DECEMBER 1, 1959
NEW YORK—The American Roman Catholic bishops made a statement on birth control a short time ago which seems to me the only possible position they could take. I cannot quite understand why the newspapers are making so much of it, and bedeviling Senator John F. Kennedy for a statement.
This is a religious question and has always been understood. In reply to a question on the birth-control issue and its relation to foreign aid, Senator Kennedy gave a wise answer, I think.
It would be unwise for any national administration to grant aid to another nation for this particular purpose. If the other nation finds it essential to its well-being to undertake birth control, that is its own concern, as Senator Kennedy has said. If any organization or individuals in any country feel it is important to help a second country keep down the birth rate, that is the decision of that organization and of those individuals.
The government of a country which has as many people, for instance, as we in the United States have of varying religions and beliefs, should not, as a government, take official action in a subject which enters into the religious and domestic affairs of another nation. It will offend some of its own citizens and it might easily offend some section of the people in the other nation.
No government, however, would have the right to prevent individual citizens or organizations from giving help if they were asked to do so by the government or individuals or organizations of another nation. This practically is the stand which Senator Kennedy stated, and I think it was a sensible and correct stand for him to take, as it would be for any other candidate of whatever religion.
The French Army seems to be under accusation of possible favoritism and has had to make a denial that it would grant Dior's head fashion designer, Yves St. Laurent, a stay in his draft status or that it would give special favors to Pvt. Jacques Charrier, actor-husband of Brigitte Bardot. Similar accusations are often hurled at military authorities of other nations regarding certain professional people.
The New York State law now pending in Albany regarding central heating in buildings that have been condemned and are soon to be destroyed certainly is favorable to the landlords. On the other hand, if a building is soon to be torn down, a landlord should not be required to put in improvements.
However, if it is certain that a building is going to stand for three or four years and the city has set up no provision for finding other dwellings at comparable rent for the tenants involved, it surely is going to be a great hardship on many people to have no central heating.
I cannot help but feel that the people are being considered rather less than the landlords in this particular bill. Even so, I can very well see how hard it would be on a landlord to have to make extensive repairs or provide a new heating system in a building which at any moment might be coming down.
I think perhaps an organization should be set up, whose duty it would be to find places for those people who are to be dispossessed because areas in which they live are going to be cleared.