AUGUST 10, 1957
HYDE PARK—I was amused to read a newspaper account of an effort made by Mrs. Mae Craig of the Portland, Me., Press-Herald to get the President on record at his news conference as being opposed to wiping out all discrimination "because of sex."
As far back as I can remember the battle for complete equality for women reporters has been waged with courage and determination by Mrs. Craig. She surely could not believe that either the President or his aides have been very active "in trying to wipe out all discrimination based on race, creed or religion."
Mrs. Craig is an extremely good reporter and knows exactly what goes on in Washington, so she must know that if the President had really wanted a good civil rights bill, he could have had it. The compromise may not be as bad as some people fear, but it certainly is not as good as some people would like to have had it.
So her reference to his anti-discrimination efforts must have been made with tongue in cheek, but I am sure she was entirely in earnest when she asked if the President and others would be as active in "trying to wipe out discrimination based on sex, namely the equal rights amendment for women," which has been pending in Congress for many years.
The President certainly handled the subject well in his answer. However, if he thinks the equal rights amendment really will wipe out all discrimination against women, both he and Mrs. Craig will have to take another long look at the realities of the situation.
There are many ways in which women can be discriminated against which are not going to be remedied by legal steps alone, and that also holds good in discrimination for other reasons. The hearts of men will have to change, not just the laws under which we live.
Out of the arrest and indictment of Rudolf Ivanovich Abel, a colonel in Soviet counter-intelligence who masqueraded in Brooklyn as an artist, on espionage charges, an interesting achievement for the FBI in its constant efforts to keep this country safe from Russian spies has been disclosed.
The interesting fact is that this man evidently had been watched by the FBI for the nine years since he entered this country illegally and that, therefore, he has done no harm to us because of the protection given by our own intelligence agents.
It seems to me that this proves again that we can be protected from espionage without the type of thing that has been going on in the past few years through the Un-American Activities Committee.
Here was a real danger and it was watched from the very beginning. That, I think, is important to our safety. It also indicates that we do not need to put so many people under suspicion as we have been doing.