SEPTEMBER 28, 1959
DES MOINES, Iowa—Recently I read with amusement that Carmine G. De Sapio, after his partial defeat, had gone to Washington to announce that because of his difficulties in New York City the State of New York could not be carried by the Democrats in the next election. Ever since I have wondered if, having conceded this, he would not consider that his time had come to retire.
This, however, does not seem to have crossed Mr. De Sapio's mind. He was reelected the other night as New York County Democratic leader. There was a little opposition, to be sure; but as everyone knew, he had the votes. However, if Mr. De Sapio is so dubious about what he can do to carry the state next year, he had better realize that he cannot get a unified party by staying in power himself. It was he who lost the last election in New York state, not the reform movement. The latter had not been formed at that time. Mr. De Sapio had a so-called united party and yet he lost the state. His hope of winning lies now in facing the real situation, which is that the majority of voters in New York state do not want his type of boss rule.
I want nothing from the party. But I think the world situation demands that we try to make democracy as good as we possibly can, and none of us can do less than work in our own state. That is where our responsibility begins. The world watches us to discover the meaning of democracy, and what they see here in the U. S. is of great import. When they see corrupt and inefficient government, it does not strengthen their desire to follow U. S. leadership.
By the time this column appears, the historic meetings between President Eisenhower and Premier Khrushchev will have come to an end. Much depends on what these two heads of great countries talked about when they saw each other in privacy. We will probably never know exactly; but we should not expect that out of these first visits any decisions will come on disarmament or even on next steps for future policy. The President said that, through Mr. Khrushchev's visit to us and his own visit to the Soviet Union, he hoped to ease world tensions and to bring about understanding between us. This will help when we come eventually to real negotiation; but we are not now negotiating on the substance of how to achieve the desire of all peoples for a peaceful world.
When that time comes, on both sides there will be felt the pressure of world opinion. For the question of peace is of interest not only to us but to the world as a whole, particularly to the nations just developing and the smaller nations who cannot defend themselves because of their weakness and who must depend on the U. N. to protect them. There are innumerable things which enter into a sense of security in a world that has always used force and is only now slowly coming to realize that it must use reason or destroy itself. This is a time when we need great statesmen who can think of humanity and not just their own people.
Mr. Khrushchev may not believe in God, but we can pray for the heads of all states that they will receive light and strength from a power that transcends all human power.