them to find someone who is really doing archaeological excavating wherever they visit ancient ruins, for I think it adds enormously to one's understanding of the past to have a trained scientist explain the meaning of broken columns and ruined temples.