NOVEMBER 3, 1958
HYDE PARK—The New York Times, which has come out for Nelson Rockefeller, announced Sunday that a recheck gives the edge to their candidate for Governor and to the Democratic candidate for the Senate, Frank S. Hogan. As a Democrat, I feel it important that the whole Democratic ticket be elected in this state, because it will have an effect on the national picture in 1960.
It is unfortunate that both Mr. Rockefeller and Mr. Harriman will undoubtedly labor under disadvantages because neither of them has shown complete ability to dominate his party machinery rather than to be dominated by it. But Governor Harriman has nevertheless given this state a good administration. He has now had experience which may mean that he will be freer of boss control and better able to use his party machinery than will Mr. Rockefeller. To let Mr. Carmine De Sapio win with his candidate and lose the Governorship would seem to me a reflection on the intelligence of the voters in New York State. They cannot want to uphold the boss of Tammany Hall and set him above the Governor of their state. I therefore hope that the check made by the Times is proved incorrect on Election Day, largely to prove to the bosses, both Republican and Democratic, that the people of the state are intelligent enough to want to have their party machinery controlled by men who put the interests of the country ahead of their immediate power in their locality and their state.
It was sad to read Boris Pasternak's plea to Premier Khrushchev to be allowed to remain in Russia. The announcement that the Soviet winner of the 1958 Nobel Prize for Literature would be allowed to leave Russia seemed to indicate that the government felt he was not a good citizen and would be glad to get rid of him. But Pasternak's letter should convince anyone of his love for his country.
Everyone tells me that his novel, "Doctor Zhivago," is beautifully written, and it obviously must have great merit to have won the Nobel Prize. Ordinarily a country is very proud when one of its citizens wins this prize. But official wrath has apparently been aroused because of the critical passages in "Doctor Zhivago." Although I have not read the book, I have read excerpts from it which are, I imagine, the ones considered critical. Some of the descriptions seem to me beautiful and very poetic. The critical passage I read was that voiced by certain characters who criticize both the last days under the Czars and certain things under the Revolution.
It may well be that an idealist who embraced the Revolution, looking for the millenium, would find many things to criticize, for human beings rarely attain the millenium. But to punish a man for writing an outstanding novel in which his characters state a variety of viewpoints seems both unreasonable and unwise. A strong state can take criticism, particularly criticism which is voiced by someone who truly loves his country. To keep alive a fear of punishment for voicing one's honest opinion seems to be possible only in a very backward country with a very backward people. I hope the Soviet Union will rise above its past and that Mr. Khrushchev will show, by his treatment of the plea now voiced by a man who has brought honor to his country, that there is real advancement in the freedom for all intellectuals.