SEPTEMBER 12, 1959
HYDE PARK—The Red Chinese evidently have written a rather conciliatory letter to India, although Prime Minister Nehru admits he has failed to grasp the full implications of Premier Chou En-lai's note. Though the Chinese Communists accuse India of border violations, one cannot help feeling that their own sense of guilt is quite evident in their willingness to talk things over and to respect Indian protectorates. Mr. Nehru's white paper must have had a real impact!
I am still deeply disturbed over the fact that there is going to be set up outside the United Nations a committee on disarmament. I cannot see how any successful steps forward can be made with the type of setup that will have five nations from the West and five pro-Communist countries. Of course, they say the committee will report to the U.N., but it seems to me the chance of doing something would be far greater if the U.N. sat in from the beginning.
Disarmament is of concern to every nation, no matter how small, and the make-up of this committee looks like an effort to have a balance of power such as used to be considered possible in times which seem far away indeed today.
The United States Senate, in its haste to get through its work, has decided to shelve until next year consideration of any major civil rights legislation. This will be a disappointment to a great number of people, though some of the advocates of a strong civil rights bill in the Senate have feared a Southern filibuster of any substantial bill.
Of course, to have a civil rights bill that meant nothing would be useless, so perhaps we must be content at having the debate laid over. Yet, one cannot help feeling that it would be good for the people to have constantly put before them all the questions in connection with civil rights. In this way we would get to know what lies back of the opposition to legislation and also what is really being fought for by those who want our country to be a land of the free.
Someone said to me the other day that when he heard our children every morning in school pledge allegiance to the flag and end with "with liberty and justice for all," he wanted to cry out, "God help us to see to it that those who do not yet have liberty and justice in our country obtain it."
Southern members of Congress on Thursday opened fire on the report made to the President by the civil rights commission and completely ignored the charges that Negroes were being denied the right to vote.
As usual, the greatest excitement always centers on the points where someone's pocket is going to suffer. The suggestion that "immediate steps should be taken by the Federal Housing Authority and Veterans' Administration to withdraw Federal benefits" from any builders who are found to violate state or city discrimination laws brought quick protests from Southern Senators. Also, the suggestion that colleges and universities that practice segregation should receive no grants from the Federal government brought forth rage.
How sensitive we are to the profit motive!