My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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FORT BRAGG, N.C.—The 1959 March of Dimes opened on Monday with an "Ann Arbor Revisited" program that officially inaugurates the broadened objectives of what used to be known as the Polio Foundation. The ceremonies at Ann Arbor, Mich., will dramatize the new fields into which the National Foundation now is entering: arthritis, birth defects, virus diseases beyond polio, as well as re-emphasizing the need for continuing polio vaccination.

It is fitting that the drive should be launched from the site where, on April 12, 1955, the Salk vaccine was declared safe and effective. For it was the report of Mr. Thomas Francis Jr. on the results of the nationwide field trials of the vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas E. Salk that really made possible a new era for the National Foundation, which was founded by my husband.

It seems altogether appropriate that scientists will address a conference of youth leaders in Ann Arbor, for these young people will be the leaders of the future health crusades.

And I do hope that this symposium on polio vaccination will serve to remind everybody about getting polio shots. I understand millions of Americans still are unprotected—and there were more polio cases in 1958 than in 1957. This will continue, I am told, until people of all ages everywhere are vaccinated.

A few days ago I received a letter from Senator John Kennedy telling me that I had been completely misinformed as to the fact that his father had any paid representatives working for him in any state of the Union, or that Mr. Kennedy senior has spent any money around the country on Senator Kennedy's behalf.

My statement to the Senator had been that it was commonly accepted as a fact that these things had been done. And that while it was obligatory on anyone to build up an organization if they wished nomination or election, in any case an extravagant use of money to achieve these results was not looked upon with favor.

This brought forth from the Senator the statements paraphrased above and he writes:

"I am certain no evidence to the contrary has ever been presented to you. I am aware, as you must be, that there are a good many people who fabricate rumors and engage in slander about any person in public life. But I have made it a point never to accept or repeat such statements unless I have some concrete evidence of their truth.

"Since my letter to you, I assume you have requested your informants to furnish you with more than their gossip and speculation. If they have been unable to produce concrete evidence to support their charges or proof of the existence of at least one `paid representative' in one state of the Union, I am confident you will, after your investigation, correct the record in a fair and gracious manner"....

Since my information came largely from remarks made by people in many places, I think I should give my readers Senator Kennedy's own statement. That is the fairest way I know of dealing with a situation of this kind.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL