AUGUST 9, 1957
HYDE PARK—I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Adlai Stevenson for a short time the other afternoon, just after he had faced a mammoth press conference. It is rather hard, I think, to be asked so many questions about situations in the United States on the first day you are back here from travels abroad. You have hardly had time to catch your breath before you are asked about things that you have only seen reported in foreign papers, which naturally do not cover them as completely as do our papers, and it is extremely difficult to be prepared to answer.
I agreed entirely, however, with what Mr. Stevenson said on the civil rights bill. He would prefer to have even the little that will come with this bill than to have nothing.
In his travels, he has had the opportunity to see the change that is coming about, even in the last two years, among peoples in many areas of the world. As in central Africa, for instance. Mr. Stevenson knows, therefore, how important what we do here is for our position in countries where people want freedom and respect as human beings and a chance to grow. Little as this civil rights bill seems to do, it will at least give us some chance of growing, in this country.
I think the Southern Senators, led by Senator Lyndon Johnson and Senator Richard Russell, have won a costly victory—because this fight for civil rights is not going to stop. If the people of Africa are on the move, the people of the United States are also on the move. Our people are not going to be satisfied with crumbs such as this civil rights bill gives them. It will bring us no peace, but it is better to pass it and see what we can achieve with even this slight change.
I hear from Washington, however, that the Republicans, in all probability, will just let it lie over and do nothing, and then will try to use it as an issue in the next campaign. Vice-President Richard Nixon and Senator Johnson both are trying to fool the people, white and colored people alike. It will be interesting to see how far they both succeed.
Everyone must have been sorry to hear of Mrs. Eisenhower's operation, and relieved at the good report on her condition. Since she has endeared herself to so many people, there will be good wishes flowing to her from all over the country. I hope they will bring her pleasure in the hospital and help her to recover quickly.
The other evening, at our Hyde Park Playhouse, I saw the world premiere of a play by Orin Boston, called "Fever For Life," in which Faye Bainter stars. I found it an interesting evening, and with some slight changes I think it will prove interesting on Broadway. I thought the acting was very good.