SEPTEMBER 3, 1957
BERLIN—The USSR's immediate rejection of the West's plan for disarmament was discouraging. But I suppose it was not surprising because the Russians have called for a suspension of nuclear weapons' tests for an indefinite period but never have agreed on a real inspection to insure the observance of a disarmament treaty.
Somehow they seem to feel that this inspection is aimed only at them. They do not seem to realize that it would operate in every country of the world and give them safety as well as being of value in reassuring other countries.
It is a little like the Russians' feeling about fingerprinting. In all I have read, they always say that anyone who is fingerprinted is a criminal. In this country, however, we have used fingerprinting as much for a safety device for all our citizens as for the identification of criminals, even though that identification is one of the safeguards.
For instance, I like to keep a pistol in my New York apartment and in Hyde Park. I know how to use them, but I hope I never will have to. To get the permit to keep them, however, I was fingerprinted many times. I realize that it is a necessary precaution to keep firearms from falling into dangerous hands.
When World War II broke out, all of us in the White House were fingerprinted. It was a safeguard to prevent unknown people from reaching the President. It was a nuisance, and I hated the ink that is so difficult to scrub off the hands. But I have no feeling that, in being fingerprinted, I am being treated as a criminal, for I know I am being protected by a rule which, to me, makes sense.
South Carolina, through its representative, made the fight against the civil rights bill, with Senator Strom Thurmond talking for 24 hours. Still, the Senate passed the bill, 60 to 15, and sent it to the President for signature.
It does create a Federal civil rights commission with subpoena power and a special civil rights division within the Department of Justice. If Federal officials mean business, I think they can do something under the provision which gives Federal prosecutors, with or without the consent of the victim, the right to obtain Federal court injunctions against actual or threatened interference with the right to vote. Penalties are provided.
Though this is not as strong as the bill that President Eisenhower wanted still it can be made very useful.